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The evolution of labour requirements in the hospitality industry

The hospitality industry has arguably been the industry most affected by the pandemic. In the years that followed, pent-up demand and resilient consumer spending have supported a welcome recovery. However, rapidly evolving consumer behaviours combined with a rise in staff shortages represent a significant challenge for hospitality businesses. In the 2023 Deloitte European Hotel Industry survey 73% of executives reported that hiring and retaining talent will remain a priority in the upcoming year, up from 63% in 2022.

In recent years consumer preferences have become more varied and complex than ever before. The emergence of 'bleisure' travellers, who blend business with leisure and a surge in experiential luxury travel underscore the need for a workforce that can cater to diverse demands. This shift requires staff to not only be versatile but also capable of providing hyper-personalised experiences. With younger generations driving market trends, employees must adapt to offer unique, tailored services that resonate with these new consumer segments.

"Implementing technology in hotels and beyond provides an opportunity to streamline operations - from self check-in and check-out to ordering food and beverages anywhere in a property from a smartphone - which actually frees up the limited staff resource so they can focus their time on surprising and delighting guests."

– Richard Valtr, Founder, Mews

Simultaneously, how technology is embedded within the guest experience is evolving. The integration of AI and digital tools is not about replacing human interaction but augmenting it. From streamlining check-in processes to personalising guest experiences, incorporating technology effectively will help to improve operational efficiency and enhance guest satisfaction. This proves to be a clear opportunity for differentiation for mid-sized hospitality companies to compete with large hospitality brands. However, there is a real challenge in balancing technological convenience with the personal touch that many consumers seek as part of their guest experience.

In addition, the increased adoption of AI among corporations globally is likely to shift the balance and nature of jobs globally. Increased automation of tasks will reduce job opportunities for more junior roles, which presents a unique opportunity for the hospitality industry to recapture a new pool of emerging young talent. To do so, the industry needs to reposition its talent attraction programs and highlight the opportunities for long-term career growth. That trend is already emerging, with companies re-framing job titles and descriptions as part of a broader strategy to make hospitality roles more appealing and dynamic.

As the hospitality industry navigates through this period of significant transformation, its ability to adapt and innovate is crucial. Understanding evolving consumer preferences, integrating technology with the human touch and redefining traditional roles are not just strategies, but imperatives to ensure sustainable growth for the future. Embracing these changes will not only help the industry to meet the challenges of today but also shape a more vibrant and sustainable future.

Key takeaways


  • Attracting and maintaining skilled staff is a key priority for businesses in 2024.
  • To attract a new generation of talent, roles must evolve in line with workforce expectations, and focus more on dynamic, rewarding and engaging jobs that also support development for future opportunities.
  • Staff training should focus on equipping employees with the skills to cater for diverse and evolving consumer preferences, including better personalisation and increased adaptability.
  • Maintain the personal touch despite integrating AI and digital tools. Human interactions define the hospitality experience. Technology should be used to enhance, not replace hospitality staff.
  • Businesses can gain a competitive advantage by creating innovative service designs that cater for the evolving preferences of guests, including younger consumers who are more likely to seek unique and authentic experiences.

Meet the authors

Sanveer Singh


Sanveer is a chartered accountant and a manager in the THL Advisory practice with over 5 years of experience in the firm. Sanveer clients include hospitality and entertainment operators, public sector bodies and global asset managers and private equity firms.​ Upon joining the THL advisory practice, Sanveer’s experience spans advisory across public and private sector entities in the Travel Hospitality and Leisure industry – where his experience includes market assessments, consumer profiling, benchmarking options analysis in markets across Europe and the Middle East. Sanveer has extensive experience of project management and delivery bringing industry experience to bear on large scale cross discipline engagements.​ Sanveer holds a BSc in Mathematics and Economics from the London School of Economics and Political Sciences.

Leila Jiwnani

Hospitality Advisory Lead

Leila Jiwnani is a Director in the Travel, Hospitality and Leisure Advisory team in London. She has significant operations, consultancy and M&A experience across the UK, Europe and Middle East. Her key areas of expertise include value creation services in deal and non-deal scenarios, commercial and operational diligence, post-merger integration, carve-out, operator search & selection, feasibility and market analysis, particularly in the luxury segment. Additionally, Leila has worked on a number of engagements across wider hospitality, F&B and leisure, providing performance improvement support, operational reviews, synergy identification and delivery, as well as strategic growth and branding advice. She works with a variety of clients, including leading global brands, private equity and sovereign wealth funds. Prior to Deloitte, Leila spent 6 years at PwC working on M&A engagements across the Retail, Consumer and Leisure industries. She also previously held operational roles at a number of luxury hotel brands, such as Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Marriott and Belmond, in the UK and Europe.  

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