How to Lure Back Marketing, Sales, and Revenue Talents to Hotels
10 October 2023
Once steeped in tradition, the hotel industry stands on the brink of transformative change. An urgent need to modernize technology has emerged, not merely as a nod to progress but as a strategic move to boost productivity and appeal to a younger, tech-savvy generation of professionals. Parallelly, the rise of the hybrid organizational model promises a fusion of in-house talent and external expertise, offering depth and adaptability to commercial operations.
As we chart this new course, it becomes clear that hospitality's future hinges on reimagining roles. By eliminating mundane tasks and embracing impactful, technology-driven roles, hotels can attract and retain the industry's best. Let's start with the challenges and see if we can find practical solutions.
It is the CEO's challenge to find the right people
CEOs in hotel companies have long been blessed with the privilege of leading teams composed of the industry's brightest minds. Marketing maestros, sales strategists, and revenue management ensured the hotels thrived, guests were delighted, and the bottom line always looked promising.
The pandemic, however, brought with it a wave of unprecedented challenges. For many hotel leaders, it meant making the painful decision to bid farewell to some of these invaluable team members, hoping to safeguard the business's future. As the world began its journey to recovery, a new hurdle emerged. CEOs find that refilling these integral roles is not as straightforward as before. The demand for hotel marketing, sales, and revenue management expertise has skyrocketed while the available talent pool has dwindled.
It's clear that merely waiting and hoping for the right individuals to come along won't suffice. The current landscape demands innovative thinking, a pivot in strategy, and a willingness to explore alternatives that may have once been overlooked. This blog post offers a window into this exploration, highlighting new avenues and approaches as leaders in hospitality strive to shape a resilient and thriving future for their businesses.
Managing Commercial Activities: Replacing Lost Expertise
Revenue is crucial for the long-term financial success of any hotel establishment. However, a gap has been created due to the recent departure of experienced professionals from many hotels' commercial roles. With fewer employees and less traditional expertise, hotel CEOs are facing a crossroads. Ensuring high productivity in commercial work becomes even more critical in this situation. How can hotels achieve this in the new normal? This section will explore innovative strategies and pathways to help hotels overcome these challenges.
Technology and Automation
Historically, the hotel industry has been a late adopter regarding technology adoption. Many establishments still operate on old legacy systems, which can hinder efficiency and prevent the realization of modern advantages. In today's environment, where the loss of experienced professionals is deeply felt, it's more critical than ever for hotels to revisit their tech infrastructure.
- Upgrading the Tech Stack: To navigate the complexities of modern hotel management, hotels need to invest in updating their technology stack. By moving away from outdated systems and embracing contemporary solutions, hotels can streamline their operations and access many features tailored to today's demands.
- The Power of the Right Tools: It's not just about having technology but the right technology. Solutions that are intuitive, adaptable, and aligned with a hotel's specific needs can simplify tasks significantly. This can ease the burden created by the loss of seasoned professionals.
- Simplified Technology Management: A cohesive, unified technology ecosystem can drastically reduce the complexities of tech management. Instead of juggling multiple, disjointed systems, hotels can benefit from integrated platforms that offer a seamless experience, making it easier for reduced staff to manage commercial activities effectively.
By embracing and investing in the right technological solutions, hotels can cope with the current challenges and thrive in the evolving landscape.
In an era where internal resources might be strained, looking externally can often provide the needed expertise to keep the hotel's commercial activities running smoothly.
- The Power of Third-Party Agencies: Specialized consultants with a vast breadth of experience across many clients offer an invaluable resource. With fresh perspectives, advanced techniques, and deep industry insights, these professionals can seamlessly integrate into the hotel's workflow. Whether it's marketing, sales, or revenue management, their proficiency ensures they can hit the ground running, delivering immediate value.
- Key Considerations When Outsourcing:
- Clear Job Descriptions and Expectations: Before onboarding an external agency or consultant, it's essential to provide a well-defined description of the job role and set clear expectations. This ensures that both parties have a mutual understanding of goals and responsibilities.
- Terms of Agreement: Drafting a comprehensive contract that delineates terms of service, duration, confidentiality clauses, and exit strategies is vital. It protects the hotel and the outsourced party and sets the groundwork for a productive relationship.
- Cost Implications: While outsourcing can bring expertise to the table, it's essential to understand the cost implications. Hotels must ensure that the investment aligns with their budgetary constraints and offers a return on investment.
