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The owner of the Hoxton hotel chain said he had set up local recruitment centers for recruitment because he was trying to prevent the severe labor shortages facing the hospitality sector.

Sharan Pasricha, co-CEO of Ennismore, a new joint venture between its own company and the French hotel operator Accor, said the group ‘thought outside the box in terms of recruitment’ and ‘achieved excellent success with active recruitment of work centers’.

His co-CEO, Gaurav Bhushan, former development chief at Accor, said the response to the staff shortages was ‘train, train, train’.

‘It’s about being out there and recruiting from outside the industry. “Training is a big focus, so you don’t just steal from the same pie,” he said.

Ennismore, whose merger into a business that will include its Hoxton and Gleneagles hotels with Accor’s lifestyle brands, is not alone in facing an acute staff shortage.

The CEOs of both Marriott and Hilton, the two largest hotel groups in the world, describe staff shortages as biggest challenge facing the industry. Several hotel operators said other business owners were trying to strip staff by offering promotions and higher wages.

In the UK, where Ennismore is headquartered, industry tracker CGA estimates that 16 per cent of hospitality opportunities are vacant, and in its survey published on Monday, three-quarters of bar, bar and restaurant operators said wages increased staff attract and retain.

Gaurav Bhushan, co-CEO of Ennismore

Training means you do not ‘steal from the same pie’, says Gaurav Bhushan, co-CEO of Ennismore © Ana Ruivo

Bhushan said Ennismore fared better than many companies in retaining staff as it has attractive brands but that vacancy levels vary depending on the location, although the company did not want to give figures.

The new venture, in which Accor has a 66 per cent stake, with Parischa owning the rest, has 14 hotel and affiliate brands and operates more than 150 pubs, clubs and restaurants worldwide.

In 2019, ahead of the agreement with Accor, Ennismore earned, according to the most recent available accounts, a turnover of £ 33.3 million, which was 29% higher than the year before, driven by the opening of three Hoxton hotels. Operating profit increased by 12% to £ 1 million.

Parischa, who founded Ennismore in 2011 and bought the Hoxton chain in 2012 after a career in private equity, said the company’s co-operative has been ‘on fire’ since hotel restrictions eased in May when small businesses went to ways sought to adjust remote work patterns.

An individual monthly membership to use his desks in London costs around £ 350 a month – a similar rate as WeWork.

Ennismore has benefited from a greater focus on leisure clients, while the recovery of business travel remains behind a wave of accumulated holiday demand during the summer.

It defines its brands as ‘lifestyle’ hotels that generate at least half of their local revenue. Between 40 and 50 percent of the business’s revenue comes from food and beverage sales, while the rest comes from accommodation and collaboration.

Richard Clarke, an analyst at Bernstein, said this is an advantage, while travel restrictions remain volatile as local customers mean ‘more stable earnings’.

The group said its hotels in Miami and the Bahamas are now the two most popular destinations worldwide, and that its hotels in London only recovered in September to 2019 levels.

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