Hospitality staffing levels and customer expectations are showing a bigger gap than ever

I READ with interest Tony Booth’s letter [Is this hospitality practice really good for tourism?, Wednesday 20 July]. I too work in hospitality and have faced the same challenges that the Liberation Group and many others have since the end of the Covid pandemic. While it is great news that outlets have been able to reopen for ‘business as usual’, sadly the reality is that staffing levels as well as customer expectations are showing a bigger gap than ever. It is amazing that items can now be bought at speed, purchased and often delivered the same day or next. While this human-less interaction is possible, those services which still require human interaction, care, and consideration take longer and this is what customers now fail to grasp. Service now needs to be instant and yet customers still want to feel unrushed, well sometimes this simply isn’t compatible. We have seen an increase in demand since Covid and by this I do not mean that places are busier, I mean that customers demand more. As an example, a few years ago it would be perfectly acceptable if fully booked to say that to a customer – now to say the same is met with apoplectic disbelief. Customers at the moment simply cannot be told no, it’s not possible.

Hospitality has suffered massively in the past two years, through staff leaving the island, seeking other roles in better-paid industries as well as the slow speed of processing permits for new staff when we are able to actually recruit. I am of the firm belief that I would rather disappoint a customer by not being able to provide a service at all than by attempting to take their custom and disappointing them through rushed or improper service. I very much hope there can be an understanding that turning away business to preserve quality – and thus ensuring long-term success – is not ‘financial suicide’, it is for the short term at least simply ‘damage limitation’.


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