How hotels should embrace change in 2021 and beyond
Regitse Cecillie Rosenvinge, hospitality consultant and founder of Room22.agency, shares three ideas for hoteliers to embrace change.
Humans aren't fond of change - it's deeply integrated in our DNA that we prefer the safe and known. But this year has promoted the exact opposite. The coronavirus has forced us to meet 'the new normal' and although we might not like it, we must embrace it in order to survive. And we can. After all, that's what we humans are best at; adapting to survive.
In the hospitality industry, Covid-19 has caused millions of closed businesses, people being fired or furloughed, and a growing feeling of despair. But is there really nothing we can do? No ways to stay on track to get through this pandemic?
Of course there is.
First of all, we must believe in the future. People will start traveling again, hotels will open their doors again. Although a full recovery will take years, we can adjust to this 'new normal' instead of mourning the past. Yes, it's sad that the world of hospitality as we knew it is gone - but another world emerges out of all this. And it's up to you to catch the opportunities of tomorrow instead of staying blind in the present.
So let's dig into the concept of change management and how you as a hotelier can embrace it successfully.
It all begins with an open mind.
The concept of change management addresses the people side of change. In its purest form, it's about bringing your team to a desired place - in a safe and caring way. Ultimately, the concept focuses on how to assist employees embrace, adapt and utilise a change (or several changes) in their day-to-day work. In other words, change management is exactly what your hotel needs during these hectic times. Without people, there wouldn't be hotels - and I'd like to think it stays that way in the future.
According to the company Prosci that provides change management solutions, there are three main phases in the change management process:
• Preparing for change
• Managing change
• Reinforcing change
Modern leaders, also in hospitality, must be ready to adapt and above all, be ready to embrace change. The current pandemic is a splendid example of that.
Here are my seven ideas for hoteliers to embrace change:
1. Optimise your team
By now, most hotels have cut a great amount of employees and even entire departments in some cases. This means the hotel structure as such has changed dramatically in less than a year. The existing employees are handling tasks they're not used to (general manager's are now responsible for F&B and front desk staff have been asked to take care of social media etc). Although it can be a messy situation, it's also a great chance for the current employees to get a thorough look inside the machinery and truly get to know the brand they're working for. Optimising your team also means dressing them for success. Make sure they're prepared and feel comfortable in the daily operations. You might have to focus on fewer people, but don't compromise on quality.
2. Work with freelancers and agencies
Many hotels have been forced to let their marketing managers go - some have even removed their entire marketing departments. Remember, though, that marketing and communication is extremely valuable moving forward, so whatever you do, make sure not to neglect this. Working with a freelancer or an agency on your social media channels or email marketing is a great and cost efficient way to stay on track without having to train someone for a fixed position. An outside perspective of your brand might also be valuable at this moment in time.