HoteliersGuild ForumOfDialogue Vol. II

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FORUM

Of DIALOGUEVol. II

! e c n e i l i s e R y b d e t i n U INDUSTRY LEADERS

A SOURCE for EXPERTISE & ENCOURAGEMENT


VOLUME II

! Resilience by United AUGUST, 2020


TO SUCCEED, YOU NEED TO EMBRACE CHANGE AS A BUSINESS CAPABILITY. YOU NEED TO RETHINK, RETOOL & REPRIORITISE AS YOU GO. WE CALL THIS RESILIENCE


Dear Friends & Colleagues, First of all, again a BIG THANK YOU to all our colleagues who, despite the still ongoing problems, continue to support our cause so energetically. I called this issue ‘ United by Resilience’, so allow me to start with some tips from FraserHealth:

Frank M. Pfaller President | HoteliersGuild

We are living in a complex world with change all around us. Publisher Naturally, this can make you feel uncertain or fearful about the present and future. The good news is that resiliency – the ability to thrive in times of change and uncertainty – is learned, and you can start building your resilience today. Use the tips below to take on a more flexible, resilient mindset. • Accept what is out of your control. Focusing on things you cannot control will leave you feeling frustrated and exhausted. There are certain circumstances or decisions that are not in your power to control. Let go of them. Doing so will help you move on and focus your energy more positively. Remember: though you may not be able to change these realities, you can change how you respond to them. • Embrace change. There will always be change. Instead of concentrating on the disruptive aspects, take a flexible approach and accept that change is a fundamental part of life that can also bring opportunities and positive outcomes. • Stay focused on the big picture. It's easy to get so wrapped up in the details of an event that you blow it out of proportion. Avoid "catastrophizing" and focus in on the real (or most realistic) impact. Looking at it from a broader perspective can help you more accurately assess its significance. • Maintain a positive attitude. Being resilient does not mean you have to have positive feelings about negative situations. It means that despite something going wrong you believe you can and will do your best to deal with the situation and move forward. • Connect with others. Staying in touch with people, even if digitally, whom you can share feelings, discuss problems and receive advice is an essential part of weathering life’s storms. Reach out for help when you feel overwhelmed by a situation.


Well, it seems that we are doing at least some things right by being and acting united closely together! Here in Europe, we opened our internal borders some weeks ago in the hopes of salvaging a summer season of travel. There is, of course, no risk free travel on the horizon during any pandemic, but since it seems that Europe has largely beaten the virus, what’s happening to our industry? July and August are our sacrosanct months for vacations and we have a right to travel - correct!? Well, not really, as we note the many new hotspots around us, be it in Austria, Spain, Germany, U.K. Croatia…with many bars, and restaurants once again in lock-down. The recently announced quarantine for U.K. travellers returning from Spain does speak a clear language, event though data also showed that during the week of July 13, there were more new bookings than cancellations to the European Union from Europe for the first time since the pandemic began. And now we hear that Germany may well introduce stronger measures again to rain in the spreading, i.e. by introducing isolation of returning tourist from other European destinations. And the president of ForwardKeys, Oliver Ponti, reported: “When Spain, Portugal and Greece announced they would reopen for travel, there was an immediate pick up in Intra-European flight bookings to those destinations. In the five weeks following the announcements, the combined booking levels for the three countries rose to 65 percent of last year’s bookings during the equivalent period. By comparison, all intra-European bookings have recovered to 45 percent of last year’s levels over that period.” However, it seems that generally travel likely won’t be as easy or at least not as convenient going forward. Also, as great numbers of airplanes are either retired from service at this time, airlines will be operating a lot fewer flights each day on popular routes or even suspend some of them altogether - i.e. TUI from the U.K. to Spain. So, I guess your best bet will be to stay close to home and yes, use your car again for shorter break-aways! And above all, stay healthy and confident and continue to support your HoteliersGuild Forum Of Dialogue with inspiring contributions!

My warmest regards Frank


Op-ed on ‘Resilience’ from our HoteliersGuild Hon. Ambassador, Sonu Shivdasani

For most people in the Maldives and

they destroy ever larger parts of the

other countries that imposed drastic

economy.

restrictions to contain the virus, the economic and social costs of being

Then, we just need to work on our fear,

locked down have been terribly high.

which, in the final analysis, may have

Moreover, as time passes, and our

caused more damage than the virus

understanding of COVID 19 improves, it

itself.

is clear that, while potentially lethal for older people and those with underlying

To motivate people to travel, we need

health complications, for healthy,

to create a safe environment with

younger people, the chance of dying

unforgettable experiences. Our guests,

from the virus is small.

as an example, are looking for interesting, unique life moments and

As new information pours in from

unique destinations. The future of travel

around the world, and we develop a

is about satisfying an increasingly

more nuanced understanding of

sophisticated and world-wise, wealthy

COVID-19, our measures to control the

client who is looking to express his/her

virus must also become more

individuality and will be looking for

sophisticated.

destinations with distinct personality and character, such as Soneva. This is

How do we start on the road to

why we believe that after this crisis

recovery from lockdown? To start with,

people will travel to unique destinations

we should maintain the personal

to share a moment with family. Soneva

hygiene habits that the virus has taught

is very unique in this point and our

us, such as frequently washing hands,

guests are prepared to pay that extra

and following the

amount for what we do so well. To ensure the highest standards of

traditional Asian courtesy of wearing a

safety and wellness for our guests, we

mask if you feel unwell. Above all,

have made some changes to our

investments in health infrastructure put

existing procedures to accommodate

in place over the past 4 months

the new normal way of travel.

(hospital capacity; extensive, rapid

On arrival all guests will be greeted by

testing; sophisticated contact tracing)

one of our airport Hosts and escorted

means that blunt control tools, such as

to our lounge where they will be asked

lockdowns, can now be relaxed before

to undergo a COVID-19 test using our PCR machine. Our airport Hosts, lounge


Hosts and transfer Hosts will all be

considered as being slightly excessive or

wearing masks, and we would request

over-cautious, at Soneva, all our islands

that all guests wear a mask whenever

are One Island One Resort; it is our goal

guests are in the presence of other guests

to make our private island homes

and Hosts until their test results are

COVID-19 free environments, so that our

received.

guests can truly relax and engage with

Once the test has been completed and

our Hosts and fellow guests and not feel

results sent for processing, guests will be

any concern about being infected.

transferred to Soneva Fushi or Soneva Jani. On landing, guests will be greeted

We also have enhanced cleaning and

at the private plane by a Mr/Ms Friday

sanitation protocols and there will be

and will be taken to our private island.

plenty of hand sanitizer available for

Guests will then be escorted to their villa

guest usage.

and we request that they remain there

cleaning and disinfecting will ensure

until the test results are received and are

optimum hygiene is maintained, and we

negative. Once we receive the results of

will pay special attention to frequently

the test (this could take up to 24 hours)

touched surfaces.

and if they are negative, our Hosts will

Our Hosts are also required to undergo

come to the guests’ villa to extend a

regular COVID-19 testing, while all

warm welcome.

materials brought onto our islands will be

In case the test result will come back

properly cleaned and sanitized prior to

positive, we ask that all guests isolate in

being brought onsite.

their villa. Our nurses have been trained

As the world is just starting to get used to

on how to look after COVID-19 positive

a new normal in the wake of COVID-19,

guests and observe them. If there are no

naturally, things are now a little different

serious complications, guests will be

here at Soneva too, although our ethos of

allowed to circulate in the resort 14 days

barefoot, intelligent luxury and rare

after a negative test or 10 days after the

experiences remains the same. Our goal

outset of the first symptoms, following the

is to make our private island homes

recommended guidelines by the US

COVID-19 free environments so that all of

Centre for Disease Control (CDC). We will

our guests can truly relax and feel

also require all guests have their

comfortable in the knowledge that we are

temperature taken daily.

doing everything possible to prevent

During the first week of stay, we would

COVID-19 reaching our shores.

also ask guests to take one more realtime PCR test. Although this could be

Frequent and regular


A warm welcome to Prof. Dr. Willy Leg and to Angelina Villa-Clark, accompli and contributing FOD media partner.

Dr. Willy Legrand is Professor of Hospitality Management at the IUBH International University of Applied Sciences located in Bad Honnef - Bonn, Germany. Prof. Legrand holds undergraduate and graduate courses on sustainable development and business management, sustainable hospitality and tourism in Germany but also as a visiting professor at universities in China, Dubai, France, India, Peru, Singapore and the United States. He is the lead author of Sustainability in the Hospitality Industry: Principles of Sustainable Operations with the 4th edition set for 2021. He is the co-editor of the Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Food and Gastronomy. He is the Guest Chief Editor of the Hotel Yearbook Sustainable Hospitality 2018 and 2020 Special Editions. Prof Legrand is dedicated to working with students, industry professionals and academics on solutions towards a hospitality industry with greater resiliency (e.g. facing climate emergency, biodiversity collapse, pandemics etc.); join him and 100 industry experts on the HospitalityNet World Panel on Sustainability in Hospitality.


grand, our new panel member shed international journalist .

Angelina Villa-Clarke has been a travel journalist for over 20 years. She was deputy editor of In Britain, for the British Tourist Authority before moving to British Airways' High Life Magazine, where she was deputy editor and associate editor during the 11 years she worked there. She has been a freelance travel writer for the past nine years, writing for a range of newspapers and magazines, such as the Mail on Sunday, the Jewish Chronicle, Journey Magazine, A&K Magazine and ES Magazine. Angelina is also a travel contributor, writing five articles a month, for Forbes which reaches over 122 million monthly users.


A Big ThankYou To Panel Members and Contributors For Your Gracious Support !




It is a great pleasure and honour to join the panel of the HoteliersGuild. I am delighted to support industry colleagues dedicated to working on solutions towards a hospitality industry, which is kind to the environment, healthy to its workers, pleasing to its guests, efficient for the operators and profitable to its owners. Thank you Frank for this unique opportunity to contribute to a future proofed hospitality.

