Organisations need to adapt, change current operational structures
Dilip Puri, Founder & CEO, Indian School of Hospitality shares the factors for momentum of hospitality market recovery
The pandemic has changed the talent game for the hospitality industry. As people lost jobs through the pandemic, they also lost confidence in the industry, with many opting for alternate careers, not interested in returning ever. Young graduates from hospitality schools are also finding more attractive sectors to work in than hospitality. So the first change which has to come is the way employers look at the ADR (Attract, Develop and Retain) strategy for talent. How do we do this? There is a need to change the perception of being seen as an underpaid, overworked industry. How do we change this perception? Quite simple actually – start paying employees more and stop working them like work horses. How do we do this without significantly increasing fixed costs on payroll? Use technology as an enabler to improve productivity and delivery of services to guests. Invest in upskilling and reskilling employees to make them more multiskilled with the ability to multitask. These include proficiency in soft and lifeskills, technological agility and adaptability. This means the industry must now work closely with academic institutions and having more training programmes for their employees.
TRENDS SHAPING THE FUTURE OF HOSPITALITY BUSINESS MODEL
Hospitality industry is evolving rapidly with the socio-economic, technological and demographic changes taking place. Technology is making its way into every aspect of business model, from service delivery to customer relationship. It is only fair now that businesses invest in new age technology, such as virtual and augmented reality, cloud solutions, contactless features and robotics for daily operations. With many lifestyle changes taking place, the way people travel is also changing, with trends like staycations and workations becoming the norm. Customers are looking for more personalised, sustainable as well as unique experiences. These will shape the future of hospitality businesses.
FACTORS FOR MOMENTUM OF MARKET RECOVERY
If there’s one big lesson that the pandemic has taught our industry, it is that organisations need to adapt and change their current operational structures. They must now operate on more lean and efficient cost structures as well as resilient business models. Working on lower fixed costs models will help realise higher profits once businesses bounce back to normal and get back to pre-pandemic levels. It also means that they will be better prepared for crisis management in the future.
Research into scope of new opportunities and ways to better connect with customers will help give momentum to market recovery. Many hotels and organisations came up with new products and value-add services that were targetted to enhance the customer experience during the pandemic. Now, the industry should enhance these product categories and turn them into revenue sources. In addition, as international borders take time to open fully due to border restrictions and increased concern over foreign travel, more focus should now be on the domestic market.
LESSONS FOR HOTELIERS WHILE INVESTING IN NEW PROJECTS AND RENOVATIONS OF EXISTING PROPERTIES
While investing in building and designing new properties, hoteliers should keep in mind areas and spaces which can be leased or rented rather than operated by themselves. This would not only help in saving costs and generating more revenue but will result in running operations more efficiently. At the same time, it would open more avenues for customer experience such as boutique shops, wellness areas, sports facilities and cafes.
Similarly, the role of technology should not be undermined. Properties should be tech-savvy with focus on high tech, low touch. Hotels must have more communication technology integrated into their operational systems and functional spaces. In the era of technological advancement, lack of space shouldn’t mean less efficiency. Businesses need to identify niche segments and focus on creating more value for customers.
The pandemic has disrupted the industry in a negative way. It is time now for the industry to bring in disruption and transformation in positive ways. An image makeover for one is desperately called for. Becoming less insular and providing for cross migration of talent between other service sectors with strong adjacencies with regards to customer-centricity and the requirement of soft skills is another. Finally, strong investments in technology enablement and upskilling, which will go a long way in growth of the industry and the workforce.
This article was published in BW hotelier issue dated '' with cover story titled 'INVESTMENT SPECIAL ISSUE VOL 7, ISSUE 6'
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