Department wise thumb rules for staffing your hotel

While opening a hotel, you will be tasked with making a manning guide for staffing your hotel.

This document will be the basis of all discussion with the various stake holders about payroll cost in your hotel.

Depending on your category of hotel – Luxury, Upscale, or Economy there are various parameters and thumb rules that are available to staff your hotel.

  • Luxury Hotel – 2.3 to 3.5 person per key
  • Upscale – 1. 5 to 2 person per key
  • Budget – 0.4 to 1 person per key

While you see a vast difference in the recommendation, this is because no 2 hotels are similar. Some may have more fnb space, some may have lawns and own laundry.

Thumb rules for staffing your hotel exist as a guide to help you. However the actual numbers may vary significantly as per the hotel setup

Hence you have to make your own judgement while making your staffing.

Now let us break down the manning into the departments.

Front office

Calculation for Front Desk is relatively simple.

No of desk that are available , No of Shift and Number of Off per month are required inputs. Once you know them the calculation is pretty simple

If you have additional services like bell desk, business center, reservation, you need to use a similar formula.

If you have a multiskilled and trained team, you can reduce the number of reliver that is required to get the job done. Or else you will need to keep reliver for every section.

For every shift you may need a duty manager or two depending on the complex nature of the operation.

If you are a luxury hotel and do in room check in or have a club floor, your manning will need to consider all these departments.


For rooms, calculate no of people based on bays. A bay is typically 280 – 300 sq ft of cleaning area. Typically hotels have for long calculated as 14 bays per shift per person.

However it may have to change depending on the layout of the pantry or if it is a resort and travelling between rooms takes time.

You will also need to plan for off and leave and have reliever in place.

For Public area cleaning, budget for 1 person per 10000 sq ft of space. However you may also need additional manning for lawns and other service like marble polishing etc. So budget accordingly or outsource these requirement.

Your laundry manning will depend on the automation you put in and varies as per property so it is difficult to have a thumb rule for laundry.

Food and Beverage Service

For buffet restaurant, budget for 1 server per 20 covers and for a la carte, 1 server per 16 covers.

For specialty restaurant, budget 1 server per 12 covers.

You may also need supervisors and managers and you will need to budget accordingly.

If you have a bar, the manning will depend on the style of operation.


Will depend on the number of cuisine and will need to be calculated as per hotel needs. Some kitchen have display elements or live stations and hence will need more people.

You will also need to factor in specialty chefs, butchers and key roles if your hotel has requirement for them.


Budget for 1 shift engineer per shift for the operation. They must be generalist and have some knowledge of high side equipments.

Some states regulate that engineers must have a C license holder on staffing so work as per your local rules.

Then you will need tradesmen like plumber, painter, carpenter etc. Those can be outsourced or you can hire them as well, but mostly these days hotels look to outsource them.

General and Admin

The General and Admin department consist of Finance, Purchase, HR, Security and GM office.

Depending on the complex nature of the hotel, your team numbers will change. However you will need to consider allocation of responsibility in finance so that you can maintain segregation of duties.

In conclusion

While there are thumb rules to help you, it finally boils down to your hotel and operation. No 2 hotel is similar and hence you will have to adapt the manning requirement as per your operations and needs.

However having a clear plan will help you manage your labour cost.

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