Â

Prof. Dr. Willy Legrand Professor of Hospitality Management at the IUBH International University of Applied Sciences located in Bad Honnef - Bonn, Germany


FORUMOFDIALOGUE SERIES

Rethinking Resilience from Onno Poortier Chairman

itMustBeNOW

HoteliersGuild


Living in uncertainty describes our present and future reality. Since the beginning of 2020, the travel industry has been forced to a full or partial halt in business as COVID-19 spread worldwide with no end yet in sight. The data on tourism losses changes as fast as it spreads and with the pandemic continuing into the summer with projected second and third waves into the autumn, we will most likely surpass the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) global loss projection of 75 million jobs and $2.1 trillion in revenue. And according to a May forecast by OpenTable, one in every four U.S. restaurants will go out of business due to the coronavirus quarantines that have battered the food-service industry and we have yet to take the toll on hotels worldwide. Economists have said that society’s blinkered approach to the future risk of disease provides a lesson for our failure to address the potentially bigger catastrophic effects of climate emergencies and biodiversity crisis, the environmental devastation and loss of species 1000 times their natural rate, more virus pandemics, and the lack of trust and widening inequality. They are ringing the loudest warning bells to these massive interconnected threats caused by human behaviour and our enormous vulnerability, making it ever clearer what’s at stake and what’s needed to build more resilience in the future. The lesson to be learned is that there is no bargaining with Nature or compromising with the laws of science. The climate crisis doesn’t start when our planet is at 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, it’s already here. Risks are everywhere and no company is immune to the loss of reputation and financial repercussions. The so called ‘Green Recovery Plan’ to be adopted to restart the economy is nowhere near ambitious enough. Globally in many industries, company owners and operators can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. The growing importance of sustainability as a survival strategy is now ingrained and is seen as a key business driver and risk mitigation. Lagging behind in seriously “walking the talk” is the travel industry. The hotel sector is part of the problem as long as CSR (corporate social responsibility) and sustainability is voluntary and self-regulating, lack governance, accountability and transparency, and is game for creative marketing spin. Many had excuses on why rigorous sustainability is not a priority and Covid-19 became the latest one. Those that choose to be part of the solution are beacons of businesses with purpose, led by brave and conscious owners and operators who believe ‘it is the right thing to do’. They are invited to join the NOW Forces for Good Alliance to make it easier to be sustainable, action an accredited programme with independent audits and raise the bar on accountability and transparency. They inspire stakeholder trust because they understand that to be truly sustainable, they must take total responsibility for their impacts and the travel experiences offered to guests must help solve societal and environmental problems. Sustainability is about the wellbeing of our world and it is touching every aspect of our lives and should be the cornerstone of a hotel’s Recovery & Resilience Plan to amplify our efforts to reach scale at speed. It is now in the global spotlight with many investors showing confidence that sustainable business practices contribute tangible bottom-line value and this shift is starting to push business leaders in taking a closer look at the inner workings of their operations and supply chain. Stakeholders – customers, employees, media, travel operators, suppliers and investors - are recognizing the need for better businesses that think beyond profits and the need to contribute to society for our survival and a better world. Consumers will re-enter the travel market with caution. Wherever people go, there is sure to be a greater sense of identity and empowerment to support brands that align with our values, an importance placed on corporate ethics and the need to feel respected, a redefined wellbeing to include the whole human biosphere, and a greater appreciation for experience over things, the value of human connection and nature, and the demand for action. It must be NOW! Contact: Onno Poortier opoortier@itmustbenow.com


What do conscious travellers want today?


What do conscious travellers want today? Difficult times call for difficult questions and uncomfortable conversations. We are living at a time when intersecting crises and threats are reaching tipping points at a global scale, with climate destabilization, environmental degradation, veiled levels of inequality, as well as soaring public health risks, conflicts, populism and economic uncertainties. Covid-19 is both an urgent warning and galvanizing moment. The enforced pause in tourism has been devastating as it surges and declines, but it may be the interruption needed for nature to have some breathing space and for us to ask ourselves some difficult questions. ‘It takes darkness to see the stars’ and the traumatic respite, hardships and loss must serve a purpose and must unleash the capacity of each person and company in tourism to become a life-affirming change envoy that restores, vitalizes and be worthy of consumer trust. The negative business-as-usual suicidal path that extracts and exploits must stop. Globally, the growing importance of sustainability is now ingrained in the strategies of many industries and seen as a key business driver and risk mitigation. But, lagging behind in seriously “walking the talk” is the fragmented travel industry. In the hotel sector over the past few “…the growing importance of decades, more Hotel Owners and Operators sustainability is now ingrained in the fixated on sustainability, not for people and strategies of many industries… but, planet or because it is ‘the right thing to do’, lagging behind in seriously “walking but for cost savings, economic incentives, regulatory affairs and corporate brand image. the talk” is the fragmented travel And there are a few inspiring Owners and industry…!” Operators, individuals with purpose and heart who truly stands out and they are taking responsibility for their total impact on communities and the environment with accountability and transparency.

In a refreshingly honest dialogue void of spin, Regional VP and GM, Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru – Armando Kraenzlin, and Environment Coordinator – Faisal Ibrahim – were recently interviewed by sustainability journalist and writer Juliet Kinsman. Many journalists from the UK and countries around the world joined for a ‘deeper dive’ uncomfortable conversation focused on sustainability. For 20 years, Armando Kraenzlin’s deep commitment to sustainability from an environmental, cultural and social standpoint has helped pioneer many of the Maldives’ most notable initiatives to date: the country’s first TVET-recognised Apprenticeship Program (with 600 graduates since 2002): the first Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, now 10 years old with close to 300 admissions so far; the first coral reef-scaping project in 2001, a project that has boosted the natural reefs around Four Seasons’ two Maldivian resort islands with more than 5,000 transplanted reef structures and inspired a country-wide program of coral reef-scaping. On-site water bottling plants, Parley-linked community recycling programs, solar energy installations, health initiatives, community outreach projects, nationwide community-focused sports


events and support for the Maldives’ last remaining lacquerware producers are just a few of the other ‘day-to-day’ initiatives that he spearheads. The ripple effects spread outwards from the Resorts through guest-focused activities designed to transform people’s own sense of connection to the world around them: from days spent researching manta rays to coral reef transplanting, Junior Marine Savers experiences to wildlife monitoring dives. The team at Four Seasons Resorts Maldives is committed to doing more to advance sustainability in all its forms. Four Seasons Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru is the first of 3 properties to implement the EarthCheck Evaluate programme with Earth Rating certification in partnership with the NOW Force for Good Alliance. Check out their total impact assessments and some glorious sustainable inspiration. As part of the Sustainability Task Force within Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Armando Kraenzlin is boldly urging other properties to move and step up. He pointed out that hotel managers and their team have the ability and power to create change and believes that as hoteliers, their job is also to make sure that if guests are sceptical about climate change, that when they leave, they are a champion to the cause. Today, being well intentioned is no longer enough. Consumers and investors are now aware of climate change risks and the many threats upon us, and are more demanding of businesses to adopt sustainable business p r a c t i c e s . N O W h a s raised the bar on accountability and “We yearn for travel with meaning t r a n s p a re n c y a ro u n d sustainability which we and purpose and seek more define as ‘wellbeing of people and the planet’, and the goal for hotels is to be carbon positive sustainable choices. We want to and support the S u s t a i n a b l e indulge in authentic experiences Development Goals. Rigorous sustainability that are representative of local should be a Standard Operating Procedure cultures and we want the money we (SOP) in every hotel, in addition to the extra mile spend to go back into the local cleanliness and safety guest expect before, during and after the coronavirus pandemic. community…!” As hotels navigate through the Covid-19 crisis and reopen for business this summer, most announced their aim to safeguard the ‘wellbeing’ of all guests and employees. Yet strangely, the key message of most hotels is about safety and social distancing, cleaning and disinfection protocols! These are our minimum expectations!

Conscious travellers want more. We yearn for travel with meaning and purpose and seek more sustainable choices. We want to indulge in authentic experiences that are representative of local cultures and we want the money we spend to go back into the local community. We dream of and seek transformative, meaningful and experiential travel whether we are in a city or in wilderness reserves or island retreats. We want experiences that connect us deeply to the natural world, rich cultures, beautiful communities, and most importantly, ourselves. And we want to stay in places we can trust, operated by those who understand that this is the new definition of luxury and it is not a trend, it is a commitment from the heart to ensure the wellbeing of people and planet.


Mintel, a market intelligence agency, shared their insight on the big shifts in behavior as COVID-19 brought the future forward. On wellbeing (seeking physical and mental wellness), we are experiencing a collective grief globally and while much of what is felt today is temporary, there will be lasting impacts on individual wellbeing. It takes on new meaning and holistic health is no longer just about the whole human, or even the whole human community, but the whole human biosphere. On experiences (seeking and discovering stimulation), people in lockdown worldwide have been forced to appreciate this new state of slowness. Consumers will seek new ways to find fulfillment, comfort and reassurance, placing an even greater emphasis on experiences over things, and the value of the human connection. On identity (understanding and expressing oneself and place in society), elements once hidden from public display will be more openly shared. Consumers will emerge from social distancing having been forced to look at themselves and their priorities in a new way to determine what’s worth returning to once things get back to “normal,” and will be even more empowered to stand up for the brands and causes that most align with their values. On rights (feeling respected), corporate ethics will no longer be a “nice to have,” but a “must-have”, and public demand for action will peak as more global social movements develop. View the videos here: itmustbeNow


Now Sustainability Tool


Now

is right along the line with our own philosophy and engagements for sustainability and responsible luxury in the hospitality industry.

HoteliersGuild

and NOW share the same philosophy and we believe that we are at an urgent and defining moment and we must act now because ‘it is the right thing to do’.

