World Panel
Viewpoint31 August 2020

The (Green) Recovery Imperative: Hospitality Re-Set Or Bouncing Forward?

Sustainability in Hospitality

— 15 experts shared their view

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This viewpoint was created by
Willy Legrand, Professor of Hospitality Management at the IUBH International University
Sam Laakkonen
Contingent Managing Director - Sustainability at Techstars

I think there needs to be, and hopefully, there will be, a shift in thinking. Sustainability is often associated with additional costs. This is however often not the case and models that embrace sustainability also provide cost savings to businesses. I have in earlier panel answers talked about technology and in particular the power of data, and I think data will be one of the key components for activating “green recovery in hospitality”.

Most businesses already possess massive data sets on everything ranging from energy consumption to customer records. This data is however still very under-utilized. According to Harvard Business Review (What's Your Data Strategy 2017 — Leandro DalleMule and Thomas H. Davenport), “Cross-industry studies show that on average, less than half of an organization's structured data is actively used in making decisions — and less than 1% of its unstructured data is analyzed or used at all”.

This, in my opinion, presents a significant opportunity for all industries, including hospitality. Building expertise and organizational competence in data science is not difficult, and can also be bought relatively inexpensively from third parties. Once data is analyzed and understood, it provides countless opportunities for operating model adjustments. It also provides opportunities for deploying the data to automatically adjust the ways business is done, by harnessing technologies like Machine Learning and AI.

I think the hospitality industry would find an investment in data money well spent, and in addition to providing a way to a more sustainable post-COVID world, it could also provide an opportunity for a more cost-effective post-COVID world.

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