Hospitality is, as all will know, one of the great industries in the UK and yet it possesses a number of clear problems where it does need to improve. If Hospitality was a Plc, what strategies would be being developed?
Ask most this question and the first responses would be that:
- The industry does not sell itself well enough. It has no strong message and there is no strong comms plan.
- The structure for talent development has not been good enough and it does not compete well enough for talent.
Both are fair criticisms to a great industry with such a strong heritage. Why, after all its successes and heritage, does the industry still not tell its story well enough and is not far better at developing talent?
The industry has long been excellent at talking to itself; far more than to the external world.
Everywhere one turns, there will be a discussion and frustration that the industry has not communicated a strong enough message about itself and competed better for talent. So often the story will focus more on its well-known problem areas rather than on what a great story hospitality does and always has possessed. It has long been an industry which carries more influence and power than it has recognised.
Many describe this as “soft power” and there is a growing opinion that the industry has not recognised its power to play a central role in society. Has anyone ever noticed that most great films and novels will possess a central scene which has hospitality playing a key supporting role? Hospitality sits right at the heart of daily life and yet has no strong sales message.
This also impacts on talent as the industry has long struggled to tell a strong story which reaches and influences parents, schools and even higher education institutions. How many great centres of excellence does hospitality possess as part of universities today? If not enough, why not?
Many will naturally blame the model and structures, blame the focus on management schools – all fair points – but has Hospitality been good enough in making its own argument? Has it really desired to build centres of excellence which will nurture talent?
Too often discussions will ask for greater support from Government but Government has enough battlegrounds and fires which will dominate its attention. So the question needs to turn back to Hospitality: what can it do to improve the situation? How can hospitality can control of its own destiny?
These areas of debate have existed for many years. 2022 needs to be the moment when there is genuine change, when the industry does start to take charge. What is needed is:
- A far stronger story and message to represent the industry
- For the industry to trust in its own soft power and message
- A more robust approach and model to nurture talent
- Stronger higher education centres of excellence
Wouldn’t a world-class PLC expect the above? If so, why not a great industry such as Hospitality?