Hospitality industry is 10% of global GDP, one of the largest employment sectors. How has hospitality industry changed or is changing is a hot topic among think tanks, hospitality schools and industry professionals.
In a recent discussion on the topic of Hospitality Basics I was asked about how hospitality industry has changed. Below are some highlights:
Titles - new titles have emerged, and most hotel chains have dedicated departments focusing on - Social media, Guest Experience, Technology & Information Resources, Social Responsibility & Sustainability, Competitive Intelligence & Insight etc...
Technology - has allowed hotel operators access to realtime information, improved efficiencies and globalization to manage call centres, customer loyalty, competition, prices, policies, products, reservations, sales etc...
Design - Lavish buildings, design, fixtures are no longer a deciding factor for hotel customers. Future customers will be more concerned with the actual experience your brand provides and how well it resonates with their personal needs, and their image. Experiences packaged in tech savvy hotels, clean rooms and cool restaurants will drive business and loyalty. Hotels will need to deliver meaningful and shareable millennial relevant content during their stay, regardless of the nature of the stay – business, vacation, honeymoon, getaway….
- Hospitality has stayed the same, hospitality industry has evolved There is continuous and progressive change within our industry. Technology has redefined the service execution. What we do is the same (hospitality), how we do it has changed (delivery). Warm hospitable service, clean room and great food are still relevant. Front desk, lobbies and hotel rooms have changed to be relevant to changing customer dynamics. Free wifi was never an issue, it simply didn’t exist. Now free wifi is a key driver for customers.
- Regardless of the brand or the category, service is still the king I feel, the more things change the more they gravitate towards the basics. A luxury high-end life style boutique hotel will struggle to drive business if they fail on brand promise of service delivery. Over the years I have seen many new and high-end hotels struggle, till they fixed their service. I have also seen many old hotels leading their markets due to their high level of consistent customer focus and service
- Luxury is not a service A great lobby, marble floors, and crystal chandeliers will fall short if the arrival experience is not good or your room is dirty. A trendy restaurant will not have loyalty, if food is inconsistent or not executed properly. Lasting memorable experience are emotional, we need to connect with our customers at an emotional level through service excellence, and enhance it with touch points during their entire stay.
Assess current situation, look into future, embrace paradigm shift for improved business model. Be nimble...its fast eat the slow world. Focus on relevance, execution and sustainability. Table manners are still appreciated, clean room is still desirable and good food still makes you feel good.
Asim H Ibrahim is the CEO of Lakeshore Hospitality Group, a consulting firm with roots in customer service and hospitality sector. You can find him on Twitter @LakeshoreHGroup, connect with him Asim Linkedin, reach him at Lakeshore Hospitality Group