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29 November 2023

Hoteliers continue to look at cutting manpower cost

Raj Bhatt, Director, Hospitality.com (SUPPLIED)

By Nina Varghese

A series of new hotel projects, scheduled to open soon, in the Middle East has meant fewer lay-offs in this sector.

According to hotel industry sources, many new hotel projects are on track and thus, the excess staff, if any, will be deployed in the new projects that are scheduled to open this year.

"Some hotel companies in Dubai with more staff, have asked them to go on extended leave. Many of the international hotel chains have spent a lot of money on training and they do not want to let trained staff go. With new hotels scheduled to open this year and the next year, they could be utilised there," Raj Bhatt, Director, Hospitality.com, a hotel recruitment firm, told Emirates Business.

Unlike other markets where occupancy levels have plummeted, occupancy in Dubai is still about 68 per cent, which means that there has to be sufficient staff to look after the guests.

Many of the hotels in Dubai, which opened in late 2008, have not hired all the people they had promised they would, according to a senior executive at a hotel company said. He said: "Now we are looking for people who can multi-task."

Commenting on the manpower issue, Samir Daqqaq, Vice-President, Global Sales, Marriott International, said: "We are taking a more creative approach and are trying to shift business from other markets to the Middle East."

However, some hotels such as Jumeirah and Atlantis, The Palm, have decided to let staff go, in the face of the current economic downturn.

A Jumeirah spokesperson said: "Jumeirah management met with colleagues on February 16, and informed them of the company's plan to implement a restructuring process at Group and Corporate levels. There is expected to be an impact on staff numbers, too. This reflects the current international economic situation."

The spokesperson at Atlantis, meanwhile, confirmed slashing 70 jobs. "We have recently reduced the staff levels at Atlantis, The Palm by 70 personnel. Many of the reductions were based on performance during the employees' probation period and none of the reductions have or will affect the direct guest experience," the spokesperson said.