Hotel occupancy rates are on the decline. According to HospitalityNet, “24 out of 26 major markets will experience higher supply vs. demand growth, which inevitably will lead to occupancy declines due to over-supply and the negative impact of Airbnb.” While distribution costs or cutting room service might be your first thought for managing the disparity between supply and demand at your hotel, there is another option that is equally effective — cutting your labor costs. Here are some tips to get you started.

Pay Only for What You Need

First, make sure you are paying only for what you need when it comes to your employees. For instance, many of your employees probably have cell phones, and the costs for those services can really add up. You can save money by reviewing your employee cell phone contracts and making sure that you aren’t paying for more than you need. Making a ton of data available to an employee who doesn’t need it to be effective at his or her job is a waste of money, money you could save by changing the cell phone data plan. Plus, the savings are immediate.

Analyze Employee Efficiency

Also, look at employee efficiency. American Express reports that 39 percent of companies in the United States are having a hard time finding employees with the right skill set. Blame it on a talent shortage, the number of people retiring or geographic restrictions, but the fact is that it can be challenging to find workers who can do all the things that you need them to do at the pace you need them to do it. While you can offer training that helps bolster employee skill sets, efficiency is more difficult to track. Try using software programs to monitor the effectiveness of your current staff. You could find that some workers are considerably less productive than their peers.

Consider Offering Work-at-Home

You could consider offering work-at-home options as well. Remote employment won’t be possible for all your staff — hotels need people on site — but there is no reason why your marketing staff, social media team or even reservations personnel cannot work from home. When you offer work-at-home options, you gain a few different benefits. Productivity often increases and your overhead is lower. Entrepreneur reports that the average business saves an average of $11,000 per year by letting its employees work from home. Why? Utilities are cheaper, office expenses go down, you can have a smaller office space and equipment costs are lower. Also, work-at-home employees tend to take fewer sick days and have higher retention rates.

Hire Freelancers

Finally, consider hiring skilled freelance professionals. While using an efficient and experienced full-time employee can be a brilliant business decision, most companies — hotels, included — benefit from having a combination of freelancers and full-time employees. It costs money to recruit and train employees; the Society for Human Resources Management puts the cost at as much as nine months of salary. You also have to consider the cost of employee taxes and the price of offering benefits such as medical insurance and vacation. Freelancers don’t come with these costs, but they can come with particular skills that could be outside your budget. For example, if it costs $100,000 per year for a marketing specialist, you could contract with a freelancer for $150 per hour and only pay for what you need.

Saving money on employee labor costs is one of the best ways for your hotel to remain competitive. Not only will you be better able to handle the possibility of lower demand, but you can free up your resources so that you can develop a better offering for your guests.