- Inclusive Collaboration: Even if a function is outsourced, treating the external team as part of the larger hotel family is crucial. They should be granted access to all necessary information, tools, and resources, ensuring they can excel and contribute effectively to the hotel's success.
Outsourcing can be a robust mechanism to replenish lost expertise and enhance the hotel's commercial prowess when executed thoughtfully and strategically.
Training and Upskilling Current Staff
The untapped potential might lie within the hotel's existing workforce in an environment where expertise might dwindle. By focusing on the development of current staff, hotels can create a sustainable model for commercial management.
- Reevaluating the Tech Foundation: Before diving into training, it's pivotal for hotels to consider the tools and technologies at the disposal of their staff. Implementing a modern tech stack that reduces manual tasks, is user-friendly, and promotes productivity sets the stage for more effective training. By arming staff with tools designed for today's challenges, the training becomes more about optimizing usage than teaching outdated methods.
- Online Courses and Workshops: Once the foundation is set, numerous platforms offer specialized courses tailored for the hospitality industry. When curated correctly, such courses can empower staff with the skills and insights needed to fully leverage the new tech stack. This ensures teams are updated with the latest trends and best practices relevant to modern hotel management.
- Cultivating a Learning Environment: The importance of fostering an organizational culture where continuous learning is at the forefront cannot be overstated. Hotels build a resilient team ready to adapt to industry shifts by encouraging and rewarding proactive learning. Regular feedback sessions, internal workshops, and knowledge-sharing platforms can further complement this effort.
A word of caution, however: While training is invaluable, ensuring that the knowledge imparted aligns with the industry's future, not just its past, is essential. Hotels must be forward-thinking, preparing their teams for tomorrow's challenges, not just today's.
Embracing a Hybrid Model
In the dynamic landscape of today's hospitality industry, flexibility and adaptability are more crucial than ever. One effective solution that many hotels are leaning towards is a hybrid model – a symbiotic integration of in-house talent and external resources.
- Combining In-house Talent with External Resources: A hybrid model leverages the strengths of both worlds. The intrinsic knowledge and understanding of in-house staff complement external consultants' specialized expertise and fresh perspectives. This combination can offer a more comprehensive approach to managing commercial activities, filling gaps where necessary, and amplifying strengths.
- The Cornerstone: A Unified System: A unified system is non-negotiable to ensure that this blended model operates seamlessly. This system should centralize information, facilitate collaboration, and provide tools to in-house and external teams. A transparent platform ensures that knowledge is shared, tasks are coordinated, and everyone is on the same page.
- Knowledge Retention and Security: One inherent risk with external consultants is the potential loss of intellectual capital when transitioning out. To safeguard against this, the system above should also serve as a repository for knowledge. All information, strategy, or data-driven insight contributed by external resources should be documented and stored, ensuring longevity and continuity for the hotel.
- Setting Boundaries, Empowerment, and Authorization: A hybrid model demands a clear delineation of roles and responsibilities. While empowering in-house and external teams is essential, boundaries must be established to prevent overlaps or conflicts. Regular communication, clear guidelines, and well-defined scopes of work are pivotal. Additionally, the right authorization level ensures that decisions can be made swiftly without compromising the hotel's objectives or standards.
- Flexibility and Scalability: One of the inherent advantages of a hybrid model is its adaptability. Depending on the hotel's needs, they can scale the involvement of external resources up or down. This flexibility ensures that hotels can respond adeptly to changing circumstances, be it a surge in demand or a quieter period.
When structured thoughtfully, a hybrid approach can offer hotels the agility they need in today's ever-evolving landscape. By combining the depth of in-house expertise with the breadth of external resources and anchoring it all in a robust system, hotels can forge a path toward resilient and effective commercial management.
Potential Challenges and Solutions
While the strategies mentioned earlier offer promising avenues to replace lost expertise, they come with challenges. Awareness of these and proactively addressing them ensures a smoother transition and more effective commercial management.
Maintaining Brand Voice and Image
- Consistency with Internal Staff: Even with the most well-intentioned in-house efforts, there's a risk of diluting or misrepresenting the hotel's brand voice, especially when employees are stepping into unfamiliar roles. Hotels should invest in brand training, ensuring everyone understands and can communicate the brand's core values and messaging irrespective of their primary function.
- Consistency with External Agencies or Technology: External partners might not inherently align with the hotel's brand voice, although they are domain experts. It's essential to provide them with comprehensive brand guidelines and regularly review their output to ensure alignment. With technology, ensure that automated messages and interactions are updated periodically to stay true to the brand's ethos.