HoteliersGuild is proud to support NOW in our Strategic Alliance! Frank M. Pfaller President, HoteliersGuild | CoutureHospitalityConcept


FORUMOFDIALOGUE SERIES

LEARNING FROM THIS CRISIS! from Sonu Shivdasani CEO & Founder

SONEVA

HoteliersGuild


“Learning to live with Covid-19“ As lockdowns go, we mustn’t

with underlying health

newspapers and TV stations

complain. My wife, Eva, and I

complications, for healthy,

have gorged on the

have been marooned on

younger people, the chance

coronavirus, producing

Soneva Fushi -- the resort we

of dying from the virus is

blanket coverage of mortality

own in the Maldives -- for the

vanishingly small. In badly hit

rates and other frightening

past four months, alongside

parts of New York City, for

details. Not surprisingly, the

staff and some foreign guests,

instance, where infection rates

‘danger indicator’ that sits in

who stayed on as the country

were as high as 25%, for those

the left side of our brains

closed its borders, rather than

under 45 years the survival

remains on high alert. Like a

risk going back home.

rate was 99.98%.

t h e r m o m e t e r, o n c e t h e

The other day I saw a two-

As new information pours in

danger indicator rises, it takes

meter long reef shark in the

from around the world, and

a lot of shaking with facts and

lagoon. In my twenty-five

we develop a more nuanced

reason to bring it back down.

years living on Soneva Fushi, I

understanding of COVID-19,

To quote Hans Rosling: “We

have never seen such a big

our measures to control the

need to learn to control our

shark swimming so close to

virus must also become more

drama intake. Uncontrolled,

shore. In other parts of the

sophisticated. General

our appetite for the dramatic

world, lockdowns have led to

lockdowns and international

goes too far, prevents us from

goats, swans and wild boar

border closures – which are

seeing the world as it is, and

taking over village greens and

devastating huge chunks of

leads us terribly astray.”

town centres. In the Maldives,

the economy, and the lives

Here are some facts to reduce

it’s the (harmless) sharks,

and livelihoods of hundreds of

our intake of drama, and

dolphins and manta rays that

millions of people – don’t

temper our fears of

are enjoying a holiday without

make sense, when rapid

COVID-19:

humans.

testing, contract tracing, and

- Due to a misunderstanding

It is surely, though, time for

good hygiene are so effective

of the true extent of the

the lockdown to come to an

at preventing the virus’ spread

infection in China, initial

end. For most people, in the

-- and when the virus poses

projections of a 3-5% fatality

Maldives and other countries

such a tiny threat to young

rate were far too high.

that imposed drastic

and middle-aged people.

- Many countries vastly

restrictions to contain the

“The greatest fear is fear

overstated their likely number

virus, the economic and social

itself”

of deaths. Uppsala University

costs of being locked down

(Franklin Delano Roosevelt,

in Sweden, for instance,

have been terribly high.

inauguration speech, in the

predicted 90,000 deaths in

Moreover, as the weeks pass,

midst of The Great

one month, but Sweden has

and our understanding of

Depression)

had a total of 4,700 virus

COVID 19 improves, it is clear

Perhaps one of the biggest

deaths to date.

that, while potentially lethal

obstacles to easing the

- Likewise, on 29 March,

for older people and those

lockdown is fear. The world’s

Columbia University issued a


report highlighting a need for 136,000 hospital beds in New York City. In the end, 12,000 sufficed. - According to recent research by the United States

Source: Worldometer

Biodefence

Our understanding of, and

and

Countermeasures Center, the half-life of the COVID virus in mild conditions such as 75oF and 25% humidity is 18 hours. But when the temperature rises to 95oF and the humidity rate increases to 80% (conditions found in the Maldives and other tropical countries), the half-life reduces to 1 hour. - According to the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC), there are no documented cases of a person becoming infected from a surface contaminated with COVID-19. Yet, every hotel and resort mini-film I have watched about reopening – including our own – has footage of an employee diligently wiping down surfaces. - A H o n g K o n g s t u d y, involving an analysis of 7,324 cases in China, identified 318 distinct outbreaks, all but one of which occurred indoors. This suggests the risk of catching COVID outdoors is low. - I attach a graph produced by Sir David Spiegelhalter of Imperial College, London.

This graph shows that having coronavirus effectively doubles your existing odds of death within a given year, which is extremely low for young people. SOURCE: Prof. Sir David Spiegelhalter, ONS, Imperial College London. - Prof. Spiegelhalter highlights in the graph that coronavirus roughly doubles your chance of death once you hit around 40. While that might sound scary, we have to bear in mind that the risk of death for those under 45 or so is extremely low – 0.1% per year. A 40year-old with coronavirus therefore has a risk of death of about 0.2%, rather than 0.1%.

- T h e re h a s b e e n m u c h controversy over the Swedish approach to the virus, which involved far less restrictive measures compared with other European countries. The below table, from Worldometer

- last week, shows that Sweden suffered lower deaths per capita than countries that enforced strict lockdowns.

knowledge of how to treat the virus has evolved considerably since those dark days at the beginning of the year: -

There

have

been

breakthroughs in treating COVID by the Medical World: Gilead with Remdesivir, and the Dana-Farber using Ibrutinib which avoided cancer patients from needing to be hospitalized. - There is also the example of my Oncologist, Dr. Abdul Kadir Slocum (I was diagnosed with stage-4 cancer at the end of 2018. Embracing “And” rather than settling for “Either, Or”, has dictated our approach to wellness, and excellence in general, in all our businesses over the years. Dr. Slocum cured me by combining traditional c h e m o t h e r a p y, “ A n d ” alternate wellness remedies.) As Dr. Slocum recently wrote to us: "I'm not a front line COVID physician but unfortunately when some of our cancer patients got COVID I treated them together with my colleagues. We used anticoagulants, anti-biotics, anti-


virals as conventional therapeutics together with

We must not make a similar mistake over

high dose vitamin C, Andrographis, Thyme

coronavirus, as we reopen our economies we

extract etc. as complementary therapies and all

must consider adequate protection for older

of our patients have gotten better with such

and vulnerable people.

treatment." The low fatality rate for those who are healthy

How do we start on the road to recovery? To

and not old, the limitations of the virus’ spread,

start with, we should maintain the personal

and the improvements in testing and treatment,

hygiene habits that the virus has taught us, such

means that we have the opportunity to return to

as frequently washing hands, and following the

(almost) normal, albeit with robust measures in

traditional Asian courtesy of wearing a mask if

place to protect vulnerable groups.

you feel unwell. These habits will also reduce

The importance of protecting vulnerable groups

the incidence of other viruses such as seasonal

should not be taken lightly. Let me flashback to

flus and colds.

1979, when I was 13. My morning ritual with my

Above all, new investments in health

father was to drive to the local tennis club and

infrastructure put in place over the past 12

play a game before breakfast. On that particular

weeks, such as more hospital capacity, extensive

morning, halfway through the play, my father sat

and rapid testing, and sophisticated contact

down, short of breath. He asked me to practice

tracing means that blunt control tools, such as

against the wall while he recovered his breath.

lockdowns, can now be relaxed before they

An hour later, he died of a heart attack. To this

destroy even larger parts of the economy.

day, I wonder whether if we had skipped that

Then, we just need to work on our fear, which,

morning ritual, he wouldn’t have died. The

in the final analysis, may have caused more

worry that one might have had an impact on

damage than the virus itself.

reducing the life of one's parent is something that I would not want to wish on anyone else.

A photograph of a panoramic view of Soneva Sushi, entitled “SonevaFushi - Fresh in the Garden” by Sandro Bruecklmeier


SONEVA



O

k o lut o

FORUMOFDIALOGUE SERIES

Beyond COVID-19: looking forward to recovery and innovation from Joseph W.Y. Chong

Area Vice President, Greater China Managing Director, The Peninsula Hong Kong

HoteliersGuild


The COVID-19 global pandemic is undoubtedly an unprecedented public health crisis of our time. Much remains to be done in terms of response and recovery, particularly as we count the humanitarian costs of the crisis and work toward the discovery of effective treatment and vaccine. While solving and alleviating the profound humanitarian impact of the virus remains a top priority, the economic aftershock and long-lasting effects on various industries is a growing concern to governments and businesses across the globe. Unfortunately, tourism and hospitality has been and will continue to be greatly impacted by the crisis. Like many other countries to have been hit by the COVID-19 crisis, China has suffered greatly. The Chinese government has taken a very committed and thorough stance on the fight against the virus, however, like many other nations, the damage to the economy has been devastating. While the swift and effective 3 month-long lockdown has been considered effective in controlling the spread of the virus, the pause in economic activity nationwide has had a profound effect on livelihoods, businesses and productivity. The tourism and have been dealt a due to the stringent enrolled in most nations, domestic

and

globally. According to a McKinsey, international a staggering 0.9 to 1.1 up to 120 million jobs Fortunately, with the restrictions in China and

“ Fortunately, with the easing of lockdown restrictions in China and abroad, early signs of recovery are visible. By June 28, total occupied airline seats had bounced back to 15 million showing a year-on-year drop of just 3 million, while nationwide hotel occupancy had surged back to 38% - just a 30% drop from its 68% high in 2019. “

recovery are visible. By

hospitality Industries particularly hard blow lockdown measures causing a crash in inter national tourism study conducted by arrivals have reduced by billion year-on-year and are at risk. easing of lockdown abroad, early signs of June 28, total occupied

airline seats had bounced back to 15 million showing a year-on-year drop of just 3 million, while nationwide hotel occupancy had surged back to 38% - just a 30% drop from its 68% high in 2019. Thanks to a variety of regional and national initiatives to restart the Chinese economy, it seems as though Chinese tourism is taking tentative steps towards recovery. For example, thanks to the innovative strategies put in place by the Shanghai government to reinvigorate the economy, on-theday bookings at The Peninsula Shanghai make up for 10% of room occupancy - a rate beyond imagination for hoteliers in other countries. Despite these early signs, long-term recovery will definitely encounter difficulties that would have been previously unknown to the industry. It is expected that it will take at least 2 years to recover from the initial shock of COVID-19, with current studies showing that tourism will not reach its pre-2019 levels until 2022 at the earliest. Chinese travellers have already indicated a 32% drop in intent to travel internationally which, although promising for domestic tourism, presents greater challenges for businesses dealing with international travel. Interestingly, a 20% decrease in business travel is also a


difficult sign of the times as businesses have adapted to remote working and the rise of conferencing apps such as Zoom and Tencent Conferencing. A ‘new normal’ for the tourism and hospitality industries is on the horizon, however, with profound and lasting changes expected globally. ‘Travel bubbles’ with destination advice updated in real-time will guide domestic and international tourism. Risk-free tourism will be the gold standard for travellers moving forwards, with businesses accommodating new trends with policies and services such as free cancellation, flexible booking and rebooking, insurance coverage, rewards schemes and contactless service. Businesses will need to rise to this challenge swiftly and effectively to meet the ever-evolving expectations of tourists. This must include the regular revisiting of policy and communications, as well as the acceleration of digital presence and customer-centric adoption of the technologies convenience which is proven to communication tool of our time. and business fronts can only ever. For example, PenChat, the just been launched by The by many.

