HOTELS OPTING FOR CASUAL STAFF
Phuket hotels to hire more new graduates
Bangkok Post Public Company Limited
Hotels in Chiang Mai are set to hire more casual staff to save on costs and reduce risk from slow foreign market growth. Hotels in Chiang Mai are poised to hire more casual staff to save on costs and reduce risk from slow foreign market growth and the seasonal haze, while those operating in Phuket are hiring more new graduates to meet demand. Paisarn Sukjarean, president of the Thai Hotels Association’s (THA) Northern Upper Chapter, said with the uneven tourism recovery across all segments and the possible impact from the seasonal haze and related pollution, Chiang Mai hoteliers are planning to hire casual staff in the fourth quarter this year and first quarter next year instead of hiring permanent staff. The province was unable to recruit full-time workers, unlike Phuket and Bangkok where the number of foreign tourists arriving and average room rate are in a better shape. Average service charges for 4- and 5-star hotels in Chiang Mai during the high season start from 7,000 baht, and 10,000 baht, respectively. Typically, on top of a daily wage of 450-500 baht, casual staff earn money from a service charge that is 50% or less than the full rate offered to fulltime employees. Mr Paisarn said even though daily room rates have improved, they are still 10% lower than the rates recorded in 2019. Major foreign markets include South Korea, along with nearby countries such as Singapore and Malaysia, thanks to direct flights to Chiang Mai. He said Chiang Mai has started to see an uptick in Chinese bookings from more direct flights and the impact of the visa-free policy. The growth of long-haul markets remains stagnant as there are no direct flights from European cities to Chiang Mai. Suksit Suvunditkul, president of the THA’s Southern Chapter, said hotels in Phuket are unable to recruit casual staff to save on costs like other provinces, as operators are competing for workers, while workers are seeking jobs with financial stability and other benefits. Mr Suksit said more independent 4-star hotels have to recruit fresh graduates as full-time employees. He said 5-star and luxury international branded hotels are able to maintain an appropriate level in terms of the ratio between fulltime and casual staff, as their reputation, service charges and benefits are strong enough to attract workers at all levels. Mr Suksit said the average service charges for full-time staff at 4-star, 5-star and luxury hotels in Phuket in the high season were 10,000-15,000 baht, 30,00040,000 baht and over 60,000 baht per month, respectively. Hotels based in prime locations, such as beachside, have already seen their service charge and room rates exceeding pre-pandemic levels, driven by high spending tourists from longhaul markets. However, lower-grade hotels or those located in the city centre are unable to improve both the service charge and room rate due to a lack of Chinese tour groups and visitors from the budget segments.