The (Green) Recovery Imperative: Hospitality Re-Set Or Bouncing Forward?
— 15 experts shared their view
COVID-19 has exposed many of the weaknesses in our industry in terms of risk and hazard management, contingency, and resiliency plans but also in the way we blindly deal with our environment. Crises, as damaging as they may be, trigger opportunities in product, service, and systems innovations. Investing now in climate resilience is an enormous economic opportunity as governments and the industry are looking into economic recovery. From clean energy to carbon-neutral buildings and from farm to fork strategy, the hospitality industry has the unique opportunity to be at the core of this transition, helping to shape the transformation and leading to a new, sustainable post-COVID-19 normal. So is the industry ready and willing to bounce forward into a green recovery or rather bounce back to the pre-COVID-19 norm? What components and resources are necessary and how do we go about activating a 'green recovery' in hospitality?
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.