Guests praise the

which allows them to interact

“ The adoption of the technologies promises enhanced safety and convenience which is proven to be most resilient and reliable communication tool of our time.”

transformation, social media data-driven approaches.

The

promises enhanced safety and be most resilient and reliable Its importance both in personal become most significant than instant messaging tool which has Peninsula Hotels, has been raved timely introduction of this app with hotel 24 hours at their

fingertips on their own pace.

It is clear that tourism faces great challenges in the short- to medium-term yet preliminary recovery seems to be promising. The fundamentals of the travel market are still healthy and show great potential for future growth once tourism regains its strength. China tops nations in its optimistic view of its own recovery, with 53% of consumers polled by McKinsey in May expressing positive hopes for economic recovery. With this recovery and the productivity of the industry in meeting the needs of post-COVID travel, there is great hope on the horizon.



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The Selzer Man. GhostKitchens. Plastic Pandemic & the Renaissance Of Hotel Restaurants from Frank M. Pfaller

a story in 3 acts

CEO

CoutureHotelConcept

HoteliersGuild


Once upon a time…The Selzer Man & Ghost Kitchens

Let me share my exchange on this subject with Jason Friedman, CEO of TayloredHospitality that manages branded properties like the You may have heard of our most recent BensleyCollection/ShintaMani Hotels, the HoteliersGuild initiative called Rosewood Retreat in Luang Prabang among EXTRAVAGANZAculinaire, the premiere virtual others, will further underline our Gourmet Safari, which was in fact “inspired” apprehension. by Corona, and so far had more than 20.000 Heres's what he said: viewers and excellent feedback from “When I was growing up in Manhattan in the colleagues around the globe. 1970’s and 1980’s I still remember the seltzer man. Once a week this old man would show In my foreword to Vol. III I wrote: “Our virtual up at the service entrance to our apartment on event showed that there is so much untapped the 10th floor with a case of blue glass soda ‘virtual potential and space for both, virtual siphons. The siphons and the wood crate must experiences as well as the in-person have been 30 or 40 years old. Dutifully we hospitality. Takeouts and curb-side pickups would place the empty siphons in the new have become natural, as have virtual cooking crate to be picked up the next week when the demonstrations and classes. So let’s think how seltzer man would return with the weeks we can push these ideas further? For example, delivery. Perhaps a update versions of the can we create a virtual seltzer man would be restaurant concept that required to work with can be a partner “Reliable data are hard to come by restaurants and business to our but, for example, consumption of distribution networks. traditional concepts? single-use plastic may have grown A generally accepted Restaurateurs have to standard for reusable by 250-300% in America since the serve and take care of coronavirus took hold, according to food containers that all other people. But it restaurants and this cannot be done inthe International Solid Waste distribution services person, one has to Association (ISWA), which represents would sign up to use. A figure out other ways recycling bodies in 102 countries.” deposit is made and and means...” the distribution service tracks the item with the In preparation for this speech I contacted our deposit inly being credited to the guest when HoteliersGuild members for their insights, their container is returned (clean) to the knowing that for many of our colleagues, distribution service, and this might happen on restaurateurs and/or hotel restaurants alike, the next delivery. I am sure that some tech take-out concepts have been the only way of company can figure this out. The responsibility survival during the the time of Covid-19. I should fairly and equitably fall on the could summarise our predominantly expressed shoulders of all stakeholders - consumer, opinion right now and here, and thus save you restaurant, distributor. Unless this issue is reading time. addressed in a suitable manner (not window dressing) this venture is a false economy. “ We agree that as long as no solution is being To which I responded: “I grew up in Bavaria, found for the plastic pandemic caused by the Germany, and I can mirror your Selzer story totally unsustainable packaging & distribution with our beer delivery experience: once a methods of this concept, we are very week, a horse cart loaded with wooden barrels sceptical, to say the least. of beer & crates which were still much older than yours appeared in our street, and the


farm in a battered metal reusable can with a wooden handle...” This opinion is also supported by many “classic” Chefs we know - for example 2Michelin Star Dimitris Katrivesis, our HoteliersGuild Chefs Chapter member from Greece who is adamant that he’d rather stay away from adopting the Cloud Kitchen concept as he not only fears for its impact on the environment but, as he puts it to me in our last phone conference, he’d “also loose his ethical personality as a traditional Chef.“

II. Ghost Kitchens - After the Virus Pandemic, we’re facing the Plastic Pandemic What is in fact a Ghost Kitchen and what’s the hype surrounding the new concepts? It all started with the Millennials and the Gen Z-ers tech-savvy generations shifting the prototype of businesses towards a virtual world. Trends like virtual gaming and virtual shopping paved the way for the “virtual” restaurants. Essentially, a ghost kitchen (aka “virtual kitchen” or “cloud kitchen”) is a rented kitchen space where restaurateurs can open a restaurant or a brand without a brick and mortar location. These “restaurants” don’t even need to have a physical address, mostly they are simply an app on your smartphone. The demand for delivery of meals during Covid-19 has never been greater with more consumers turning to delivery over take-out or dining out. They are purely virtual businesses that are specially designed for food delivery and outsource the preparation of their meals to canteen kitchens. While our classic hotel restaurants and also independent restaurants struggle with high expenses for local rent, FF&E and of course cooking and service staff, the cost factor for virtual restaurants is incomparably lower. These shadow kitchens deliver their food only through intermediaries such as Deliveroo, Foodora and Co. and

numerous investors already believe in this segment. Many restaurants have essentially been forced to become a ghost kitchen over the past months, merely as a means to stay alive, and of course owners and chefs realised its potential. Smart hotels reinvented their F&B facilities as grocery shops and delivery services, meaning that those who are fed up with the weekly food shop, and are pining for the laid-on luxury of a hotel until they can check in again, can at least bring some of the joy home. In a nutshell, ghost kitchens exist to satisfy the ever- growing consumer demand for easy online ordering. In a post COVID-19 world, restaurants of all types will have to take a long hard look in the mirror to decide what the next chapter is. It may well be that this catastrophe could trigger a shift in guest behaviour that may be beneficial to those who make the right decisions now! However, it’s not even necessary to become 100% virtual in order to enjoy the benefits that a ghost kitchen can offer. Some of our colleagues concluded that the best approach is actually a hybrid. The hybrid allows them to test the waters of a food concept without fully committing or losing their restaurants physical presence. If the tide starts rapidly changing to virtual-only, they’ll find themselves in a strategically advantageous position. And coming back to the topic of RESILIENCE and new concepts, think about this: A classic restaurant could easily integrate a cloud kitchen! How? Take for example Chicago’s Oyster Bah, where you’ll be treated to delicious seafood dishes. Yet, although Oyster Bah is typically packed on any given day, it’s not oysters bringing in the big money — it’s the ribs. Oyster Bah is home to a ghost kitchen by the name of Seaside, which offers ribs and fried chicken to consumers through 3rd party delivery apps like Grub Hub and Uber Eats. In order to increase sales at the restaurant, the owner knew he needed to think outside its


walls. With all seats being taken, his consuming home deliveries from restaurants in production could have been much higher but record numbers. First-quarter sales at Uber he was restricted by the restaurants small Eats, one of America’s biggest restaurantspace. So the question was, how to increase delivery apps, for example, rose by 54% year efficiency without adding more seats? on year. Every extra portion of curry, or pot of The answer: delivery. But not just Oyster Bah garlic dip, means more plastic waste. delivery —that was already happening. Rather, Beverages come, of course, also in plastic he wanted to create a restaurant-within-abottles, preferably for single use. Latex gloves restaurant that would offer items customers and disposable face masks add to the disaster. couldn’t get at Oyster Bah. With that, Seaside’s was born. The carryout/delivery-only Reliable data are hard to come by but, for outfit serves ribs, fried chicken, lobster, and example, consumption of single-use plastic sides, which are delivered by the restaurant may have grown by 250-300% in America delivery service DoorDash and Grubhub. The since the coronavirus took hold, according to owner says: “The real trick when you open a the International Solid Waste Association business, either beside or in (ISWA), which represents the same market as an recycling bodies in 102 existing business, is you countries. Our increasing “Restaurants, chefs and don’t want to cannibalize appetite for single-use third-party delivery your own consumer,” “It’s plastic is worrying, and it companies are being given never more evident than seems that tendencies to a unique opportunity to try when the two businesses recycle materials that can be out new ideas and enter share a spot.” reused is diminishing. III. So, let’s put the focus on new geographical regions So, Whichever way you look some potential sustainable with little overhead and at it, ghost, virtual or solution scenarios. little risk.” delivery-only restaurants Obviously, packaging takethese business models for out food in the before food to-go are here to stay! Why? Because its mentioned scenario is an important condition big business! for food to enter the market. The impact of food packaging on the environment is A n d n o w, T H E P L A S T I C P a c k a g i n g staggering. PANDEMIC As we all know, the recent lockdowns have led With the consumer demand for delivered to a boom in e-commerce. In March, as parts foods, snack foods and frozen food and other of Europe and America shut up shop, some convenience food is increasing, the demand 2.5bn customers have visited Amazon’s for packaging is huge. It consumes our limited website, a 65% increase on last year. In China, natural resources, and produces all kinds of more than 25% of physical goods were bought w a s t e . N o t o n l y t o t h e s u r ro u n d i n g online during the first quarter of the year. environment pollution, but also as a threat to Much of what is bought online comes human health. wrapped in plastic—and the bad kind at that. Goods are often packaged in plastic Developed countries have been aware of the comprising several layers. That keeps the seriousness of the problem of packaging for contents safe in aeroplane holds and on environmental pollution since 1960s. The delivery lorries. It also makes it nearly direct or indirect impacts of packaging on the impossible to recycle the plastic. At the same environment include soil degradation, water time, the locked-down masses have been pollution, and the sharp reduction of scarce


