GREEN BAY (NBC26) — As summer travel is in full swing, local hotels are struggling amid a workforce shortage in the hospitality industry. Brad Toll, the president and CEO of the Greater Green Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau, says Green Bay's hospitality industry has become increasingly short-staffed as a result of the national shortage.
"Our hotel properties, restaurants, even some of the attractions, from general manager positions all the way through their workforce they have openings," Toll said.
Steve Ninham, the general manager at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center Green Bay, says his hotel has been short-staffed in just about every position.
"We've been so short on housekeeping staff, front office personnel, bartenders, servers," Ninham said, "It's just been a challenge all the way around getting positions into the hotel."
He says the workforce shortage has made it difficult for the hotel to keep up with demand.
"Sometimes when there's a demand for the hotel we potentially can't clean all those rooms, so sometimes we've had to put those rooms down," Ninham said. "I've had my management staff across the board, from my director of sales to my executive chef, up on the floors cleaning rooms."
The lack of staff has also made it challenging for the business to expand.
"We've got a brand new beer garden that we opened but we can't get to five days a week because we don't have the staff to do that," Ninham said.
He says the hotel has tried everything to get new hires from making a wage increase to outsourcing.
"We recently did a minimum wage increase so the starting positions at the hotel now start at fifteen dollars an hour. That's a huge jump from where we were at, at eleven dollars and ten cents an hour," Ninham said. "We've tapped into the J-1 visa program so we'll be getting some students from across the country helping us out."
In the meantime, the Convention & Visitors Bureau is asking that visitors be patient with local hotels and restaurants this summer as businesses work through the shortage.
"We printed some signs that we've sent out to our partners that just ask for patience when people visit restaurants and hotel properties," Toll said. "They're doing the best they can."