Crisis management preparedness: Innovative strategies for innovative organizations
The hospitality industry is a broad category of fields within the field of service, which includes bars and restaurants, conferences and events, amusement parks, hotels, transportation, travel, and many more. An aspiring employee must not only have academic training but also strong personal characteristics to succeed in this sector. What does it take to make it to the top in hospitality? Here are 4 keys to success:
1. Empowering staff
It has been stated before that to empower staff, hoteliers must examine recruitment and all aspects of job content and treatment. It is also mandatory to examine how managers engage their employees. In the hospitality industry, recruiting is often rigorous, and requirements are high. Hoteliers need more flexible recruitment approaches, as well as the removal of rigid standards to accommodate different situations. The industry needs to upgrade jobs, especially difficult tasks such as room cleaning. Direct employees should not outsource these tasks because external workers may not have the same commitment as direct employees. With fewer employees but greater responsibilities, hoteliers will probably also have to work with higher salaries!
In the future, team training will be vital for hotels to retain and empower employees. To encourage former staff to return and build loyalty, hoteliers must cultivate solidarity among workers from recruitment to employment and then when they leave. Hotels should invest in their employees rather than letting them be independent contractors.
2. Technology is the enabler of change
Technology should support hotel activities rather than the other way around. Today, the emphasis is on data; however, there is a strong potential for the use of big data to anticipate crises and improve management through indicators and dashboards.
Hotels have learned to make their crisis management plans profitable by making sure that they operate with fewer staff and find ways to make up for the cost of the extra employees. Thanks to this shared data, hotels will undoubtedly be able to react better to the next crisis. It is necessary that hotels optimize communications so that when a hotel innovates, they know what to say and how to say it both to customers and employees.
However, digitalization is not applicable to all customers. For some segments of the hotel industry—business and event travellers, for example—it is important; but it is not needed for premium stays and experiences where human interaction is valued. Having high quality Wi-Fi is more important for business customers than it is for others. Post-COVID, technical requirements in terms of telecommuting and conferencing have increased due to higher demands from business customers.
While the digitalization of events and meetings is important, business travel will continue to be a target because the need for people to meet in person remains essential. Most hospitality companies expect a return to a pre-CoVid “customer mix”.
3. The human element
In future hotel design, it will be important to go back to the roots of the hotel industry and rethink current business models to build greater resilience. In addition, there is a desire to focus on the human element and refocus on customers’ needs. Thus, favouring a holistic approach where the hotel becomes a destination on its own organizing activities to attract tourists: wine discovery, food discovery, etc. In order for hotels to succeed in the future, they must constantly adapt to customer needs rather than forcing customers to conform with hotels’ traditional business practices.
Hospitality businesses need to continue to create a strong identity in order to differentiate themselves from competitors. To build customer loyalty, hotels should consider offering immersive experiences, such as holiday parties and ceremonies for guests, as well as creating flexible spaces such as retirement homes, student residences, and rental areas for recurring children’s activities such as dance, theatre, Zumba, fitness, taekwondo and capoeira.
4. Sustainability is the future
For hoteliers, sustainability is not only a set of technical standards; it is also a way of life. Hotel owners should prioritize local suppliers’ offers and services, and send a clear message to customers about the importance of sustainability.
The concept of slow travel is often evoked with the corollary of better considering the hotel offer in general. Thus, it is believed that changes in the way people travel will influence length of stay (shorter or longer?) as well as target markets. Rather than giving up on the environment, it is better to work on the “sustainability paradox”: attracting tourists from remote areas while being sustainable.
During the crisis, hoteliers had to work on rebuilding trust and resilience within their teams while maintaining relationships with guests. The crisis pushed hotels to rethink their medium- and long-term strategies, and take the opportunity to make fundamental changes to their approach and ways of working. Feelings of solidarity, mutual aid, and exchanges of experiences were born between hotels and stakeholders—and this is expected to continue into the future.
Hoteliers need to adapt their recruitment style to different situations and eliminate certain standards. The hotel of the future must constantly adapt to customer needs, not the other way around. Hoteliers need to focus on the “sustainability paradox”: attracting tourists from remote areas while being sustainable.