resources such as forests, solid waste pollution and toxic chemical pollution. It seriously affected the sustainable development of resources and environment. Quite a lot of the food packing materials come from China. According to statistics, about 60% of China’s food packaging materials there are security risks. In the food market, used in plastic bags, plastic bottles, plastic barrels of food packaging accounted for the majority. Paper, metal and other packaging materials accounted for a minority. The lack of knowledge of food packaging materials and food quality and safety oversight is not enough, and some packaging materials containing toxic ingredients are processed into food packaging. These affect food safety. Environmental awareness needs to be enhanced to promote the role of resources, and environmental protection should not be underestimated. After a two-month delay, the EU Commission unveiled its Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategy in late May with the aim of creating a more ‘robust, secure, and sustainable food system’. According to the Commission this is the “first time in the history of EU food policy that we propose a comprehensive agenda for all stages of food production”. It lists 27 measures which it says will pave the way for greener food production, healthier and more sustainable diets, and less food waste. Sounds good to me, as the strategy sets concrete targets to reach by 2030, including a 50% cut in the use and risk of pesticides, a 20% cut in the use of fertilizers, a 50% reduction in sales of antimicrobials used for farmed animals and aquaculture, and a target to increase the size of EU's agricultural land dedicated to organic farming to at least 25%.

And finally - will this crisis cause a Renaissance for Hotel Restaurants?

Speaking from experience in all of our hotels, we paid great attention to sourcing the best Chefs and to provide highest quality cuisine not only to of course satisfy our resident guests, but to attract outside diners and to use our F&B operation as a strong marketing & sales tool...I think it’s a good time to promote in-hotel restaurants, and I am absolutely convinced that if we do it really well - and particularly in this situation, I believe people are feeling a lot safer in hotels. Both locals and tourists will be looking very closely at everything over the next year and beyond where they are staying, and where they want to dine, especially where hygiene and acceptable social distancing availability is concerned. Guest will find trust and faith in the strong brands. They’ll prefer to stay in their cocooning little bubble instead of running out the door and enjoy the excellent facilities, the produce and products and the reputation of our hotels. Therefor, if we do it well, we’ll see a renaissance – back to the good old days (20 or more years ago) when all the best restaurants were all in hotels. We lost many of them but now is the time to win back their patronage back! Our hotels are arguably better equipped to cope with the economic pressures of 2020 than most of the independent restaurants: We are not paying rent for the restaurants and bars as they are within the footprint of our hotels – we don’t have separate energy and maintenance bills and we have shared back of house services with accounting etc. We can afford to have more staff, we can afford to have higher quality products, we can charge less coming out of this thing because we’re not carrying so many of those fixed costs. I think we have a chance to win back some of that trust and loyalty from consumers and guests.


If you go back in time all around the world, the hotel companies would go out and find the best chefs and pay them massive amounts of money, they could invest a lot into the fit-outs, they had a well-trained staff, they would have an army of people; they could afford to have the best of the best in charge. A great opportunity for younger entrepreneurs and chefs to start something new and to feed on the now ready market. Well, we now can capture back a nice chunk of business! However and obviously, outside restaurants can and will also 'execute their own renaissance’ after the crisis, even though the ones in hotels with their lower overhead and proximity to guest rooms will probably find themselves at an advantage. Restaurants, chefs and third-party delivery c o m p a n i e s a re b e i n g g i v e n a u n i q u e opportunity to try out new ideas and enter new

geographical regions with little overhead and little risk. With tech giants like Google and Amazon investing in ghost kitchen startups and delivery services, the time is ripe for the concept to grow legs - it’s big business. So yes, we’re already seeing a paradigm shift in how restaurants get started, and in how they operate. Restaurateurs wanting to get in the game will have immense opportunities; it will just look a lot different than it does today. However, it does not change our opinion re g a rd i n g i t s n e g a t i v e i m p a c t o n o u r environment. We definitely prefer our sustainable approach, and I personally would encourage Chefs to pursue to broaden their horizon and also explore what the insect cuisine has to offer - but that’s for a different speech and I thank you for attending this event!

Stay healthy & confident!



CoutureHospitalityConcept


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The Sustainable Question from Rocco Bova General Manager CHABLÉ Hotel YUCATÁN

HoteliersGuild


Since I joined HoteliersGuild and researching what truly sustainable means, I have been listening to dozens of podcasts and virtual conferences, read several articles and investigated for over 6 months about this relevant subject. Not only because is one of the main objectives of HoteliersGuild, but also because it is becoming an obligation for us hoteliers and how we will help transform the future of travel & hospitality. Nowadays you hear and see it all, from ecolodges, to eco camps, to glamping, to biomimicry design. Every company is trying really hard to comply with what the future consumer is looking for. But have we really understood what sustainable is? The Cambridge dictionary states the following : causing little or no damage to the environment and therefore able to continue for a long time. The ability to continue for long time (this is a relative concept) and with little or no impact to the environment is basically impossible in hospitality. Let’s examine a few examples. I am sure you will agree with me that in the past 10-15 years over 100 new hotel brands have been created to fulfil the needs of new market segments, and demand in travel. What is exactly the need to create new brands all the time when we already have so many out there and how long will they Dubai and many other survive? Maybe the opportunity should be destinations over-tourism has given to independent hoteliers to create new destroyed the environment, for concepts rather than new brands.

example Phi Phi island in

Looking at a building as such, how much is the Thailand, Boracay in Philippines, environment? Some basic impact on the Venice in Italy, so much so that materials used in construction like reinforced concrete, glass, they had to be temporarily closed a l u m i n i u m , p l a s t i c , insulating materials (which includes the highly toxic or limit the influx of tourists to fibreglass, polystyrene and polyurethane) without avoid further or even irreversible mentioning all the logistics to move things damages “ and people around during the time of construction are not necessarily having a low impact on the environment. Less when mega hotels, like the ones in Las Vegas, with more than 1000 rooms are built with such materials and logistic.

My point here is basically on the fact that we have the resources and knowledge to make best decisions. For example, instead of building 544 hotels in Dubai running at an average of around 70% (statistics in 2019) why don’t we keep it to a lower number and enjoy higher occupancy? This may not be 100% sustainable but certainly helps. Dubai is only an example but we all know very well that in many other destinations over-tourism has destroyed the environment, for example Phi Phi island in Thailand, Boracay in Philippines, Venice in Italy, so much so that they had to be temporarily closed or limit the influx of tourists to avoid further or even irreversible damages. Governments need to begin to scrutinise and provide permission for building with stricter regulations and controls, and not just doing it for the sake of boosting the economy and providing jobs. That’s not the solution. While it is clear that a better economy is providing livelihood to hundreds of direct employees and thousands of indirect jobs, tourism projects needs to be more thoughtful in how they believe to create value to a


destination and return on the investment to owners, beside providing its guests with a truly authentic experience. With the advances in technology, research for new materials and construction techniques we can certainly lower the impact on the environment to say the least. Look at for example prefabricated or modular construction like the AC Hotel by Marriott in Manhattan, not only shrinks the time of construction but also allows a lower impact on the neighbourhood with trucks and the number of people involved in the building site. Or better some architects Franco of Luxury Frontiers, Escapes and Bill Bensley of their projects with nature materials which are more blends well in low density Or maybe we just need go or those which are demand and offer in the

“ Look at some architects and designers like Luca Franco of Luxury Frontiers, Louis Thompson of Nomadic Escapes and Bill Bensley of Bensley Design, who design their projects with nature first in mind and using materials which

I am even thinking to say (I me) that Airbnb’s business are more sustainable idea, just like Uber and its I guess only time will tell if better than the traditional one but thinking in cold blood, this is what make me know.

“

and designers like Luca Louis Thompson of Nomadic Bensley Design, who design first in mind and using sustainable, lighter that constructions. altogether for smaller hotels necessary after studying destination.

know that hoteliers will hate model after all was not a bad car sharing app. the sharing economy really is feel reconsidering everything I

I am of the opinion that we definitely need a reset button, a new start where we can assess the past 50 years of hospitality and re-evaluate what we need to do moving forward. Maybe this pandemic is the right time to do so. Maybe it is a sign. This is something we need to consider if we want to see future generations enjoying nature and be a traveller not just a tourist.



CHABLÉ



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Falling in Love in Times of Corona… from Chef Dimitris Katrivesis a distinguishes member of HoteliersGuild’s Chef Chapter

HoteliersGuild


“ I visited Tinos island last October for the first time and I fall in love with the island right away. I felt that this is the place that I wanted to create a restaurant, that will reflect my personality, my experiences, my travels – everything I have lived and loved up till now. It was not only the landscape but also the balancing vibes of the island as well as the wealth of the land, offering so many treasures from fresh fish, local cheeses, beautiful wine, amazing vegetables. Our decision to proceed with a new restaurant came right away and we started working on the new project, expected to be operating in the spring of 2020 with a space to seat about 100 + people. We started with enthusiasm but we had to stop everything – from construction to staff training when the COVID crisis broke out. Greece was just getting out of the financial crisis and all of us working in the hospitality industry in Greece was starting to think positively again. But in March everything was put on ice again. We decided that THAMA, our new restaurant, would anyway open this summer, and we had to adapt our – anyhow – new business What we have seen different. Something that model to something we had not experienced in the past. Tinos is an island up till now is that where restaurants mainly expect traffic from tourism. We knew that this guests are still looking is not a year that we will see the feedback we were expecting, but we for new dining wanted to go on and check how our business m o d e l w i l l w o r k . We experiences, find that decided to start with a smaller team but to still the greatness of the warm feeling of good offer good food and the top service we wanted to provide. And above all, with the responsibility hospitality - the towards our people and our customers and all the ‘Philoxenia’… “ safety requirements.

