Hotels on hiring spree with better wages, benefits, flexibility

By: American Hotel Association (AHLA)

Survey: 79% of hotels report staffing shortages

WASHINGTON (Feb. 27, 2023) – As nearly 80% of hotels experience staffing shortages, hoteliers are offering potential hires a host of incentives to fill vacancies, according to a new survey of hoteliers conducted by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA).

Seventy-one percent of respondents are increasing wages, 64% are offering greater flexibility with hours, and 33% are expanding benefits – but 81% say they are still unable to fill open positions.

Seventy-nine percent of survey respondents indicate they are experiencing a staffing shortage, 22% severely so. The most critical staffing need is housekeeping, with 43% ranking it as their top hiring need.

The numbers are an improvement from September 2022, when 87% of respondents to an AHLA survey said they were short staffed, 36% severely so, with 43% ranking housekeeping as their top hiring need at the time.

Respondents are attempting to fill an average of seven positions per property, down from 10 vacancies per property in September 2022.

These staffing challenges are resulting in historic career opportunities for hotel employees. As of December, national average hotel wages were at all-time highs of more than $23 per hour. Since the pandemic, average hotel wages have increased faster than average wages throughout the general economy. And hotel benefits and flexibility are better than ever.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, hotel employment is down by more than 250,000 jobs compared to February 2020. Hotels are looking to fill many of the jobs lost during the pandemic, including nearly 100,000 hotel jobs currently open across the nation.

To help hotels fill open jobs and raise awareness of the hotel industry’s 200+ career pathways, the AHLA Foundation’s “A Place to Stay” multi-channel advertising campaign is now active in 14 cities, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New York, Orlando, Phoenix, San Diego and Tampa. For more info on the campaign, visit

Additionally, AHLA affiliate “Hospitality is Working” recently launched the Workforce & Immigration Initiative. The effort is aimed at urging Congress to address workforce shortages with bipartisan solutions to incorporate more immigrants into the American economy. You can learn more about the effort here.

“Recruiting enough workers continues to be the top challenge for many hoteliers, and this is leading to historic career opportunities for hotel employees,” said AHLA President & CEO Chip Rogers. “AHLA and the AHLA Foundation are working tirelessly to grow the industry’s talent pipeline and retain workers through innovative events like National Hotel Employee Day and compelling ad campaigns like ‘A Place to Stay,’ but there is still more to be done.

“We need Congress to help address workforce shortages with bipartisan solutions to incorporate more immigrants into the American economy.”

Methodology: AHLA’s Front Desk Feedback survey of more than 500 hoteliers was conducted Jan. 10-17, 2023.

About AHLA

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) is the largest hotel association in America, representing more than 30,000 members from all segments of the industry nationwide – including iconic global brands, 80% of all franchised hotels and the 16 largest hotel companies in the U.S.

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AHLA focuses on strategic advocacy, communications support, and workforce development programs to move the industry forward. Learn more at

DeSantis signs bill to strip Disney of self-governance privileges

The Center Square — The Walt Disney Company has officially lost its cozy relationship with Florida.

Gov. Ron DeSantis held a news conference Monday in Lake Buena Vista to sign House Bill 9B that will put an end to many of Disney’s governance privileges with the Reedy Creek Improvement District.

Critics charge that Disney will retain much of its tax privileges and that DeSantis has appointed political contributors to the new board.

“The corporate kingdom finally comes to an end, there’s a new sheriff in town and accountability will be the order of the day.” DeSantis said.

“Since the 1960’s they’ve [Disney] enjoyed privileges unlike any other company or individual in the state of Florida.” DeSantis said, adding that Disney essentially had its own government, including exemptions from laws.

DeSantis noted that Disney had also been given huge benefits, had not paid their fair share of taxes and had amassed a municipal debt of over $700 million.

One DeSantis critic in the Legislature says that a better idea than stripping Disney of its privileges with Reedy Creek was to close corporate tax loopholes that she says the company exploits.

State Rep. Anna Eskamani, D-Orlando, said in a statement that Disney retains the same tax breaks as before and that the new board would be filled with DeSantis-appointed “hostile conservative cronies.”

“It’s absolutely wild to see a self-proclaimed capitalist like DeSantis celebrate the government takeover of a private board which is exactly what the governor just did today,” Eskamani said. “Disney still maintains the same tax breaks — but their First Amendment rights have been suppressed, and it sends a message to any private individual or company that if you don’t purport to what the governor wants, then you’ll be punished.”

DeSantis mentioned the objection Disney had in 2022 to the Parental Choice in Education Act, which banned educators from teaching children about gender identity and other issues from kindergarten through third grade.

“Disney came out against something that was really just about protecting young kids, and making sure that students are able to go to school learning to read, write, add and subtract and not having a teacher tell them they can change their gender.” DeSantis said.

DeSantis noted that the protest from Disney about the legislation was only a “mild annoyance” but added that Disney’s actions had shown that there was a movement within the corporation itself to inject sexualized material into children’s programming.

“We want our kids to be kids, we want them to enjoy entertainment, school, without having an agenda imposed upon them.” DeSantis said, adding, “If you’re going that way as a corporation, those are not values we want to promote in the State of Florida.”

DeSantis pointed out that the situation with Disney was indefensible from a policy perspective, noting that it is not fair one theme park gets preferential treatment over another.

“We believe that was not good policy, we believe, being joined at the hip with this one California-based company was not something that was justifiable or sustainable,” DeSantis said, adding, “So, we said we were gonna do something about it.”

Disney will be treated like any other theme park in Florida, according to DeSantis, and that includes Florida laws that the area has been exempt from up until this point.

The $700 million municipal debt incurred during the corporation’s period of self governance will be paid by Disney and not by the taxpayers who live in Orange and Osceola counties.

Disney will also be responsible for paying its share for infrastructure, something that DeSantis said they weren’t paying for years.

“I’m glad that we could stand up against some of the madness,” DeSantis said, adding that he was also happy that the Legislature is working on more permanent protections for every Floridian.