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The Impact of COVID-19 on International Hiring in Hospitality

Recruiting international employees has become a mainstay for the hospitality industry, allowing for flexible hiring of seasonal workers who can provide a cosmopolitan level of diversity in service to members and guests. In years past, some clubs would even plan annual recruiting trips overseas to fill their seasonal worker pipeline. But things look very different this year.

COVID-19 stands to disrupt international hiring for seasonal positions, with potentially long-lasting effects, due to the following 4 factors:

  1. Labor reduction: The pressures of restricted occupancy and tighter service guidelines have prompted one of the largest unemployment levels our country has ever seen, especially in hospitality. In a business where margins are already slim, clubs and other hospitality sectors have been forced to cut one of their largest budgetary areas of operation: labor.
  2. COVID-19 international travel restrictions: travel restrictions have decimated the process of hiring international labor for seasonal positions. As it stands now, 77 countries worldwide are completely closed to foreign visitors, including South Africa, a country typically popular for international hiring for hospitality jobs.
  3. Reduced seasonal demand: Many private clubs may have a reduced need for seasonal workers, as it remains to be seen what ‘season’ will look like in a year when people are traveling less, even domestically, and are still wary of resuming normal social activities.
  4. Shifts in the seasonal workforce: When hospitality is ready to begin recruiting internationally again, the labor force available may look different, as people now are adapting and looking for alternative industries to earn a paycheck.

Clubs and other hospitality sectors must embrace a process of true change in the way they manage operations. While our economy recovers from the reverberating impacts of COVID-19 for the next several years, hospitality can no longer reliably depend on increased seasonal demand for on-premise services. It will also be difficult to plan for increased seasonal staffing needs.

To best manage this unpredictability, private club and hospitality operations must remain as lean and flexible as possible, while offering innovative ways to engage members safely.

Here are 4 things clubs must do now to adapt to this new environment:

  1. Increase automation: Technology that can offload administrative tasks allows staff members to do more, with less. Staff size can remain as lean as possible with no impact to service. Staff can focus less on administrative tasks and spend more time serving members.
  2. Focus on digital engagement: to help keep staff as productive as possible, clubs would do well to empower members with digital capabilities such as online reservations, rather than requiring members to call to have staff make appointments or provide information.
  3. Recruit locally: clubs can take advantage of the high unemployment rate by building a pipeline of local seasonal and temporary talent that can be contacted and employed when demand increases.
  4. Streamline recruiting and on-boarding: a simplified recruiting and new employee on-boarding platform can get new and temporary workers started quickly and easily, so you can utilize a just-in-time approach to hiring, and save HR staff members time by automating the process of employment application and training.

Clubs need to act now to create their plan of action. Improving technology can help clubs adapt to unpredictable seasonal planning and staffing by allowing staff to do more with less, saving staff time by allowing members the ability to digitally self-serve, focusing on local recruitment, and on-boarding new talent quickly and efficiently. These approaches allow for a consolidated and efficient process, taking away the headache of normal hiring and on-boarding issues. The world has changed, and hospitality and country club hiring practices must adapt along with it in order to stay relevant and valuable.

Contact us if you'd like to know more on how technology can help your club improve your staff's efficiency.


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