Uncertainty can be the window to opportunity
KB Kachru, Chairman Emeritus & Principal Advisor, South Asia, Radisson Hotel Group, talks about future trends of hospitality business model
Every business needs to concern itself with recruiting — whether to fill a vacancy, staff a new position or plan for succession of management. The current technological revolution need not become a race between humans and machines but rather an opportunity for work to truly become a channel through which people recognise their full potential. To ensure that we achieve this vision, we must become more specific and much faster in understanding the changes underway and cognisant of our collective responsibility to lead the businesses and communities through this transformative moment.
Communication: Having good leadership skills is not strictly about supervising or managing others. Instead, it is about communicating your strategy and vision while encouraging others and embracing feedback from colleagues.
Flexibility: Embracing the reality of present and being open to new ideas is essential. Being flexible and adaptable is something we’ve all had to get used to over the last 18 months. While being flexible at work was once aligned with physical mobility, it is now about having an open mindset, being able to work well under pressure, adjusting to new and unexpected deadlines.
Empathy: Today, it is important for leaders to understand that Covid19 has left people in a state of long period of isolation and fatigue. It is important to be cognisant of the long-term impact of the pandemic. Sensitivity and emotional intelligence helped us cultivate meaningful relationships with our colleagues and community at large.
Innovation: Much ahead of the pandemic, there was a growing demand for digital skills and myriad of technological innovations across business segments. The pandemic accelerated the process. Leveraging technology and building a strong digital presence became crucial aspects of decision-making. We opened many ancillary revenue verticals for our business like Meetha, Take Home A Chef and takeaways in partnership with Eazydiner. These innovations were delivered with top speed and quality which helped our business take advantage of the new opportunities.
Developing team culture: Developing a culture where every individual can build and innovate is another facet worth recognising. At Radisson Hotel Group, empathy, transparency, and our signature ‘Yes I Can!’ spirit is what drives every team member to strive for excellence.
FUTURE TRENDS OF HOSPITALITY BUSINESS MODEL
Uncertainty can also be the window to opportunity if we focus our energies on developing innovative, long-term, sustainable growth strategies. The way the hospitality industry has stood tall and serviced the community in the wake of every crisis, especially Covid19, is truly amazing. It is this representation and fulfilment of humanity that will always keep the hospitality industry going. The pandemic has given us an opportunity to reflect on areas in which India has a huge potential.
EMERGENCE OF NEW TRAVEL TRENDS
Domestic hotels are getting a boost with ‘workcations’ becoming a new trend. Tourists are going for more local and domestic (and less explored) destinations and walking and cycling clubs are becoming prominent in tourist cities. The rise of domestic tourism since the onset of Covid19 has remained a strong business aggregator for the industry. Leveraging and propagating the benefits of India’s natural environment, its wellness system, naturopathy, Ayurveda, the practice of yoga, meditation and promoting Indian traditional cuisine, will continue to be an asset in this journey towards recovery in the second half of 2021.
LEISURE TRAVEL LEADING COMEBACK
Leisure travel will continue leading industry towards recovery but what will solidify this trend is embedding consumer trust by consistently assuring reliability in terms of safety and hygiene. As guest behaviours and needs evolve and bring permanent changes to business environments, we must be prepared to exceed their expectations.
MID-SCALE, LUXURY HOTELS’ DEMAND FOR WEDDINGS
With the curb on social gatherings, Indian weddings have become leaner. This has led people to opt for trusted names in the hospitality sector within India. Many of these events were earlier supposed to be held at international locations. Given the threat of Covid-19, guests don’t want to travel to overcrowded places. Travel will become more individualised, and personalisation will remain the most important way to deliver delight, even long after the pandemic is behind us. Moving ahead, technology will be a concrete and fundamental solution to achieve the goal of attaining contactless hospitality. Sustainable practices, paired with viable commercial strategies, will be the strongest pillars that hold the industry above waters during these times.
MARKET RECOVERY AND HOTELS REINVENTING THEMSELVES
The hospitality industry has displayed great resilience and optimism to overcome unprecedented challenges brought by the Covid19 outbreak. Although the industry was adversely impacted by the imposition of the lockdown, hotels are now prepared to host their guests once again by transforming the hospitality landscape to meet with the ever-changing consumer trends and expectations.
Hotels are investing in enhancing their preparedness through advanced technological solutions, refined skill set, and a safety focused approach to meet the current need of the customer. While our staff continue to operate post being fully vaccinated, we also need to ensure that guests are abiding by safety guidelines. Implementing workplace protocols to enhance hotel hygiene will play a crucial role in the new normal. Multiple hotel chains have significantly invested in collaterals to communicate with their guests at every touch point right from arrival, to dining, to even the rooms. Hoteliers are also mandating digital display screens across the hotel premises to ensure that visitors are adhering to the safety and social distancing guidelines.
INVESTMENT IN NEW PROJECTS AND RENOVATION OF EXISTING PROPERTIES
I feel a long-term view needs to be taken where investments are strictly driven by ROI. Renovations will have to be done to meet guest expectations and changing consumer choices. Being a hotel management company, we pursue an asset-light model with a significant portion of our portfolio is managed directly by us. We have a robust operations strategy as a part of our India Unification Plan (IUP) as well as globally, but we remain open for selective franchising.
As a brand, we deem it key that we continue to remain flexible and adopt different strategies across the globe – as and when we see opportunity. This, coupled with the adoption of the right technology to facilitate smooth operations as well as health and safety, will hold hotels in good stead.
This article was published in BW hotelier issue dated '' with cover story titled 'INVESTMENT SPECIAL ISSUE VOL 7, ISSUE 6'
Around The World