Small-business owners in the hospitality field continue to adapt and thrive by innovating their business and operating strategies. Companies of all types—from hotels to catering firms to meeting and event planners—aren’t just embracing scrappier, more cost-effective operating models designed to better keep up with sudden shifts in market demand. They’re also pioneering new ways to serve audiences with each passing day.
If you’re in the hospitality industry, you may be surprised at how effective a few simple, straightforward innovations can prove when it comes to helping your company successfully navigate today’s fast-changing landscape.
Reimagining the Future of Hotels
Hotels, conference centers and other properties are increasingly putting cleanliness and safety top of mind, as are customers. This means that there will be growing demand for more contactless venues that offer minimized experiences in shared spaces such as lobbies and conference rooms, as well as properties that leverage smart high-tech devices such as artificially intelligent kiosks, speakers, and computerized or app-based assistants.
More destinations will work hand-in-hand with city officials to introduce certification programs that denote venues which adhere to heightened health and safety standards. In addition, today’s most competitive properties won’t just make a point to individually sanitize and seal rooms before occupancy as well. They’ll also implement temperature checks, emergency response protocols and solutions and have on-site medical professionals. Properties will also need to continue to design spots where individuals gather (e.g. front desk or concierge areas) to space these areas out more, and provide patrons with indicators set at least six feet apart that note where to stand.
What's Next for Meetings and Events
Even in a digital age, face-to-face interaction remains an important way of facilitating business and building meaningful human connections, and real-world events won’t be going away anytime soon. But it’s also clear that with travel still difficult for many firms going forward, these gatherings will be increasingly digital in format and smaller and more local in scope. Hospitality providers will need to redesign meetings and events to play to limited-capacity crowds and distanced seating arrangements, as well as craft speaking, training and educational programs to emphasize more interaction and networking via online apps, software programs and videoconferencing solutions.
The future of hospitality—including hotels, entertainment and events—belongs to forward-thinking small-business owners and a host of new operating methods.
The hospitality industry will further aim to emphasize outdoor vs. indoor get-togethers, ranging from beach and waterfront activities to hikes or al fresco dining experiences. Because of this, event planners will increasingly look to partners and venues that can help them craft unique experiences based on signature hallmarks of properties and destinations. Smaller, more intimate experiences structured around the best that locations have to offer represent a growing source of opportunity for small-business operators. The more you can provide bite-sized, turnkey group programs and experiences that promote your surrounding locale, the more successful your business can be.
Catering to Tomorrow's Diners
While the future of catering isn’t all individually wrapped plates and personalized mugs full of premade cocktails, it does mean a growing shift towards these solutions, as well as single-use disposable silverware and drinkware items. At the same time, sustainability will also be top of mind for many guests, who’ll be looking for caterers to provide them with greener solutions as well.
The hospitality industry may also see a larger push towards open-air dining experiences, like food service solutions housed within fields, parks and festival grounds. Catering stations and tables won’t go away entirely, but they will need to be more distantly spaced and designed to serve fewer simultaneous patrons.
However, the biggest consumer shift happening at the moment is a desire to return to themed entertainment experiences. When the lockdowns and restrictions subside, small-business owners who can combine great entertainment with great eats in the form of dinner theater performances, VIP concerts and socially-distant DJ sets or dance floors should find their services in growing demand thanks to this shift.
A New Approach to Leadership
From hotels to entertainment or event planning, whatever subset of the hospitality business you operate within, you can also expect to see employee health becoming even more of a focus in coming months. It’s important to go several steps beyond simply providing your employees with essential health care training and equipment, sanitizing stations and regular reminders about safety protocols. As a small-business owner, this means you'll need to adopt flexible attendance and sick leave policies, as well as stagger work shifts to minimize contact. Likewise, it also requires having to cross-train workers in similar skills and familiarize them with colleagues’ responsibilities so that staffers can cover for peers who may need to stay home. You'll also want to make a point to craft action plans designed in tandem with local health officials in case one of your employees becomes ill, and consider adding quarantine areas to any physical locations.
Future trends in hospitality clearly point to less direct physical contact between workers, reductions in redundancies and more flexible operating solutions. As in other industries, this means that more employees will be encouraged to telecommute and work remotely, and fewer staffers will be asked to be on-site at any given time. Take note of the growing shift towards more flexible and on-demand solutions and redesign your business strategies to accommodate smaller teams and more cost-productive operating models.
The future of hospitality—including hotels, entertainment and events—points to new operating methods. by simply applying a little bit more creativity and ingenuity in your business strategies, and taking advantage of the best today’s tech has to offer, you can stay one step ahead of the curve and more well in tune with tomorrow’s customer’s needs.
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