What we have seen up till now is that guests are still looking for new dining experiences, find that warm feeling of good hospitality the philoxenia the eagerness to show hospitality - and also feel safe. Our restaurant is not a type of restaurant that could adjust and work exclusively with delivery or takeout model, as it was intended to focus on dine-in. However, we didn’t say no to delivery requests for villas or yachts were big families and groups or friends were staying and preferred to enjoy their meals at their privacy. It is something new for us, as fine dining is not just food but the whole experience. We had to adapt our business – from finding new packaging to the new marketing actions to attract new customers. Some people think that we are crazy opening a new restaurant this summer but we didn’t want to stop our dream coming true. It is a difficult period of course, but we decided to think of this summer as our “training” period, the one that we will check our strengths and minuses and be as we really want to be next year.




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Conservation, Community & Credibility from Angelina Villa-Clarke Journalist & HoteliersGuild Media Supporter

HoteliersGuild


How One Locally-Owned Safari Brand Is Making Its Voice Heard Now, more than ever, the travel world is changing. Spurred on by the momentary pause caused by the pandemic, coupled with a growing concern for our planet, travellers will be looking for more and more ways to find meaningful experiences through journeys entrenched in authenticity and with companies who work responsibly with local communities. Offering just that – and more – is African Bush Camps (ABC), which has 15 luxury tented bush camps and lodges across Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Zambia. This line-up includes an upcoming new opening, Khwai Leadwood, in the community-run Khwai Concession in Botswana’s Okavango Delta. Sustainable and responsible tourism are at the heart of the company, which is spearheaded by CEO Beks Ndlovu, a Zimbabwean who founded the company in 2006 and is renowned as one of Zimbabwe’s top professional guides, as well as being one of a handful of black CEOs leading the way in the safari industry. Born in the small rural village of Lupane, on the outskirts of Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, Beks brings first-hand knowledge of growing up in the bush to his senior position. After qualifying as a professional guide in 1999, he began to work towards realising his dream of creating his own portfolio of camps, which focused on offering a standout guest experience anchored with exceptional guides. In 2006, African Bush Camps – known as ABC – was born. Its USP is all about trailblazing true and meaningful interaction with local people and communities. A fully immersive safari experience with ABC means offering guests the chance to know and understand the indigenous communities in the areas where the camps operate in, and, crucially, to see how their tourism ‘dollar’ empowers the locals. Together with his wife and partner, Sophia, Beks has also formed the African Bush Camps Foundation. The Foundation runs a number of communityorientated projects, which are focused on sustainable tourism development, through education, conservation, resource management and community empowerment and is an initiative close to the couple’s hearts. Now, as the camps gear up to reopen on 1 September 2020, Beks talks exclusively to Forbes about the growth of his company, the meaning of immersive and sustainable travel and his experience as a black leader. What inspired you to create African Bush Camps? African Bush Camps was born out of my desire to reclaim the authentic safari experience. I had a dream to create a portfolio of camps, which not only reincarnated the fantasy of ‘Old Untouched Africa’ but also focused on the guest experience and delivered the essence of a great safari – which is interconnected with exceptional guides. I wanted to offer creative and imaginative experts to teach their guests about Africa. A real safari experience is not complete without the interaction of local people and communities and I wanted to bring to the fore a fully immersive offering, where guests would get to know and understand the indigenous communities in the


areas, as well as the wildlife, while making a critical contribution to the well-being of the communities and local environment. What is your USP? What stands you apart from other similar businesses? African Bush Camps is a family, and we pride ourselves on our personalised guiding and hosting. Our camps focus on guest connection, allowing for visitors to experience the essence of a privately guided safari and a truly magical experience in the wild and remote areas where we operate. We offer a holistic adventure that expresses the philosophy we stand by: authenticity. Our safaris are not just about wildlife, they are about a 360° approach to travel in a sustainable way: sharing and conserving Africa together while having a complete restorative personal journey.

Safari experiences at Khwai Bush Camp, Botswana. (CREDIT: AFRICAN BUSH CAMPS)

As a black leader, in a white-dominated industry, what are the challenges, and indeed, the insights you have come across? The safari industry has traditionally been a white industry and it very much still is. I climbed the ranks to become a leading safari guide, and in 2006 I realised my dream of opening my own Safari Camp in Hwange National Park, close to where I grew up. Unless you were from a wealthy family, securing investment and funding were hugely challenging. I was lucky – during my guiding years I had met some incredibly good acquaintances, who became personal friends along the way, who were incredibly supportive of my dreams and plans. Growing up in rural Zimbabwe, I understood the local culture; I also knew the problems and issues facing local people. We cannot tackle the dynamics of conservation until we understand the circumstances of the local people. This earned me community trust, which is critical when operating in wilderness areas around community land. All staff in African Bush Camps’ properties are local people and it is my commitment that by operating in these areas we give communities the opportunity to forge their own paths.


As the spotlight is being turned on diversity and inclusion, how can the travel industry improve in these areas? We have all been stuck in a paradigm of the past and our industry needs an overhaul in our approach, our thinking, and the way in which we manage our businesses. Having made the most of the opportunities I have been granted, I believe that we all have a responsibility to inspire others. To show that there are ways to not only improve your living circumstances, but to make a mark in the leadership space in both the tourism and conservation spheres. I would like to see more of this transformation in the industry, especially knowing that there are many guides who have such great potential to be future industry leaders. There are too many stories told by foreigners who have come to Africa, set up a life and started up successful safari camps or operations. It is not necessarily a bad thing, but Africa has so many capable black people who can build businesses and tell their own stories and it is this diversity and inclusivity that the industry needs to support. Our industry needs to reshape itself for an inevitable future which can only serve us better. We need to be able to attract people of colour into more senior positions to give us the diversity we need to form perspectives and make decisions as a collective culture. I would like to see more industry initiatives and funds that support and groom new African leaders and ambassadors of conservation for the future. The transformation should not just be with our staff but our target market – from locals to foreign black travellers – they should be encouraged to travel and experience our amazing continent.

Inside the new Khwai Leadwood Camp in Botswana. (CREDIT: AFRICAN BUSH CAMPS)

How important was it for you to have a responsible focus when it came to the operation? It was – and still is – of huge importance in the setting up of ABC. Our camps are sustainable, with minimal impact on the environment and our African Bush Camps Foundation projects empower local communities. My passion is in preserving remote lands, such as the beautiful areas in Southern Africa where we have camps. We don’t just measure our success by our bottom line but on the positive impact we have on an area.


To recreate the authentic safari experience, it was imperative that we found the right wild locations for our guests. Not only did this mean operating sustainably but also responsibly, and this meant building mutually beneficial relationships with local communities and wildlife. It goes hand in hand.

Leopard seen at Khwai Leadwood Camp, Botswana. (CREDIT: AFRICAN BUSH CAMPS)

What are the aims behind the African Bush Camps Foundation? I believe in tourism, community and conservation being interconnected. The foundation was set up to provide sustainable development, through creating opportunities that empower rural communities, where we are based, in vulnerable wildlife areas across Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Zambia. The foundation looks to create opportunities for these communities th ro u g h e d u c ati on , c o m m u n i t y empowerment and conservation. I believe that the tourism dollar needs to have a trickle-down effect, and that the communities in the areas should benefit positively from tourism. To d a t e , w e h a v e initiated over 40 projects, which not only benefit communities in wildlife areas, but also tie in strongly with the conservation ethos of African Bush Camps as a whole. ABCF is primarily funded through ABC Beks Ndlovu – paving the way for the future. which donates 2.5% of its annual turnover. Due to the pandemic we have not been able to welcome guests, so funding is a real challenge and thankfully as shareholders we have been able to personally step in. We need to ensure that we remain operational so we can continue to support crucial projects that are needed now more than ever and protect the last 16 years of investment over these coming months. As a guide, what has been the best wildlife experience you have encountered? In 1999, I worked as guide in Matusadona, Lake Kariba in Zimbabwe. This region was popular for tourism due to its ample black rhino, which were guarded by rangers 24 hours a day. On waking up one morning, I learnt that one of the rhinos had a baby. This was very exciting because there


haven’t been any births for a matter of years. I had a couple on safari with me and I thought about taking them on a tracking exercise to find the mother with her baby. Black rhinos are quite temperamental and when they have calves, they are even more emotional – so this was something we needed to bear in mind before starting to track the animals. After tracking the mother for a significant amount of time, and sidestepping various breeding herds of elephants, we finally found her. We were a good 40 yards from her when we could witness her baby – a tiny replica of a humongous animal. At that point, the wind changed, and the mother picked up on our smell. Black rhino are insecure due to their weak eyesight, and the animal ‘approaches’ scents – literally sniffs them out – to assert their surroundings. After the mother gave a loud, aggressive snort, we knew she was heading for us. In that moment, we realised the only tree close enough for any of us to climb was about 10 yards away – I decided to distract the mother and run to the tree as she charged for me. Meanwhile, the others got a bit further away, trying to climb into another tree. As they got to safety, I tried to get down from my setting, but the rhino kept on coming back. Eventually, we managed to ‘escape’ from the mother only to encounter another breeding herd of elephants, and we had another round of trying to escape unscathed. We did, luckily, finally arrive at our vehicle. It was such an amazing, scary experience to remember. Sadly, only a few days after our experience, I again found the mother, but this time with her calf’s carcass at the bottom of a tree – after it was killed by a leopard in the night. Although this was a natural cycle of nature, I couldn’t help but to be saddened by the sight.

