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HOSP1001: Orientation to the Hospitality Industry (Buckley): Industry Trends
According to HCareers CEO Ron Mitchell, African Americans are 20 percent more likely to have an interest in working in the industry and Latinos, 10 percent more likely. “It’s an organizational imperative for hospitality to embrace diversity,” he said, speaking on the panel Redefining Today’s Hospitality Workforce and Cultivating Tomorrow’s Team. “In hospitality, guests want diversity in their experience and we’re a service industry. The hospitality businesses that are the first to deliver on that demand will make a lot of money.”
Is a pledge to provide hotel employees across the U.S. with employee safety devices (ESD’s) and commit to enhanced policies, trainings and resources that together are aimed at enhancing hotel safety, including preventing and responding to sexual harassment and assault. This pledge – issued in partnership with various major hotel brands – is in place to encourage the health and safety of a hotel’s employees, heighten morale and decrease the occurrence of potentially dangerous situations.
ESDs empower hotel staff to immediately (and discreetly) signal for help using a small, hand-held device that utilizes Bluetooth technology. Using these modern hotel panic buttons, hoteliers can pinpoint the location of a distress call down to the specific floor and room number. If the staff member in distress moves throughout the property, the safety platform will track them as they move, providing updated room information in real time.
ESDs allow for customized configuration to a hotel’s existing technology, ensuring easy and seamless integration.
Preventing human trafficking
Hotels are often used by human traffickers to exploit their victims because they are a convenient location to set up encounters between victims and buyers. If staff do not know what to look for, human trafficking can flourish undetected, because of the continuous flow of new guests. But when hotel staff are trained to recognize the warning signs of human trafficking, they can become advocates for victims, and learn how to report suspected trafficking incidents.
Employees who work directly with guests are in a unique position to be able to spot a human trafficking situation before hotel security or law enforcement are aware of it. Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking (BEST) offers hotels a convenient, 30-minute, video-based human trafficking awareness training that can be taken either as a large group or individually online.
A study conducted at the University of Washington found that before training only eight percent of hotel employee participants had ever identified a case of human trafficking. Shortly after taking BEST’s training 44 percent of the participants stated they had now identified a case of trafficking at their hotel. The same study found that 96 percent of hotel employees believed BEST’s training made their hotel safer.
While market conditions are generally expected to remain strong in 2019, significant challenges capable of throwing the U.S. travel industry off its growth trajectory loom on the horizon. These challenged include:
Increased competition in the international travel segment, with popular destinations like New York competing with a crop of rising stars such as Portugal and Vietnam.
A growing need for infrastructure investment, with airports, parks and recreation, rail, ports, roads, and transit requiring some of the biggest improvements.
Pressure to improve security, particularly at airports, while absorbing growing travel demand and creating a more seamless experience.
Profit margins threatened by expenses, as increasing operating costs such as fuel, labor, and real estate put travel brands under immense pressure.
Labor shortages, due to rapid industry growth and an evolving workforce.
The possibility of softening demand if there is a broader economic slowdown.
According to Diana Verde Nieto, co-founder and CEO of Positive Luxury, “Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues, and expect brands to not only manage their impact but communicate it.”
Let’s look at a few facts about this generation:
55% of global travelers say that they are more determined than ever to choose sustainable accommodation than they were last year — but lack of appealing options makes it difficult to put this into practice.
87% of millennials believe that the success of a business should be measured by its impact on the world.
Millennials have a hard time trusting businesses. They used to think 61% of businesses in the world had a positive impact on society — now, only a year later, only 55% of them do. And that number is projected to keep falling unless hospitality (and other industries) prove that they’re interested in more than just the bottom line.
The United Nations has pushed issues of sustainability to the forefront of public awareness, and conscientious Millennials and Generation Z travelers, in particular, expect global hospitality businesses to take a more comprehensive approach to corporate social responsibility.
Transparency and accountability are becoming more important as travelers want to know the impact of their footprint – not only environmentally, but socially as well. Sustainable and socially responsible strategies now range from the reduction of single-use plastics to the development of social business concepts and the shift towards a circular economy, in which resources are recycled and regenerated, rather than used once and disposed of.
Andrew Hazelton, managing director of Aethos’ office in Philadelphia, continued, “As for the restaurant industry, specifically the quick-service restaurant segment (QSR), this sector will continue to focus time, energy and money into technology, marketing and loyalty programs. Over the last few years, companies such as Starbucks have led the push for further leveraging mobile technology and developing a ‘true’ loyalty program. Others will have to continue to follow.”
Thanks to new technology, hospitality businesses can provide guests with greater customization, convenience and control. Technology is also transforming the way customers interact with brands – even before and after their stay.
Chatbots, robots and other forms of artificial intelligence provide users with on-demand information and personalized recommendations.
Facial recognition technology is opening doors (sometimes literally) to timesaving services, while smart hotel rooms equipped with Internet of Things connectivity allow guests to customize their experience with an app or their voice.
Loyalty programs based on blockchain and cryptocurrency are creating interesting new opportunities for brands to engage with customers.
While these examples provide a glimpse of current and future applications of technology to the guest experience, many are still in their early stages, with the potential to change the industry in ways we have yet to imagine.
We often plan events locally, but the hospitality industry needs to start thinking internationally.
Global hotel studies say the industry is expected to see a significant increase in the market need for up-and-coming tourism destinations that previous generations of travelers hadn’t even considered (like Central & South America and Canada).
Demand for international travel is flourishing thanks to low unemployment rates and post-recession spending, causing top airlines like American Airlines to add more direct flights routes to foreign countries. The airline added a direct flight from Newark to Cape Town this year, with plans to expand even further in the future.
Economists say businesses (in any industry) just can’t afford to ignore the effects of globalization — and that having both localized management teams and a centralized oversight hub will likely be the key to sustaining rapid international expansion in the coming years.
Events and meetings no longer have to be local — international venues are hungry for more group sales, and attendees are more willing to travel than ever.
Properties in major cities will start expanding their comp sets overseas. Events that clung to first-tier cities like New York, L.A., Berlin, and Hong Kong in the past are now cozying up to new markets.