Mastering Predictive Scheduling: Improving Efficiency, Employee Engagement, and Guest Experiences in Hospitality

Mastering Predictive Scheduling: Improving Efficiency, Employee Engagement, and Guest Experiences in Hospitality
Lindsey Fine
May 28, 2024

Let’s set the scene. 

There’s a nearby event or conference, and your hotel receives a sudden surge in guest reservations. You’ll need additional staff to handle the increased check-ins, room service requests, and housekeeping demands. 

The next week you might have significantly fewer guests — requiring less staff on duty. 

This inconsistency makes scheduling a challenge, often leading to last-minute shifts. While this allows you to adjust staffing levels to meet your needs, it creates significant stress for employees who must balance their personal lives around an unpredictable work schedule.

Photo by John Schnobrich

The practice of predictive scheduling ensures your employees have reliable and predictable work schedules. 

This article explores the importance of predictive scheduling and its benefits for you and your staff.

Five Common Challenges in Hotel Employee Scheduling

Scheduling in hotels is generally difficult. 

With total hotel employment of 1.92 million, 193K fewer workers than in February 2020, the challenge is even more daunting.1

Here are other common challenges hotels face:

  1. Staffing issues: The hospitality industry doesn’t have enough workers, which makes it difficult to manage when occupancy fluctuates. This means you might understaff during busy times, and overstaff during slower periods.
  2. Labor law compliance: Scheduling becomes even more complicated when you account for labor laws and regulations. This includes things like minimum wage, overtime, and break times. Hospitality managers must navigate these regulations while balancing them with operational demands.
  3. Skill mix and coverage needs: Hotels need people with different skills for different jobs, which makes it hard to schedule the right people for the right shifts. This is increasingly important for delivering top-notch service.
  4. Employee availability: Hospitality employees often change availability due to part-time jobs, second jobs, or other personal obligations. Keeping enough staff on duty at the same time makes it even harder. 
  5. Budgeting for scheduled shifts: Balancing full-time and part-time staff with different pay rates is difficult. Making sure there are enough workers adds to the challenge of keeping costs low.

These challenges highlight the need for a more effective scheduling approach. This is where predictive scheduling comes into play, offering a solution to streamline workforce management and address these issues.

What Is Predictive Scheduling?

Predictive scheduling is a workplace practice that provides employees with stable and predictable work hours.

While implementing this practice can be challenging, it offers several benefits for employees:

  1. Advance notice: When employees get their work schedules in advance, it eliminates guesswork and helps them balance their personal and professional lives more effectively.
  2. Consistency: Work hours are more consistent from week to week, which helps employees maintain a stable income.
  3. Compensation for changes: If schedule changes occur after the schedule has been posted, employees are often compensated for these changes, especially if they are last-minute adjustments.
  4. Reduced on-call shifts: Predictive scheduling practices limit the use of on-call shifts, where employees must be available to work but are not guaranteed hours. This reduces unpredictability in employees' schedules.
  5. Improved work-life balance: By providing a more predictable schedule, employees can achieve a better work-life balance, contributing to overall job satisfaction and well-being.

Predictive scheduling aims to create a more fair and supportive work environment, benefiting you and your team. The result is higher employee engagement, less turnover, and increased employee satisfaction.

While predictive scheduling benefits your employees, it also brings significant advantages to your hotel: 

  1. Improved employee morale: Employees value knowing their schedules in advance. It reduces stress and allows them to manage their time more effectively. This predictability improves job satisfaction and builds trust and loyalty within the team. 
  2. Employee engagement and productivity: Less stressed and satisfied employees are more engaged. When employees are engaged, they’re more productive and go the extra mile. According to Gallup’s report on employee engagement, a highly engaged workforce increases profitability by 21%.2
  3. Reduced turnover: Predictable schedules foster employee loyalty, reducing turnover and the associated costs of hiring and training new staff.
  4. Efficient staffing levels: Predictive scheduling ensures the right number of staff are available to meet guest demand. This optimizes labor costs and prevents both overstaffing and understaffing.
  5. Compliance with regulations: With many cities and states implementing predictive scheduling laws, adopting this practice helps hotels stay compliant, avoiding potential fines and legal issues.3
  6. Enhanced operational planning: A clear understanding of staffing needs allows hotels to better plan for busy periods, special events, and peak seasons. This ensures smooth and efficient operations.

The Power of Predictive Scheduling in Hotel Management

Predictive scheduling can make a world of difference in how you run your hotel. By giving employees stable and predictable work hours, you reduce the stress of last-minute changes and help them balance their personal lives better. This leads to happier, more engaged employees.

With predictive scheduling, you can match staffing levels to guest demand more accurately, avoiding the pitfalls of overstaffing and understaffing. This keeps labor costs in check and ensures smooth operations. Plus, it helps you stay compliant with labor laws, preventing any legal headaches.

By planning better for busy times and special events, predictive scheduling makes your hotel run more efficiently. It’s a win for everyone—your employees feel more valued and your guests enjoy better service.

In short, adopting predictive scheduling creates a more supportive and efficient workplace, benefiting your team and your hotel’s bottom line.

Resources: 

  1. AHLA Workforce report: Hotels add 1,200 jobs in April 
  2. HR Cloud: 20 Employee Engagement Statistics You Need to Know
  3. Paycor: Predictive Work Schedule Laws: A City-By-City Guide