Somalisa Como, Zimbabwe. (CREDIT: DOOKPHOTO)

Empowering your community is an important part of what you do, how do you manage this across your portfolio? Currently, there are eight communities surrounding our properties and which we support through our foundation. We have a small team of dedicated managers and counsellors who are present in these communities, who monitor needs and the progress of our projects, help raise funds and see to that the money raised is dispersed across priority projects. Many of these include skill-building workshops, income-generating groups (arts, crafts, clothing, ironsmiths) where we help people create a self-sustainable lifestyle (one working member can support up to eight people in the communities). Our everyday staff members also act as representatives of ABC, custodians of wildlife in that they are either from the communities or have built strong bonds with people from the villages. The


issue of wildlife/human conflict has always been rife in our communities and it is up to our staff members to uphold an understanding of the importance of wildlife conservation, and so that people can grip the value of their presence for the success of the industry, which, in turn, can only benefit them as well.

One of the bedrooms at the new Khwai Leadwood Camp. (CREDIT: AFRICAN BUSH CAMPS)

How has C0vid affected you and the business? Personally, the uncertainty that comes with ‘not knowing’ how long we will have to face Covid-19 is in everything we do. For any business owner, it is enough to keep you awake at night. But our team has been very supportive regardless of the steps we needed to take to ensure a future for the company. Of course, our resources are not limitless, but we can only remain hopeful with the view of recovering in the near future. Since the news of the outbreak in late December 2019, our team went into full response mode as we anticipated the brooding storm for 2020. At that time, the New Year still looked promising on our books. Our plans for expansion were on track and interest in our new developments was seeing a healthy increase. Considering our properties’ locations, and the fact that most of our guests were international travellers, we needed to think on our feet and be a step ahead in precautionary health and hygienic measures. It was in February that we introduced new training guidelines for staff and put routine measurements in place to ensure we safeguard our employees and guests’ wellbeing. From April, we entered a ‘curl up’ period and decided to ‘hunker’ down for four months while assisting clients postpone their trips. At our properties, we are using this time to manage the camps’ upkeep and give employees the chance to expand their skills beyond their usual roles. Hosts, waiters, chefs, and room service staff are urged to go out into the bush with our guides and be placed in the position of the guest to learn about the environment. Our guides are spending more time in the bush to learn from each other and act as custodians of wildlife; monitoring and overseeing the local areas to help spot any dangers to the animals. Currently, our national parks are exposed to the threats posed by the dire situations that people living on the parks’ outskirts find themselves in. With the many job losses that have resulted from


the Covid-19 lockdown regulations in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana, electricity, water, and basic food items are less accessible. This may drive people to turn to hunting to provide for their communities or for commercial sale. The parks are vast and remote with limited fencing. Antipoaching units are still operating with the help of the army and national parks’ rangers, and we at ABC are supporting some of these efforts, lending an extra hand to help monitor the borders. We plan to open all our camps (including the new Khwai Leadwood) on 1 September 2020. When we have more clarity from governments, and an outlook on the de-phasing of lockdown levels, we can make more sound decisions and predications on our business’ direction. For now, while all staff is on our payroll, we are using this time to be as creative as our resources allow us to be. Do you think the travel industry will change because of it? When we do start to travel again, the experience will undoubtedly be a vastly different one, but hopefully one in which we all make better decisions and more responsible choices. If there are some positives to be taken from this global crisis then it has been an opportunity for tourists and tourism providers to assess their part in travel and how they can improve practices. Travel is a force for good, so perhaps it might shift towards a more responsible and thoughtful way of travelling which will reduce over-tourism, fight carbon emissions, and increase contribution to local communities. What is the highlight of the new camp in Botswana? Khwai Leadwood’s biggest drawcard is undoubtedly the plentiful and extraordinary wildlife on the doorstep – you will never be bored here. Its varied ecosystem provides a patchwork of lagoons, shallow flooded pans, open grass plains and woodland forests – it is just beautiful. The Khwai Concession area was formed by the local Khwai villagers and is managed by the K h w a i Development Trust. The area used to be a h u n t i n g concession but is now actively managed as a conservation area. The villagers took over the area when they moved out of the Moremi region when the Moremi Game Reserve was formed. The local community now runs all the ecotourism initiatives, actively Dinner at Kanga Camp redefines social distancing. (CREDIT: DOOKPHOTO) conserve the environment, and manage the wildlife in the concession. They are an inspirational example of a local community who live in peaceful harmony with wildlife. Like most of our camps it’s family-friendly, but small and intimate with just seven tents. Social distancing here is not a problem, with lots of private spaces and tents spaced out along the river under the shade of leadwood and sycamore trees.


What next for African Bush Camps? ‘Uncertainty’ has certainly earned its place in the dictionary this year. The world has been in a tug war of feedback-and-response, trying to keep abreast of the pandemic’s developments to again pull back on future steps. The virus’ persistence has succeeded to filter the value of a years’ time (even more) in a matter of weeks. But humans are resilient. We learn to adapt, and sometimes, if we are good at it, we flourish. High-end safari operators prioritise the luxury of privacy, space, and attention to detail to personalise the experience for their guests. Our largest camp has 24 rooms (mostly six rooms for a maximum of 12 beds) which only permits two people per room. Villas and family units are prepared with interconnecting passageways on request. Our vehicles transport a maximum of six guests and our partnering air travel operator also has a limited capacity allowance. Considering recent developments, and aligning those with anticipated changes, low volume, high-impact tourism may be the way forward as opposed to mass tourism – where a large number of people gather within confined spaces. International revenue is what we aim to secure in the long term, considering its impact on conservation, community input, and development. The current reality is that we cannot rely on this revenue. We have no certain guarantee that international travel is going to bounce back immediately. So we are thinking more about local tourism, which can enable us for the interim to keep the ‘ball rolling’. Where we rely on local suppliers and service providers, supporting the local industry can be a sound way to help us build from the ground up before reeling in international travellers. It is a natural step in progression for us as a local operator. We need to be able to relaunch everything we do. If it is a matter of following a chronological order of business, starting afresh, that is what I believe we need to do. Regarding international travel, we will likely experience a ‘slow burn’ in the restructuring of the industry. And since this is the case, we can use this time to rebuild our essence as a company on the local front.

Sleep easy at Kanga Camp. (CREDIT: DOOKPHOTO)

We are in this together and we will recover together. This is a time to reflect, reconnect and rejuvenate our senses before reliving the world in a renewed glory. In the wilderness of the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, on the riverbanks of the Khwai River in Botswana and the inclining waters of the Zambezi River that flows in the Victoria Falls, we will be waiting for our explorers.


https://africanbushcamps.com


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A turnkey solution for truly sustainable Lodges tailor-made for EcoLuxury Hospitality Industry… from Charles Gallavardin Co-Founder of KANOPYA LIVING

HoteliersGuild


A familial background ... At the start of the KANOPYA adventure, a couple of Franco-Czech architects, Charles and Tereza GALLAVARDIN, and a family history situated between the world of wood construction (many carpenters in their families) and family members involved in innovative industries with a humanist approach (inventors of the hot-air balloon, builders of the 1st railway lines with the related engineering works, doctors in cardiology and psychiatry, builders of the 1st social housing…). An observation on the state of the world and on the tourism industry At a time of global warming, where biodiversity is endangered by urbanization, where a sixth plastic continent floats in the middle of the ocean, where the majority of humans live in cities, the architects and engineers must assume their responsibility and take part in the collective effort. The same goes for upscale tourism, which has to reinvent itself in part, to be more in line with the expectations of an urban public in search of authenticity, of reconnection with Nature, without compromising its expectations in terms of comfort while preserving environmental resources and having a positive impact on the communities of the destinations concerned. This means focusing on Resorts at a human scale, which preserves a large part of privacy while offering common spaces facilitating quality human relations and promoting well-being in the broad sense of the term. Designers must be innovative, without falling into the lure of "high-tech" which often takes us away from the essential, but rather “Less is more” remains a move towards high-end lowtech solutions, requiring topical and relevant motto Research & Development to that the solutions proposed when we speak of “truly are really beneficial for operators and Customers : “Less is more” remains a topical and relevant motto sustainability”, far from when we speak of “truly s u s t a i n a b i l i t y ” , f a r f ro m “green washing” or “green washing” or announcing a noble idea but announcing a noble idea where its opposite is often done… !

but where its opposite is often done… !”

Birth of the KANOPYA Concept The combination of this family history and the challenges of building a truly sustainable world led Charles and Tereza to design this Concept of wooden Lodges protected by a stretched canvas, which does not compromise on the sustainable aspect of the product (carbon footprint low, biosource materials, built for the long term, very low energy consumption, low need for maintenance, etc.). Being based in Vietnam, all the prefabrication is done in Saigon, the Lodges being delivered in Kit to the four corners of the world, in particular in the countries where the skills in high-end construction are limited. Partnerships are possible at this stage of the project to carry out the prefabrication of the KANOPYA Lodges on the American and European continents (as soon as the Covid-19 is behind us), always with a view to reducing the carbon footprint of our Lodges and to enhance local resources and skills ... A multidisciplinary team & 18 months of R&D Kanopya lodges took several months of design and optimization to get to such a level of detail and leave nothing to chance. Charles and Tereza brought in the best engineers, each in their field, to design these little gems of Low-Tech technology: energy efficiency engineers, wood structure engineer, tensile structure engineers, lighting designer, wastewater treatment engineer by plant


