Is Working From Home Here to Stay?

By Jonathan Kaplan, Vice President, Americas Sales, IHG, and member of HSMAI’s Sales Advisory Board

No commute, working in sweatpants, being able to run short errands—the list of benefits that come with working from home goes on and on. But is this way of working, which many people have become accustomed to over the past 14 months, here to stay? Many salespeople and other hotel professionals want to keep those benefits, and while some hotels or workplaces are exploring how to extend flexibility beyond the pandemic, not every organization can support this.

During a recent call, members of HSMAI’s Sales Advisory Board (SAB) discussed how hotel companies can use flexible benefits as an incentive to retain and hire sales talent. Here are the key takeaways from our discussion.


  • “I’ve been in hospitality technology for a long time. I miss the camaraderie side of being on-property, but the reason why I can’t go back is the overall package that technology offers. The compensation isn’t even competitive.”
  • “Most people don’t want to be a hundred percent remote, because you lose a sense of connection there. But they don’t want to be in the office five days a week, from nine to five. They don’t want to have to sit in traffic, and that’s okay. It shouldn’t be frowned upon if someone wants to leave the office an hour earlier to avoid sitting in traffic for an hour.”
  • “I wouldn’t trade flexibility for the world. I have a young kid and it allows me to be the only dad at Mommy and Me. That’s worth thousands of dollars to me.”
  • “Offices should be a place to meet, not where you work. You can still get together and you can still have that in-person interaction, but it’s not every day that you’re doing it. I think that’s a great balance. You get to work from home, but you also still have a place to go and meet with people in person.”


  • “I think this is an area where general managers need to have their paradigms and mindsets shifted a bit, because they are the chief sales officer for their building. And they set the tone, they set the culture. That’s where it needs to start — understanding that the sales world is changing. We have these issues in hiring talent, keeping talent, retaining talent, work from home, work remotely. These are all issues that have to be addressed. And I understand the perspective of operations. They don’t get that ability to work from home. They’re serving guests on property. And salespeople need to be sensitive to that. So that’s where the cultural dynamic has to work.”
  • “The pushback that I’ve heard though from our ops teams is that they really want the sales teams on-property and they want to be part of the team.”
  • “Salespeople need to understand what it takes to operate a hotel. I still believe you should start out turning rounds, putting down linens, cleaning rooms, and doing all those things. And they need to understand that they have a responsibility in that the business they’re bringing in keeps everybody else employed. You have to have that kind of symbiotic understanding of what all the roles are.”
  • “I’ve always had this issue where I’ve had one remote salesperson selling in the Northeast for a hotel in Arizona, and there’s a resentment of the team in Arizona because they’re doing all the site tours for the person that’s selling in the Northeast. So, I think that just like everything post-COVID, there’s a hybrid that has to exist in this.”
  • “At the hotel level, we expect them to be at the hotel five days a week, working business hours, dressed in business attire. And we fear that those boundaries we put on ourselves as hoteliers, at the hotel level, might be part of the job losses, because other things are more appealing to workers.”


  • “I’ve noticed this past year that we have been targeted by particular industries. From the number of calls I got for senior roles in the assisted-living business, it was clear they were hunting our people. If the retirement community was smart enough to figure out to come after us, maybe we have got to figure out what community we can target.”
  • “You have to look at what you’re willing to offer and change. If we don’t, I don’t know how successful we’re going to be at attracting people from other industries. If there’s nothing unique about what we’re offering, why would they consider it? For example, we’re getting rid of requirements such as bachelor’s degrees for some positions, because we could attract great people from retail or similar industries and we don’t want to eliminate them because of that.”
  • “I had a friend who left hospitality for assisted living. She said that she doesn’t like the job itself, but she’s there because of the pay and the flexible hours. I hope if we can be more competitive, more people will come back. I’m hoping that there will be a boomerang of talent coming back down the road, but we’ve got to change the compensation and benefit models.”

Categories: Sales
Insight Type: Articles