Labor cost index report reveals increased service levels

The spring 2022 edition of Hotel Effectiveness' Hotel Labor Cost Index and Housekeeping Labor Analysis report found a trend of increasing labor per occupied room. This is a result of service levels increasing and moving closer to pre-pandemic levels.

"We are proud to tap into our unprecedented level of data to support the hotel industry with the release of our Hotel Labor Index and Housekeeping Analysis report," said Del Ross, chief revenue officer, Hotel Effectiveness, in a statement. “Our goal is to provide pivotal productivity information to enable timely, data-driven decisions and help hotel operators improve labor efficiency and bottom-line operating profits."

The report provides details by hotel brand and segment—including full-service, select-service and extended-stay properties—and track key performance metrics. 

  • Increasing wages, especially in housekeeping: Wages across hotel roles increased by 7.6 percent year over year, with an average hourly rate of $16.51/hour in March 2022. The room attendant's specific wage is now $14.63/hour, up 11.3 percent year over year. 
  • Continuing high turnover: Room attendant turnover is now over 103 percent annually. On average, each room attendant turns over more than one time per year. Turnover was always very high, but it now slightly exceeds pre-pandemic levels. 
  • Rising labor hours, especially for select-service hotels: Hours of labor per occupied room rose from 1.3 to 1.6 in March 2021 vs. March 2022. 
  • Returning labor costs per room sold: The all hotels labor cost index shows that cost of labor per occupied room has increased 26.8 percent for full-service hotels, 14.4 percent for extended-stay hotels and 31.1 percent for select-service hotels year-over-year from March 2021 to March 2022. 
  • Housekeeping labor management: 22 percent of guest stayovers were cleaned in February. 2022 compared to 65 percent in pre-Covid February 2020. This rate is up 50 percent from early 2021, and has continued to rise month on month from late 2021 through today. 

The report shows data to support the critical importance of continued hotel and team-member level actions needed to mitigate the impacts of turnover and productivity rates. One clear message is that setting a clear strategy of guest opt-in for service has massive implications to housekeeping labor costs.