North Texas hotels struggling to keep up with demand while facing labor shortage

As airlines struggle through growing pains of increased demand with decreased labor, hotels are going through similar issues.

They cannot find new employees fast enough to meet the needs of vacationers.

Right now, there are 15,000 open positions in the hospitality business across North Texas. 

Some hotels in the Dallas area are offering sign-on bonuses and are pushing referrals to keep up with the business this summer is expected to bring. 

Hotel Zaza Dallas HR Director Grecia Mendiola says the hotel had around 100 employees before the pandemic. But during the pandemic, she had to lay off nearly half of them. Today, the hotel is close to catching back up.

"As business picks back up, we are currently needing housekeeping," she said.

Omni Dallas HR Manager Dave Ricci has a longer road of rebuilding.

"The Omni Dallas was at 900 associates pre-pandemic," he said. "Right now, we are in the 300s." 

The current labor shortage is hitting the hospitality industry hard. 

The Hotel Association of North Texas Executive Director Tracy Mayer says hotels are still down 30 to 45% in staffing heading into summer. Some may need to limit how many rooms they book.

"There’s only certain amount of rooms a hotel can provide with the staffing levels that are current," she said.

Workforce Solutions of Greater Dallas just restarted in-person visits. It helps point people looking for jobs toward businesses looking to hire.

Manager Enrique Rodriguez says he expects a huge influx of candidates in Dallas County.

This weekend, Texas officially ends extra unemployment benefits from the federal government.

"We predict that there will be an additional 50,000 people that were receiving some type of benefits that will no longer receive that going forward," Rodriguez said. "Stack that on the other 50,000 that were unemployed and looking."

Meanwhile, for Omni Dallas, it’s a difficult balance keeping up with bookings. 

"You can’t staff for it and then it doesn’t come and now we don’t have work for them," Ricci said.

But they are all thankful business is back. 

"Employees will come back," Mayer said. "This is just a very unusual and awkward time for our industry."

Hotel Associations of North Texas says they are hoping a job fair this Thursday will boost applicants. It will run from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center. Positions open are all across the board.