In 2019, Wyndham Rewards reported a 69% increase in revenue during 2018 to $527 million. It’s considered one of the best loyalty programs on the market and their numbers seem to support that position.

Wyndham Rewards is one of many loyalty programs on the market, showing the trend in the industry towards valuing customer retention. Programs like these are critical to building and maintain a trustworthy brand in the eyes of both existing and potential hotel guests.

But have you considered this trend also applies to your staff?

What do hotel staff really want?

According to research, nearly half of hospitality workers identify a lack of recognition as one of the main barriers to getting ahead. When it comes to loyalty, staff must also feel as though they are a part of your guest membership programs or those programs won’t be nearly as successful as they could be.

Your entire organization must believe in the membership you are providing; all employees at every level must play a role in making your enterprise great, and they must believe in that role. They must know they are contributors and important players in the overall health and success of your company.

If they know they are valued they will take pride in their jobs, and a sense of collaboration will be fostered on all levels. This in turn translates to a positive environment for the rest of your staff and for your members.

Your members and guests will take notice of this; they can tell when your staff is just there to do their jobs or when they are coming from a place of service and connection. Every single person who works in your hotel must be on board; they must feel they are valued and they matter. In turn, they will be sure your members feel they are valued and they matter.

Employee Benefits: Going Beyond The Basics

A few years ago, IHG began offering an employee benefit program called Room To Be Yourself.  The program was designed to give people the opportunity for career growth, achievement recognition. It allowed employees to take “an active role in their development”.

Although the program has since ceased, it’s legacy remains, with plenty of references to ‘room to be yourself’ threaded throughout the IHG website. 

First Hospitality Group (FHG) also joined in with their People First program, which began back in 2003. It’s an employee incentive program designed to retain their best and brightest. In an article on Lodging Magazine’s web site, Robert Habeeb and Steve Schwartz of FHG both discussed how beneficial this program has been for their staffing, overall.

Every year the company holds an awards dinner and the grand prize winner is announced. The winner receives a year of paid living expenses or a free vehicle. There’s also an “Inner Circle” program for managers. The top 10 performers are given luxurious trips to various global destinations, like England and Portugal.

Habeeb goes on to share the impressive results of this program: their employee retention rate is 12.5%, a number that is far outpacing the rest of the industry.

It’s apparent FHG is doing something right to attract and retain their staff at a much higher percentage than their industry competition. Let’s look at some reasons why people are leaving, and what you can do about it, aside from giving people a car or trips around the world!

High Turnover Rates: What To Do And How to Keep Your Staff Happy

The topic of employee satisfaction leads directly into the high turnover rates in the hospitality world. In fact, the annual staff turnover rate for the hotel and motel industry in the US reportedly stands at a huge 73.8%.

Those numbers lead to the questions: why is the percentage so high and what can you do about it in your own workplace?

In 2016, Hotel News Now asked several hotel operators to weigh in on this topic. Shawn Gracey, EVP of hospitality for Key International, touched on a few options for keeping your turnover low. He cited things like a flexible work schedule and a company commitment to each person’s career track and personal growth.

He found that people today want to be valued for who they are, and what they bring to the table. They value having opportunities to explore how they can contribute on a bigger scale; they want to be recognized as a person, not just a “cog in a machine”.

Flexible Work Schedule

We’ve already talked about FHG’s People First program and IHG’s Room To Be You program as programs to recognize individuals for their contributions. Both programs are examples of how to help your staff contribute in meaningful ways while allowing them to grow as people, key factors in retaining great people.

Which leaves us with the flexible work schedule. Adam Peterson, the Food & Beverage Manager at Holiday Inn, has found a way to address the flexible work schedule in such a way that it has become an exceptional employee benefit. He uses a tool he calls “accommodating scheduling”.

Essentially it works like this: employees fill out an entire month’s calendar with the shifts they are available for, and when they must have off. Every person does this and then all their requests are entered into one spreadsheet.

The spreadsheet then works out who is available and when during that particular month. A schedule is created from that information. Adam reviews it for any gaps and then asks his staff to fill in those remaining shifts. He lets them take ownership – which is key.

By giving his team ownership he creates a deeper bond – much more so than if he was the one telling them when they should work. Adam has found this type of scheduling to be truly valuable to attracting and retaining the best people.

Does it work?

The proof is in his results: his town has an unemployment rate of 3% and yet he consistently recruits and retains the best staff, on the rare occasion he has an opening on his team.

Clearly there are themes throughout all the current workplace trends: engaging your employees on an individual level and providing flexibility to accommodate their needs. IHG and FHG employee benefit programs. Doing these things are just a few of the current hospitality trends that will help keep your staff happy, and turnover low.


InnQuest Software is a leading technology provider for the hospitality industry. For over 25 years, innQuest has combined hotelier experience with innovative technology to deliver an all-in-one solution that empowers hotels to attract guests, drive customer loyalty, and increase profits. Our flagship property management softwareroomMaster, helps manage over 5,500 properties across 100 countries. InnQuest develops scalable solutions ranging from a Hotel PMSCloud PMSChannel ManagerHotel CRM and helps properties enable guests to Book Direct. We believe that everyone deserves a great guest experience, whether they’re staying at a small B&B, a thousand-room resort, or anywhere in between.

Call us today at 1.813.288.4900, or email us at We will be happy to walk you through innQuest’s solutions.