Could Uber for Housekeepers Save Hospitality?

Tech-enabled flexibility could help women stay in meetings industry

The staffing challenges that are hitting hotels in the United States are even more pronounced across the pond in England where the double-whammy of Brexit and lack of international travel are disengaging workers who are leaving the country. Emily Goldfischer, a former Loews PR professional and journalist who moved to London and started the blog Hertelier to tell the stories of women in the hospitality industry, is hopeful that a new app in the UK, Indeed Flex, could help lots of people, including women, get back to meaningful work.

In the early days of the pandemic, she was telling the stories of how people were spending their time during furlough, then how they were getting back to work. Now the story is about how difficult it is for hotels to find workers. “Some people love the energy of hospitality, but want work-life balance,” she observed.

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Indeed Flex allows employees to upload their resumes, set what times they are available and their required salary. They can even turn on and off their availability the way an Uber driver does. Retail, industrial and hospitality employers can enter their available work and the app matches them up for temporary, or permanent positions while providing attend ace tracking and analytics. Goldfischer learned of the app from Lisa Williams, executive housekeeper at the five-star 207-room The Grand in York, England. Williams has used it to improve guest satisfaction and successfully tackle her hotel’s labor issues.

“We have an appetite to see women move up the ranks, but the flexibility is important, too. The ability to work when women what to work could keep them in the industry.”

–Emily Goldfischer

Supply and demand may require a supervisor to work with a pool of twice as many people with four-hour shifts rather than a smaller staff working full-time and required to put in overtime, but there are upsides all around Goldfischer observed.

Hotels struggling with late bookings can bring in rotating shifts of people based on real-time need for everything from front desk and housekeeping to catering. The flexibility could also help mothers who want to drop their kids off at school, work for 4-5 hours and pick up their kids without worrying about childcare. It would help with employee morale as potential workers can reap the benefits of adult stimulation.

“We have an appetite to see women move up the ranks, but the flexibility is important, too. The ability to work when women what to work could keep them in the industry,” she said.

This article appears in the February/March 2022 issue.

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