Reopen Strong & Smart – Lay Your Table
Before we reopen and hustle, lets’ acknowledge some facts.
- The pandemic and COVID has well and truly affected and changed the world forever. Hotels, restaurants and the tourism & hospitality industry have suffered exponentially.
- People, professionals, individuals and businesses have lost business and been challenged beyond any challenge ever faced globally in our lifetime.
- Focused and committed business owners/managers and entrepreneurs are strong, resilient humans.
- The hospitality industry is one of the strongest and resilient there is.
- This sector will rise like a phoenix once again as it did from our last recession.
They are the facts, now it is time to consider a real call to action and for the industry to take a moment to assess their plan of action as you rally to reopen strong.
Avoid a potential war – a price war
Price wars were a key characteristic of the recession over 10 years ago. Did they damage the sector? Think about this and remember what it was actually like back then.
At times, it did become a hard core and ugly price war and it did affect and damage properties and eateries individually and as groups. It became a race to the bottom and that is never beneficial for sustainable business.
If we reopen with a focus on “lets’ grab as much revenue as we can” then we lose sight of the bigger picture and the longer game.
As a business owner, I know we need to run a business and make money, absolutely. However, we owe it to ourselves to park any idea of a short fix, it must be about the longer game, that will win the race in reopening.
This industry is one I have worked and trained in. It is one I am passionate about and I respect completely. I fear anything that may damage it, a price war will, I know the damage it can do and what can be lost or left on the table.
If the hotels and restaurants engage in a price war, then it will set you apart for the wrong reasons; you will lose loyal customers, brands will be damaged and your reputation may be beyond repair.
I have already heard whisperings of this on the ground where the private individual just cannot justify paying some of the rates being offered over the coming months. That is sad, the sector has most definitely suffered as a result of lockdown but so too has the private individual, your customer.
Aren’t we all private individuals and customers as much as we are business professionals? Right now, there must be zero room for greed. It should not be a race to the top or indeed a race to the bottom. There needs to be value and balance wherever possible.
As a sector, maintaining perspective (challenging as that may be after what has been endured in the last 12+ months) and reopening with smart strategy and care must be front and centre.
Exercise Resilience today
I respect and believe in the power of exercising resilience. It is not always easy to stay resilient in challenging time.
Resilience sets you apart. Resilience sets every business part. Resilience sets every sporting individual/team apart. It sets professional teams and departments apart.
It sets the hotel, restaurant, hospitality and tourism sector apart. It sets those professionals who work in the sector apart.
This sector asks so much of us as individuals, as an industry and as professionals. Remember, this sector as a whole is one of those that has helped our economy to rise up after past challenges and it will do so again. The sector has fight in its’ belly.
At the centre of resilience is how we respond to challenge. It is how we react and act now that will really count, do not underestimate this.
Resilience is something that sector leaders now need to empower and inspire from their management team, heads of department and front facing staff on the floor. To do this successfully, the leadership needs to be sprinkled with reassurance.
Remember, it is not just the guests and the customers that need reassurance right now, so too do our teams and our people.
Right now, resilience may represent having to change the “how to” of how we deliver our services.
Speaking to those in the sector I know only too well how resilient some really have been since the pandemic hit. They started to assess and regroup immediately at the onset of the first lockdown. For this sector, change has included all elements of operations, sales, marketing, and all the pieces in between, the whole shebang.
Change is not easy but it is necessary to move forward. Staying on course now and working in a new way is now a fact of life and a fact of the sector.
Again, I want to reiterate that it is not always easy to stay resilient in challenging times.
All said, we have a very strong, a titanium calibre sector, full of professionals who are passionate and dedicated to their team and to their craft. With that strength we can and need to push through and keep that strength going while supporting our teams and our people practically to stay strong and positive.
Retention & harness talent for progress
Every property, every business and organisation is a sum of the people in it. Employees have had to deal with upheavel and uncertainty.
Now more than ever looking after your loyal staff is imperative, harnessing their potential can only help you up the ante and have a successful reopening.
Retention of skilled professionals is not always easy. Attracting talented and experienced people who are really switched on and interested in the sector is not easy either.
The key now is positive engagement, clarified communication and consistent support to help them do their job to the best of their ability. Part of this is equipping them with the correct training and tool kit to show that support which will help them reopen and return with ease and peace of mind.
Let your team know you support them, invite contribution and suggestions, be open and available to them.
Training is always of value. There is a saying; “If we are not reminded, we forget “. Training reminds us what we need to remember.
The USP going forward for the sector remains as it always has been; how you make your customers and guests feel, how you treat them. This is a USP now more than ever. Key to this is customer service excellence.
According to a PWC survey; “9 out of 10 businesses compete mainly on customer experience, it’s the organizations that take customer experience seriously that will stand out from the noise and win loyal customers over.”
Unfortunately, customer service does not come naturally to everyone, we all get exhausted on the floor, on the phone, online, offline and putting on the smile every day. However, this is the hospitality, hotel and restaurant sector and there is a reasonable expectation from the customer that we will be hospitable and look after you when you book, arrive, dine, drink or stay.
To support your staff retention, harness the right potential in your people and support your team, training on the key disciplines and skills necessary in the roles they play is always of value.
You may discover untapped potential and ability that you did not realise was there. I have yet to deliver a training programme where the training was not valued and where new talent was not uncovered. Training however is only the start. For training to really benefit your staff and your business it must be consistent and managed after the fact.
Coupled with the benefits it will bring to you and your team, training will arm your staff with the knowledge and skillset they need to excel. Ultimately, this all helps your business to generate a healthy return on investment when embraced and defined as a key part of your ethos and your culture.
Now is a time to reopen strong, prepare simply and smart, engage with loyal customers, reassure and assure staff and customers alike and engage the full potential of your team with the tools and training that will support them, you and the business to drive on, overcome and rebuild sustainable business for the long game.
Heres’ to a strong and positive reopening. Stay resilient, stay supportive and stay connected.
Yours in business,
Mags Boland Murphy
CEO & Founder at Bofin Consultancy.
Email: [email protected]