Bosses in the hospitality sector can help offset the effects of the manpower crunch by rewarding good performers with pay rises and other benefits, said Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck yesterday.

He noted that while workers in the sector need to be more productive, employers must also look to compensate their staff appropriately if they want to keep them.

"Because if they're going to do more work and find smarter ways of doing work, we need to recognise them and reward them appropriately," added Mr Teo, who was speaking to the media after the Excellent Service Award ceremony for the hospitality sector.

"If it means higher wages for better staff, then I'm sure employers should be open to that. After all, you'd want to retain your best people."

It was reported earlier this year that the pay of low-wage workers in businesses such as hotels, restaurants and shops has risen 11 per cent on average in the past three years, according to the National Trades Union Congress.

Nonetheless, the hotel sector still faces a manpower crunch due to a tighter foreign worker policy and difficulty in attracting and retaining locals.

About 2,700 service professionals from hotels and other sectors, including resorts and members' clubs, were recognised for their efforts at the ceremony at the University Cultural Centre.

There were 177 more recipients this year than in 2012. One of the two top winners of the Singapore Hotel Association's Outstanding Star Award was Ms Siti Hawa Hussein, 41.

She was honoured for going the extra mile to accommodate a guest who called a month before his stay at the Costa Sands Resort (Sentosa) to request a specially decorated room to surprise his wife on their first wedding anniversary.

Ms Siti, a front office administrative assistant, took it upon herself to decorate the room when she realised the resort was not able to.

She spent her own time one weekend going to various outlets, including at VivoCity and Little India, to look for the right flower petals for decoration.

She even went to the extent of watching YouTube videos to get ideas on how she could make the room special.

"I'm happy to see them happy," she said. "I didn't expect that they would like it that much. To me, it's a simple thing."