Case Studies

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Case Study One: People management at Seaside hotel

Seaside Hotel is an independently-owned, three-star hotel situated in Newquay in Cornwall. It has 108 rooms and permanently employs 30 full-time staff and approximately 40 part-time employees. During the period of peak demand between May to August, the hotel virtually doubles its labour force with casual and temporary labour. Cornwall presents a challenging environment for any business, particularly those that serve the tourism market. Business is highly seasonal with hotels experiencing very low occupancy during the off-season and many hotels choose not to operate during this time. The Seaside hotel operates all year round by supplementing its tourism trade during the off-season by offering discounted conferencing facilities for local businesses and as a cheap base for corporate events and activities, such as teambuilding weekends. Tourism is, however, vitally important for the region and its businesses and provides a significant proportion of all jobs in the South West. Cornwall can, however, be a difficult place in which to work. For instance, Newquay - Cornwall’s most popular holiday destination - is one of the UK’s unemployment black spots due to the seasonality of jobs with an unemployment rate several times higher than the national average, albeit falling considerably during the summer.

Maintaining a relatively large permanently-employed workforce of 70 employees is a problem for the Seaside Hotel, given that demand during the off-season is highly unpredictable and when occupancy rates are low can place a significant burden on the hotel to pay their wages. Conversely, when demand is unexpectedly high during this time considerable pressure is placed on this ‘skeleton’ workforce to service the needs of customers. In order to cope with this variability of demand, the hotel has trained most of its ‘core’ workforce in a range of skills (for example, silver service waiting, bar work, food preparation,...
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