The managing director of London's Savoy hotel said it has raised salaries across all departments following a struggle to recruit
Franck Arnold told The Caterer there had been a "very healthy" increase in pay over the past year, which was both "overdue" and in response to increased competition for talent.
He said all London hotels were "fishing in the same pond" and it had been very difficult to find the right people, particularly in light of Brexit restrictions making it more challenging to hire from abroad.
Filings on Companies House show the hotel struggled with staff shortages in 2021, which caused the American Bar to delay its reopening until October, several months after coronavirus restrictions lifted.
Arnold said: "It became an employee-driven market. There were a huge amount of job offers everywhere and people could dictate [the terms]. We had to play the game."
He added that the hotel was now at "95% of where it needed to be" with staff levels and was investing more in training and development. "People are more inclined to move [jobs] quicker than before," he said.
Accounts for the Savoy's holding company Breezeroad for year ended 31 December 2021 reported a pre-tax loss of £26.7m with revenue of £23.8m as coronavirus restrictions hit trade. This was down from a £33m pre-tax loss in 2020.
Arnold said the losses were driven by the debt structure of the company and that the hotel was trading strongly.
"From an operating standpoint, we have enough cash to operate comfortably without being concerned about those numbers or a threat to our ability to deliver," he said.
He added that 2022 had been "a successful year overall" with the hotel welcoming more UK-based guests than before the pandemic.
Arnold said: "Our UK audience is great but a question mark for next year is how they will react to the recession and the increased interest rates… will people be able to indulge as much as they did in 2022? There is a risk there."
He said group bookings were slower and more last-minute than pre-pandemic but was optimistic the weak pound could see a boost in US visitors in 2023. "What we may lose in British customers we could win in US visitors, it's possible that it balances out," he said.
The Savoy is operated by Accor under the Fairmont Hotels & Resorts brand. The majority shareholder (59%) of Breezeroad is Kingdom Holding Company, of which the majority shareholder is Saudi Arabian billionaire businessman Al Waleed bin Talal Al Saud, while the remaining 41% of shares is held by the Qatar Investment Authority.