The future of the Hospitality Industry

“We will never know what the future brings, but we can bring ourselves as a better person to our future”

The above words are what we should need in these unpredictable times. Since the COVID-19 pandemic has got the world in its clutches, different sectors have faced unprecedented circumstances. Especially the hospitality industry was hit hard for the last two years when everything went in lockdown mode, people were confined to their homes and gathering outside or travelling was restricted. Today the scenario as I write this is improving gradually but still, the future is uncertain. Here are some things that the hospitality industry ought to be ready with to survive and thrive in these vicissitudes of our times.

  1. Be Proactive– Hospitality Industry has to come out of its comfort zone. It has to agree to change with the changing times. You cannot expect the same footfall in your hotel or travel business as it was during the pre-pandemic period. Today people are more cautious when making a choice to travel outside or eat So if people don’t prefer to come out and eat at your joint, make sure to reach them with food deliveries at the doorstep. If they don’t want to travel in a collective manner through a bus or an airplane then you may have to be ready to provide independent cabs or other means of travel. Being proactive is taking initiative and being ready to change. You cannot expect the world outside to change or wait for everything to be normal, you have to drive the change. The hospitality industry has to stop being the victim and work within its circle of influence to see the desired change.
  2. Creativeness – We have all heard of the cliché, “Necessity is the mother of invention,” but there is a truth to it. It is in these challenging times when faced with uncertainty that we have to rack our brains to come up with solutions to our challenges. Could you give one full room to your customer to dine in? Could you hire more such rooms? Could you take the orders online, or through an app specially developed by your hotel so that there is no person involved, and when the customer is at the table, the food is directly served? Could you go for ready served buffet lunch and dinners? Could you opt for robots for serving? Could you have ‘food on wheels’ that delivers food at doorsteps? Could you have driverless cars? Could your hotel space be rented out for corporate meetings, offices? We have to brainstorm ideas and try them out. You never know which next idea you come up with, maybe a jackpot idea. Be creative, go for brainstorming, come up with ideas that you would not have thought of before and try.
  3. Ask – Jesus Christ in the Bible says, “Ask and it will be given unto you.” Asking the stakeholders, in this case, the customers who frequently visit our hotels or take our service, is one of the very important things that the hospitality industry can do to stay relevant in these challenging times. How would you like your food to be served? How can we make you feel safe and comfortable? What new things can we introduce that would make you happy? What are your travelling preferences? How can we make it easier for you?

You could ask all the above questions to your customers. They will tell you what is the best way to serve them so that they come back again and again. Don‟t just assume things and try to push them down their throats. Be customer-centric, study them, ask them, be ready to change yourself as per their expectation, that’s how you keep your industry alive and kicking.

  1. Bottom-up Leadership – The organizations that survive and thrive during challenging times are those that adopt the Bottom-up Leadership style. Bottom-up leadership is encouraging your people to lead without a title. A person could be just a janitor as far as his job profile is concerned but he may know the ground reality better than the ones who sit behind big titles and mahogany tables. You have to be willing to give up the traditional top-down approach to leadership. You will be thankful especially in tough times when you trust your people to come up with the solutions to the challenges in your organization. People will feel more meaningful in their work when they know that they are contributing to the higher purpose of the organization. When they own up a problem and are allowed to experiment and make mistakes, you will find that they will do the unthinkable. In the service sector, as it is in the hospitality industry, much of the ground staff is in direct contact with the customer. It will gauge and understand the needs and wants of the customers better than the management. You have to look for people who could be developed as leaders at the bottom. You have to give them authority to make decisions. Hospitality Industry has to do some catching in this area that could serve it well in surviving the tough times.

Conclusion: Einstein said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.” Unprecedented times, call for unprecedented measures. Hospitality Industry is being forced out of its comfort zone due to the challenges of the modern world and the pandemic. The industry has to take the bet and step out of its comfort zone. Heed to what Marianne Williamson said, “The miracle often lies outside our comfort zone.”

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