What skills are being most sought after? Empathy for the customer. Empathy for the community.

There is a growing narrative emerging which places the importance of local community right back at the heart of daily life. Many too are recognising that hospitality can play such a major role within communities and the skill being most sought are those with empathy for both the customer and for their communities.

It is almost old school hospitality which places people and communities first and brand second. It is not a coincidence that companies creating boutique local offers are popular.

Is it a coincidence that France is the most visited country in the world? Are people attracted by its traditions and customs; in the way that they have remained loyal to these? The real roots of French Gastronomy lies in regional and local cooking. It has never been a trend or fashion: it is something real, genuine, authentic and each area is proud of their regional cooking and wine. It lies within the soul of each region.

The desire of many today is that there is greater collaboration and care across society; that a hotel or restaurant does not sit as a silo but plays a role for the broader community. Hotels and restaurants have a major social role to play. They can be community leaders, and this is good for business as it naturally builds strength through local advocacy and support.

There is a school of thought which argues that we will see a natural shift back to the ways that many old school hoteliers would interact and play a central role in their communities and which arguably was eroded by the pressures of the modern era.
Today’s travellers and customers are looking for something deeper, for more genuine, authentic experiences that do connect them to the culture and community that they are visiting.

One of the questions which is frequently asked is whether many resorts and major hotels have understood the real role that they can and should play in representing the historical story and culture of a community? Today’s travellers and customers are looking for something deeper, for more genuine, authentic experiences that do connect them to the culture and community that they are visiting. Hotels can be the stage which tells the story and showcase local customs which in turn, of course, supports the economics of many local communities. A real bond can be found once again between communities and hotels. Both can support the other. Both can represent one another.

And service sits right at the heart.

What is it that really makes a difference in how any customer feels towards a hotel or any given service they receive? What is it that builds loyalty and trust?

Businesses, across all disciplines, are suddenly working harder to once again build a personal and stronger relationship with their customers. There has been a realisation just how many have been left frustrated and agitated by call centres and automated services.

One of the growing discussions has been that investment in service is not a cost but support of the asset, that too often investment in service is seen to be a cost rather than part of an economic purpose to exceed a customer’s expectations and build loyalty.