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Hotel industry tells Congress the U.S. needs more immigrants

Published: Tuesday, February 28, 2023 - 4:19pm

The hotel industry says Congress can help its workforce shortage by attracting more immigrants.

Despite most hotels boosting pay and benefits in recent years, 79%  of hotels report staffing shortages, according to a new survey by the American Hotel and Lodging Association. 

As part of its workforce and immigration initiative, the group has produced an ad pushing for bipartisan action to incorporate more immigrants into the economy. It says, “Millions of jobs are unfilled because businesses can’t find workers. We need our leaders in Congress and the administration to come together to pass common sense immigration solutions.” 

The initiative advocates for what it calls a fair, efficient and long-term system to encourage legal immigration.  Hotel employment is down about 200,000 compared to pre-pandemic. Last year, Phoenix was among the first markets chosen when the association launched an advertising campaign to increase awareness about career opportunities. 

Highlights from American Hotel and Lodging Association survey:

  • 71% of respondents are increasing wages.
  • 64% are offering better flexibility with hours.
  • 33% are expanding benefits.
  • 79% report a staffing shortage, with 22% describing it as severe.
  • 43% rank housekeeping as top hiring need.

Since the association’s last survey in September, the percentage of respondents who were short staffed decreased by 16% and the average number of positions per property they are trying to fill dropped from 10 in September to seven in February.