Limerick hoteliers enlist landlords to help attract staff 

IHF Shannon Branch Chairman Dermot Kelly
IHF Shannon Branch Chairman Dermot Kelly

LIMERICK hoteliers striking deals with local landlords in a bid to attract and keep staff as  the tourism and hospitality sector struggles to fill 40,000 vacancies in the industry.

The pandemic has seen many staff who previously worked in hotels, pubs and restaurants rethinking their careers and migrating to other industries.

In a bid to hire and keep people, hoteliers have turned to a number of options, including striking long-term deals with landlords in the city and offering their staff accommodation as part of the job package.

Irish Hotels Federation Shannon branch Chairman Dermot Kelly, who is manager of the South Court Hotel, told the Limerick Post that many hoteliers “are offering accommodation as part of the job package because even if they can recruit staff, those staff are struggling to find accommodation”.

“Hoteliers are working out five-year deals with landlords and taking responsibility for providing tenants and looking after properties, which means they can offer their staff a place to live if they sign up to work for them.”

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He said that business owners are also recruiting staff through foreign agencies “which makes offering the staff accommodation all the more attractive.”

“There is certainly a shortage of staff across the industry and in some instances hoteliers are buying up property so they can offer living accommodation.

“One thing hoteliers are also doing is up-skilling and retraining valued staff so they will keep them. Offering to pay for staff training means those people will stay in the job they are promoted to for longer periods.”

“There used to be a sort of hierarchy in the industry from managers and chefs down. Now there is such more focus on the team. Everyone on the team is important,” he explained.

According to Fáilte Ireland, three out of ten businesses in the hospitality and tourism sector risk closure if staffing issues are not addressed.

A survey of 1,000 businesses and 3,500 workers conducted by Fáilte Ireland has highlighted what it referred to as “acute staffing and skills shortages”, which it says are among the greatest barriers to recovery for companies in this sector.