Resilience in Hospitality

Resilience in Hospitality

Putting resilience on the menu

The hospitality business has been around a long time. The earliest records of ‘hotels’ charging for overnight accommodation are lost in the mists of time – a ‘house of ill repute’ in pre-eruption Pompei and hostels in medieval Japan are among the first recorded examples.

During its long history, the industry has faced – and overcome – incredible adversity. Wars, economic recession, extreme weather – and that’s just the past hundred years or so. Each time, hotels, restaurants, pubs and cafes have adapted, reinvented and emerged stronger and more resilient.

Overcoming adversity

While it has some unique and unwelcome properties, the current Covid-19 situation can be seen as just another episode in a continuing tale of overcoming adversity.

Even before Covid, the hospitality industry was already busy re-inventing itself to overcome the challenges and fully exploit the opportunities that technology presents. Online booking, driven by customer reviews, constantly rising guest expectations on everything from connectivity to service standards – the HORECA sector has embraced it all and added innovation as ‘dish of the day’ on its menus.

Innovation as a response

The response to Covid-19 has followed in those footsteps. Faced with constantly changing and often illogical regulations and restrictions, travel bans, an unprecedented collapse in bookings and understandably nervous and confused guests, huge strides have been taken towards providing a safe, reassuring guest experience that meets all regulatory demands.

Reception processes, cleaning regimes, highly visible hand washing, strict mask policies, social distancing and of course, well-trained and understanding staff have all helped to keep the hospitality industry’s service ethos alive and well. Room, table and seating plans have been re-organised. Table service has been introduced where it traditionally never existed. Innovative use is being made of smartphone technologies for bookings and ordering.

Staycations offer a silver lining

And while the end of the Covid-19 journey may not yet be clearly in sight, there are signs of spring shoots already appearing – with international holidays hit hard by travel bans, the “Staycation” concept goes from strength to strength, with many UK families re-discovering the enormous variety of delights that Britain and its hospitality industry offers. With a long, tough year behind us, many people desperately need a break.

The industry’s highly creative marketing people are already on that case and the extraordinary positivity, resilience and professionalism of the best front-line hospitality staff will once again help them to stand up and be counted, ready for whatever the next challenge that’s thrown at them may be.