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Cancun Resorts Face Staffing Shortages: What Tourists Need to Know Before Booking

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Resorts and hotels in Cancun are busier than ever.

Now, they are also facing staffing challenges in providing excellent service to guests visiting the Mexican Caribbean vacation hotspot.

In fact, reports are showing that three in ten workers in the beach resort destination are constantly on the move looking for more wages for their work.

This is creating complications for tourist guest service across the entire area.

Hotel restaurant workers in Cancun

Finding Workers to Serve Guests

Resorts and hotels in Cancun and surrounding areas are struggling to retain key members of their guest services staff while keeping room rates affordable for valued guests at the same time.

According to data from the Hotel Association of Cancún, Puerto Morelos and Isla Mujeres, on average most resorts in the area are missing up to eight percent of their staff because some of the best workers are not very loyal and are constantly leaving properties in search of better wages.

Busy Hotel Pool in Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Most of the time that means leaving the budget-oriented properties in favor of more high-end properties that pay more for higher levels of guest service.

It also means many of the boutique properties in small Mexican Caribbean towns are seeing their best employees leave for more upscale and better-paying resorts in Cancun.

In a story on the topic, Beatriz Robles, Director of Operations at Manpower in Cancun, highlighted that salary is a key reason why the youngest workers – also known in Mexico as “centennials” – accept or decline a job offer.

room service

What Can Hotels do to Serve Tourists?

The obvious solution is to pay workers more.

But that oversimplifies the issue.

Paying more would reward good employees and help retain them. That’s until another property comes along and pays them more. It can end up being an endless loop.

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Instead, resorts and hotels are trying to find other ways to retain good workers to serve their guests. That includes flexible working programs and other guest service bonuses.

Resorts and hotels are also working to cross-train their workers to handle multiple roles in serving their guests.

This is often a good solution that provides better service for travelers to Cancun. However, cross-trained workers also want more money for their additional skills.

chef cooking meat outside

Reducing Guest Services

What more tourists will experience in Cancun is more resorts and hotels are reducing services to guests.

Mostly, this action is being done behind the scenes with what is considered non-guest-facing workers.

However, there have been several complaints lately that the service at resorts and hotels in Cancun has been less responsive to guest service needs.

a relaxing pool area in a cancun resort

Some of this also has come from many resorts in the Mexican Caribbean not “backfilling” positions in key guest service areas to reduce costs and pay other workers more.

Instead of five pool attendants, a resort in Cancun may only have three and pay the remaining workers more.

However, tourists experience longer wait times and delays in guest service on the beach resort vacation getaway.

pool worker mexico hotel staff

What Tourists Need to Know

Staffing issues are definitely nothing new for resorts and hotels in Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean.

The good news is most tourists in Cancun are unaware that they are happening.

Hotel management and workers in the Mexican Caribbean are accustomed to doing more with less and strongly dedicated to the importance of guest service for livelihood in the area.

Worker removing sargassum seaweed in Playa del Carmen

However, the issue is getting worse in the area and except for the higher-end pricey resorts in the region, those in budget properties will experience fewer professional workers and fewer workers in general to provide service.

Several options that once were full service in Cancun, such as beach towel service and food service delivery may no longer be available or only be available for an additional fee.

Travelers will have to adjust their service expectations in the area or pay more for accommodations.

Have you noticed a decline in guest service in Cancun and surrounding areas?

Post your recent personal experiences in the comments below.

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Monday 13th of May 2024

Wages are too low and the workers get paid by the day, not the hour. And they work LONG days. I have had great service in Cancun and the Riviera Maya, the workers are sincere, helpful and professional, they are so good at hospitality, but I know how hard they work and for so little. I am a big tipper but I can't make that much difference. Pay these folks more.


Monday 13th of May 2024

A well researched and thought out article. The author identified the root cause for lack of staff...wages.

Sorry to be pedantic, but a basic maxim concerning wages in a free capitalist economy:Ownership wants to pay nothing and Employees want an infinite amount of wages. A compromise is inevitable.

The "Luxury" hotels unable to provide the level of service as advertised will have to pay higher wages (Higher fees?) and higher wages. Capitalism at work. Unfortunately Mexico's economy can not sustain higher wages without sacrificing competiviness. Reckless government investment to attract tourist will be ill spent if no one comes...Too expensive to come to Cancun.

Ron campbell

Monday 13th of May 2024

Pay the employees a decent raise and salary instead of letting the fat cats behind the desk collecting it all!


Monday 13th of May 2024

I think they should get higher wages for their work if the hotels are so busy