Amid debilitating labour shortages in the aftermath of the pandemic, hotel managers like Garrett Turta have had to “get creative” to fill the gaps.
“Is it uncommon for me to have to go and help clean some rooms or park some cars or help do some different things? No. That happens,” said Turta, general manager of
Edmonton’s iconic Fairmont Hotel Macdonald, one of Edmonton’s most exclusive hotels.
“If a big event or something happens, we have to really call all hands on deck to make things work, and we do that. It’s not like before, where you could just call in more
people, because we just don’t have them.”
Before COVID hit, the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald had a 250-strong staff. That number obviously plummeted during the first few months of the pandemic – when hotels were shut down completely – but staffing levels have struggled to rebound in the two years of uncertainty since.
“While we were closed, we only had 13 people, basically just patrolling the building … and then a team that would be ready to ramp up and get going as things came back,”
But, as the hospitality industry endured the ensuing rollercoaster of closures and openings, a lot of the hotel’s staff decided to leave for more stable industries.
“We lost a lot of people that were regulars in the industry just for fear … as things were coming and going and coming and going, and they needed some stability in their life.”
Right now, the hotel has a staff of 130 and is hiring for 32 positions, 15 of them full-time.