Tomorrow's Hospitality A-Z – Navigating the future

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Read time: 6 minutes

We interviewed Arnaud De Saint-Exupery (Area VP & GM Hyatt, UK & Ireland) and Mario Flanagan (GM Andaz London Liverpool St). Participants' responses have been consolidated and edited for length.

What do you think have been the biggest changes in the hospitality sector in the last five years, apart from COVID-19?

Despite the lingering effects of COVID-19, 2022 was a better year for Hyatt hotels than 2019!

Labor: Finding the right people has been tremendously hard, made worse by Brexit. There has had to be a big focus on training staff and developing the talents of the next generation. It takes time to build the right team, and having the right people in place significantly increases customer satisfaction. Productivity of the team is also paramount and we are trying to mentor our teams to change their way of doing things. Good customer service is what drives additional revenue opportunities and adds more value to the stay, meaning that guests are more likely to return.

Technology: The evolution of technology has meant that hotels can be more flexible in how they do things and allows hotels to connect to new audiences as well as guests staying in the hotel. Although technology is improving every day, the general consensus is that technology cannot replace people and the human touch – robots may work in Japan, but using robots to replace staff is unlikely to happen outside of Japan. Although technology can significantly help the budget hotel chains, luxury hotels will always need human interaction – as service can make or break a stay.

Bleisure: The “bleisure” (part business travel, part leisure travel) mindset is here to stay and more and more people are combining work trips with extended vacation before, during or after the work event, with big hotels reaping the rewards of this new trend. As jobs lean into hybrid and remote work, the lines between work and life — and business and personal travel — continue to blur. Workers engaging in bleisure travel want the ability to get out of their rooms but still have access to Wi-Fi to relax or get work done. Savvy hospitality businesses are transforming these guest desires into stylish semi-public spaces where guests can engage tech on their terms.

Brexit: Brexit certainly affected the UK industry, not just in terms of workers, but also the supply chain of products, as hotels can no longer get the products they have relied on for so long. The whole industry has had to become more flexible and less demanding in their needs and specifications.

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