- Regular Checks and Feedback Loops: Set up periodic reviews and evaluations. This checks for brand consistency and provides opportunities for refinement based on feedback.
- Inevitability of Tech Investment: The digital age demands that hotels invest in technology. This holds regardless of whether they onboard full-time professionals or seek alternative solutions. Viewing this not as a cost but as an investment in the hotel's future is essential.
- Evaluating ROI of Technology: Modern technology can automate tasks that once required hours of manual labor. While there's an upfront cost associated with these tools, it's important to weigh this against the potential time-savings and increased productivity, especially when considering the opportunity cost of highly skilled professionals handling manual tasks.
- Tailored Solutions for Smaller Chains: Smaller hotel chains or independent hotels might feel the weight of tech investments more acutely. Exploring cost-effective solutions that cater specifically to their needs is crucial. This might include modular systems where they pay only for what they use or exploring partnerships with other small hotels to share resources and tech platforms.
By proactively addressing these challenges, hotels can ensure that their efforts to replace lost expertise result in sustained commercial success without compromising their brand integrity or financial health
The Future of Commercial Work in Hotels
Technology and human expertise guide the evolving hospitality landscape, leading to significant shifts in the vital commercial work in hotels.
- The Symbiosis of Tech and Talent: Future-forward hotels will prioritize integrating cutting-edge technology as a backup plan and a core strategy. A modern tech stack isn't merely about automation; it's a tool to attract and retain top talent. No seasoned professional wants to grapple with outdated systems or waste their expertise on tedious manual tasks. By presenting a tech-forward environment, hotels make a compelling proposition to potential recruits, showcasing an organization that values efficiency and innovation.
- Adaptability – The Ever-Present Mantra: The hospitality industry, known for its cyclical ups and downs, has adaptability woven into its fabric. As the world changes, the expectations and requirements of potential employees do too. The hotels that will thrive are those that listen, adapt, and evolve. Offering stimulating roles, competitive remuneration, and a conducive work environment becomes not just a strategy but a necessity.
- Quality over Quantity: With technology shouldering many mundane tasks, hotels can be more discerning in hiring. This doesn't necessarily mean reducing headcount but rather focusing on employing a team of highly skilled professionals who can drive results. The goal becomes about maximizing impact per employee. When technology boosts productivity, hotels offer more competitive salaries and benefits, thereby attracting the crème de la crème of the industry.
- A Holistic Vision: Integrating technology and human expertise isn't just about commercial activities; it's a holistic vision for the hotel's future. It's about enhancing guest experiences, optimizing operational efficiency, and creating a workplace in tune with the 21st century.
In summary, the hotels poised to lead in the future view technology not as a substitute but as a partner. These hotels will recognize the irreplaceable value of human expertise and use technology to augment, not replace, this expertise. By creating an environment where technology and talent thrive side by side, they set the stage for sustained success in an ever-evolving industry.
The hospitality industry stands at a pivotal crossroads. The challenges of the recent past have only emphasized the need for hotels to reevaluate and reinvent their approach, particularly in the realm of commercial work.
- Embracing Modern Technology: The first step in this reinvention is the decisive shift towards modern technology. This is not just about staying relevant; it's about setting the stage for future success. Hotels can dramatically increase their operational productivity by upgrading and integrating state-of-the-art systems. Furthermore, showcasing a tech-forward environment becomes a magnet for the younger generation – digital natives who expect and demand technology to be an integral part of their professional lives. For them, the appeal of working with a hotel isn't just its legacy or brand name; it's about how aligned the hotel is with the future.
- The Hybrid Advantage: The days of rigid organizational structures are waning. In its place, the hybrid model emerges as the frontrunner, blending the expertise of in-house talent with the specialized knowledge of external consultants. This isn't a compromise; it's a strategic advantage. By embracing this model, hotels can delve deeper into niche areas, ensuring that every facet of their commercial operations benefits from the best expertise available.
- Redefining Job Content: The key to retaining top talent in the industry isn't just about competitive salaries or career progression. It's about the content of their roles. Today's professionals seek roles that challenge, stimulate, and allow them to make an impact. By ensuring that their tasks are aligned with their expertise and passion and not bogged down by outdated technology or mundane manual tasks, hotels can ensure retention and a thriving, motivated workforce.
In essence, the future of commercial work in hotels isn't just about navigating challenges but about seizing opportunities. By modernizing, adapting, and focusing on creating value-driven roles, hotels can set themselves on a trajectory of sustained success, ready to face the future with confidence and innovation.