An interview with Ben Bengougam
Senior Vice President, Human Resources, Hilton EMEA
The Swiss Hotel Schools have for a long time been the benchmark in hospitality education. Other great schools have emerged and there appears to be a growing recognition that Hospitality Education, and schools, have a real value in the development of talent for all businesses. Even the top hotel schools see much of their great talents migrate to other industries who are keen to attract the skill set.
As we re-emerge from the Covid pandemic, the desire is the build back better and this includes the relationship between education and the industry which has often been strained. Is this a time when the value and importance of hotel schools can be promoted and highlighted or is there a need for development?
In the UK, there are growing calls for a new world-class hotel school to be found. There are 3 major initiatives at this time but it will need to be different to what has gone before. So what are the views of industry and the global players whose voice will determine the direction of future schools?
There are many who believe that the industry will split into almost 4 divisions:
· Super luxury market where clients will pay for the highest standards and care
· Budget hotels which will see more digital solutions, dark kitchens and limited services but lower cost
· The boutiques to see a resurgence in popularity as many seek an unique, personal experience
· Airbnb and equiv.
So the question needs to be posed as to how the system is adapting and evolving in relation to the emerging trends?
These are all questions which we were delighted to raise with Ben Bengougam, Senior VP Human Resources EMEA for Hilton, which includes more than 50,000 team members in 60 countries.
Ben’s insight and knowledge are a good benchmark for how leaders in the sector are thinking and viewing the challenges lying ahead in relation to the development of talent.
Since joining the company in 2010 with a European remit, Bengougam has facilitated Hilton’s growth by overseeing strategic global processes of recruitment, development and talent retention. He has since had his responsibilities widened to include the Middle East and Africa.
He is rightly very proud of the recognition Hilton received from Great Place to Work in the EMEA region where Hilton has been recognised across many of the leading countries as a leader in the field.
Before joining Hilton he spent 11 years with Forte International Hotels in various operational and human resource management roles. His last role there was as human resources director for the Forte Grand Division.
Our thanks to Ben for these thoughts in the following interview.