Hospitality industry leadership during a global crisis

April 6, 2020

During a time of global crisis that drastically affects the hospitality industry, continuing to be a leader in the space remains to be important. Right now, in 2020, we are experiencing historically unprecedented disruption in the hospitality industry and beyond it, with many factors that affect businesses remaining undefined. Yet in such times, the mandate of all hospitality businesses still stands – a focus on service, creating a sense of welcome, and continuing to nurture long-term relationships with guests.

In the middle of a global crisis, what are some things to keep in mind to help hospitality industry businesses emphasize strong leadership to support that mandate? Here are three pillars to consider when navigating through difficult and uncertain periods when the normal parameters of the business, and the lives of guests, are disrupted.

Keep a guest-first attitude

Even though the usual conditions under which the business operates aren’t in place, that key mission of all hotels and restaurants are in place; to take care of guests and their concerns. This can take many forms, and a lot of the time it depends on how long a crisis has lasted and at what point in that spectrum everyone is in. But for those who are still hosting guests, reassuring them of the measures in place to keep them safe and healthy is paramount to continuing to lead during periods of uncertainty. This isn’t just a business measure of course. But it has a long-lasting effect on how a business will be perceived later on, even after the crisis has passed.

Another aspect of this is being as flexible as possible when it comes to things like cancellation policies and other benefits to existing guests. Sometimes, these can hurt in the short term, but will be important to preserving long-term good will and loyalty when it comes time to talk about recovery.

Maintain great communications with internal teams

Great communications are the hallmark of great leadership whether there is a global crisis going on or not. But during a time of disruption, there is a particular value to making sure that teams in all positions in a hospitality organization feel connected, and also feel that their states of mind are being considered throughout a troubling time.

This means getting teams together and creating a communication plan that strikes the right tone as much as it is comprehensive on a business level. Being straightforward and logical in response to the facts is the best starting point. Incorporating a wide variety of people to help inform that plan on various teams – marketing, IT, revenue management, operations, and certainly HR – helps to make sure that communications are clear and unified, and also helps to create a sense of cohesion for the business going forward, too.

Foster a sense of calm

As hospitality industry leaders, creating an atmosphere in which everyone involved – staff and guests alike – can feel that things are under control is critical to success. Maintaining that sense of calm is fed by some of the factors talked about above; making sure guests feel safe and that their needs are the number one priority, and that there is a clear and agreed-upon communication plan and strategy across the business.

From there, that calm atmosphere that is informed by a sense of empathy is best achieved from the top down, with frequent updates as events unfold to keep everyone connected and accurately updated. When leadership presents a united front and a measure of control, that inspires teams to do their best work under the worst conditions of a global crisis.

Weathering the storm together

Great communications and leadership extend to the healthy relationships with technology partners as well. Maintaining these lines of communication during a tough time with the experts who understand the capabilities of their technology solutions under all conditions can lend important perspective on how to weather the storm of a global crisis.

Seeing how those partners and their solutions support the success of the business can help to inspire that vital sense of calm that leaders can take with them as events continue to unfold. And they can be helpful in creating a new vision for a hospitality business when the storm is over.

If you’re a hospitality leader who is seeking resources on the current crisis, here’s a select list of articles from some respected industry publications that we at Infor hope will help:

For Infor’s response to our current global crisis, click here.

Be safe, and stay healthy, everyone.

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  • Trends
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  • Hospitality
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  • Worldwide
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