No-one that I know underestimates the trauma that hospitality is experiencing today. Tough decisions are being made and multiple jobs are being lost. Even in ‘normal’ circumstances positions are made redundant from time to time, but now there is devastation all around. When a hardworking, successful person loses their job I have rarely worried for their long-term options. Opportunities for good people were relatively easy to find. However, it is a different story in 2020.
I have had numerous conversations with colleagues, peers and industry leaders regarding quick decisions that have been taken (often by those purely looking at the payroll costs) resulting in long term repercussions, and long-term damage.
For example, as CEO of HOSPA, it was easily apparent which companies had furloughed their marketing personnel during Spring / Summer 2020, as their subsequent messaging was often poorly managed. Communicating re-opening plans and publicising COVID responses was key to ensuring that, what little demand there was, was being captured.
Too many hotels fell into the trap of failing to shout about all their hard work to their potential guests, with this silence, or at least poorly communicated messages, having a knock-on effect that further impacted margins. Whilst I fully appreciate there’s not enough cash in the bank to retain all the talent in the teams, there are certain roles that seem to be more obvious than others to keep investing in.
Those would include anyone with responsibility for managing pricing and maintaining the integrity of the brand whilst spotting, then maximising, every opportunity.
It is all too easy to assume that, for example, a senior revenue manager is not ‘necessary’ whilst demand is low. However, the commercial awareness and the ability to take a holistic approach, to see the bigger picture and weigh up the pros and cons of each decision is absolutely vital.
It is often easy to overlook all the varying tasks that a commercial manager manages. Getting distribution right is a skill that requires an analytical brain and experience. And, dare I say it? In this digital era, distribution is probably a more effective route to accumulate guest reservations than a sales person. But that’s not to say that we don’t need sales people too!
Of course, hotels are under enormous pressure with many heart-breaking decisions having to be taken. But it’s important not to make any knee-jerk reactions without digging a little deeper. It’s worth looking beyond the immediate job title and seeing what else they bring to the team. Losing an insightful, incisive mind from a business can lead to unexpected implications further on. I know no one is taking these decisions lightly, but it pays to look at them from all angles, before making the final choice. Once you lose someone who’s integral to your business, it’s very hard to replace them – even if current job losses are seemingly making a wealth of talent available.