filters, structural engineers for the design of removable swimming pools, economists ... KANOPYA lodges are not a simple "tent" but a real "living unit" in timber, insulated and enhanced with a canvas that protects from solar radiation (tropical countries or hot) and bad weather (tropical rains, snow, etc.) to ensure a long service life (up to 50 years warranty for the wooden structure) and above all to offer the best conditions of comfort to users ... while maintaining the "Tent" aspect which, in the imagination, refers to the cabin, to adventure and invites to travel ... A UNIQUE product While the Covid19 pandemic is still relevant, the KANOPYA Lodges seem to answer all of the essential questions of the Eco-Luxury Hotel to anticipate the Post-Covid period: Elegance of shapes (organic, inspired by nature), real 5 * comfort (thermal, acoustic, separate WC ...), energy efficiency (around 60KW/h/m2/year for air-conditioned lodges and only 10 KW/h/m2/year for the "autonomous" versions operating with 2 solar panels), resistance to extreme climatic conditions (typhoons, earthquake), prefabrication in the workshop (which makes it possible to preserve natural sites and ensure that workers work in optimum and decent conditions), speed of Installation (deliverable in KIT, installation of 20 lodges in 10 weeks) and possibility of dismantling (in case of various plagues or neighborhood problem), materials or products containing almost chemistry-free (wellness aspect and air quality), unique experience (openings to the landscape at 360 degrees and reconnection with nature with terraces suspended between sky and vegetation), minimum impact on site (construction on stilts integrated into the p existing system)… A start-up with great potential KANOPYA LIVING is a Start-Up relying on the fact that a good analysis of the issues and of the M ar ke t o pe ns up n u m e r o u s opportunities to meet the needs of building low “footprint”, low carbon hotel accommodation that is nevertheless desirable and inspiring for retirement: At the heart of Nature, seaside, tropical forests, rice fields, deserts… The innovation of these lodges lies in the combination of skills and therefore the intelligence of the solutions offered… This is what makes Kanopya Lodges so attractive by the community of hoteliers always on the lookout for truly innovative “products” ahead of the eco-luxury market. A wide range of services for a Global sustainable Approach KANOPYA aims to sell high-end and ecological turnkey Lodges to hotel project leaders with an advanced awareness of what an Eco-Resort should be in a world that will seek to preserve natural places of exception (protected natural parks - marine or land, incredible landscapes, unusual or isolated places, etc.). For this, Kanopya Team and all of its partners are able to offer a wide range of services, ranging from impact studies or master plans, from landscape design to water management, from energy efficiency to the study of a specific structure for extreme weather conditions, including Interior Design and lighting design, and the conception of


complete Resorts with a global approach and always in a logic of sustainability and high-end authenticity. Customization possible and desirable KANOPYA lodges are sold "naked" but it is of course possible to customize them to bring the "sense of place" essential to a quality project when it comes to immersion in a landscape and more broadly integration into a local culture. For more than 10 Lodges, the color and pattern of Serge Ferrari canvases can be modified either to blend in with the landscape as well as possible, or for branding reasons. The envelope of our lodges is covered with a rain barrier film which ensures perfect water proofing, even if the canvas already provides very good protection against the rain. Above, decorative panels in braided bamboo or other whose pattern and material will be borrowed from local know-how, to connect the lodges to the territory and enhance local skills. Finally, all the interior design can be defined according to the "story telling" of the project or the atmosphere that we want to give to the lodges: minimalist interior in fresh tones, colorful interior with very comfortable furniture, other ... apart from the structure (wooden frame with wooden beam in glue lamellae inspired by the rib of a leaf), everything is to be defined in terms of finishing, selection of furniture and sanitary facilities, color palette‌ The Kanopya team can of course take charge of this part, according to a Design Brief well defined by the Client. Otherwise, we can imagine collaborations with talented Interior Designers who will know how to enhance our Lodges. Kanopya already has a specific partnership with the famous architect and interior designer Yasmine Mahmoudieh of the London-based agency Mahmoudieh Design. Sharing the same values in terms of sustainability and innovation and having real complicity, it is only natural that this partnership was born. But the door remains open for numerous collaborations with renowned architects and interior designers wishing to bring KANOPYA Concept anywhere in the World ... Several projects in pipelines The KANOPYA Lodges are very recent on the Market. A first round of funding was made with renowned operators involved in luxury and sustainability, but also with independent investors wishing to develop different projects and very interested in the speed of the process between ordering the Lodges and their key installation. Turnkey from order to installation on any site (about 6 months), including in remote areas and / or difficult to access, all the elements of our lodges being transportable by 2-3 men without special lifting equipment ... feedback is very positive and orders are coming: Vietnam, Sri Lanka, C a m e r o o n , Mediterranean basin. This very special and unfortunate period of a global pandemic is also an opportunity to question a certain form of tourism (mass or aggressive for natural sites and communities) a n d m o v e t o w a rd s luxury eco-tourism that offers prospects for future generations, by creating stable local jobs, by offering memorable stays to a public respectful of the world around them‌ This is the pure essence of KANOPYA‌


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Post COVID-19 Hospitality: The Green Recovery Imperative from Prof. Dr. Willy Legrand Department of Hospitality, Tourism and Event Management IUBH University of Applied Sciences

HoteliersGuild


“The hospitality industry has learned to adapt in order to keep operating and has shown agility and innovation in times of crisis” Hospitality and Tourism: The 2020 Reset Following a decade of record growth both in terms of international tourism arrivals and contribution to the global economy, the international travel industry came to a neat-total halt for a few months during the 2020 COVID-19 crisis. Unprecedented measures, including travel restrictions, border closures and lockdowns, were put in place by national governments to mitigate the spread of the corona virus. The tourism and hospitality industries are at the forefront of this humanitarian emergency, which turned into a financial crisis. However, the hospitality industry in particular has also shown to be one of most innovative sectors in uncertain times adapting to keep operating; from emergency housing, coronavirus quarantines and daytime offices to full hotel-to-hospital conversions. Additionally, hotel companies have continuously supported communities by offering free food and accommodation to frontline workers and donating food to local charities and people in need. However, such pandemic can prove to be an existential threat to many companies. The crisis has exposed some of the industry’s weaknesses, such as high operational and financial gearings, thus reducing the capability of hotels operating at low occupancy for an extended period of time. This situation will result in a recalibration of the entire hospitality sector with weaker players struggling for survival and others bouncing forward with stronger operations standard operating procedures and forward-looking, long-term strategies where key components include digitalization, sustainability and consumercentric processes. “The crisis has exposed some of the Particularly because “there’s nothing like a crisis to industry’s weaknesses, such as high ignite innovation” (Rigby, Elk and Berez, 2020). Crises, operational and financial gearings, thus as damaging as they may be, trigger opportunities to reducing the capability of hotels operating products, services and boost innovations in systems (Clark, 2020;). Hospitality innovation is at low occupancy for an extended period thriving despite, or perhaps because of the pandemic of time. This situation will result in a (Hollander, 2020). In the middle of the crisis, the recalibration of the entire hospitality U N W T O re c e i v e d 1 0 0 0 applications from startsector with weaker players struggling for ups and entrepreneurs in over 100 countries as survival and others bouncing forward with part of the Healing Solutions for Tourism Challenge stronger operations standard operating (UNWTO, 2020a). And while some hotels have been procedures and forward-looking, longslow in capturing the potential for term strategies.” digitalization, the 2020 crisis has sparked and fostered that digital transformation. However, COVID-19 has laid bare many of the weaknesses in the tourism and hospitality system, internally in terms of risk and hazard management, contingency and resiliency plans but also in the way the industry blindly deals with the natural capital (de Bellaigue, 2020). The days when tourism, as an umbrella industry, was praised as the low-impact strategy to develop economies and bring in foreign currencies are gone. Thus, adaptability, cross-functional thinking and commercial acumen are all necessary skills to move past the 2020 reset button in other words to bounce forward, rather than bouncing back. Post COVID-19 Hospitality: The Green Recovery Imperative “Any new hotel building opening its doors today, which is not a nearly zero energy hotel or striving for carbon neutrality, becomes a burden for the industry as a whole in the long term” The unprecedented situation the industry faced in 2020 is a twofold blow; (1) the imperative to deal with climate emergency and biodiversity collapse amidst a humanitarian crisis all the while (2) ensuring some kind of economic recovery. In the short term, the world is looking into the global economic reset with fiscal action amounting $10 trillion (IMFBlog, 2020). All sectors of national economies are affected, including the travel and tourism industry with its multitude of players, from large global actors such as hotel brands or online travel agents (OTAs) to small and medium sized (SMEs) enterprises, many family-owned and operated restaurants, bed and breakfast homes, travel agencies and specialized tour operators. Over the past five years leading up


to 2020, one in four new employment opportunities was created by the travel and tourism sector globally (WTTC, 2020a). Traditionally a powerhouse of growth, regularly outperforming the global economy, the tourism industry contributed US$8.9 trillion to the global economy (10.3% of global GDP) in 2019 (WTTC, 2020b) before plunging in 2020. However, investments in the hotel industry have been high over the past two decades in an attempt to meet the demand but also to secure money in real estate projects. The global hotel construction pipeline (hotels in construction, in planning or pre-planning stages) has peaked at over 15,000 hotels in 2019 (Lodgingeconometrics, 2020a). Of those 15,000 hotels in the pipeline, over 6,800 are being constructed amidst the COVID-19 crisis. The steady growth of the number of hotels is associated with an explosion of sub-brands, usually under a larger known chain hotel brand. In the first quarter of 2020, the European hotel construction pipeline continued to expand where 45% of all projects were driven by four global hotel players only (Lodgingeconometrics, 2020b). The hotel industry is experiencing a drastic shift due to the COVID-19 crisis where numerous, financially weak players, potentially struggling before the crisis, will be pushed out by the fierce competition where larger, financially strong players may capture the opportunity to expand their brand portfolio, capturing future demand. Considering the central role the industry plays in the economy of many regions, it is not surprising that voices are being heard in regards to supporting the sector through the crisis. For example, the European Union (EU) advocates a ‘Marshall Plan for European Tourism’ which would help to “reinvent and rethink a sustainable, digital and resilient European tourism sector” (EC, 2020) making the industry central to the European Green Deal. The EU’s Green Deal goal is to achieve carbon “For example, the European Union (EU) neutrality, that is, net zero greenhouse gas advocates a ‘Marshall Plan for European emission by 2050 by injecting 1 trillion euros Tourism’ which would help to “reinvent in that transition (EC, 2019). From clean and rethink a sustainable, digital and energy to building and renovation and farm to f o r k s t r a t e g y, t h e hospitality industry has resilient European tourism sector” (EC, the unique opportunity to be at the core of this 2020) making the industry central to the transition, helping to shape the European Green Deal. The EU’s Green transformation and leading to a new, post Deal goal is to achieve carbon neutrality, COVID-19 normal. This transformation is that is, net zero greenhouse gas emission needed at a global scale. by 2050 by injecting 1 trillion euros in that T h i s n e w n o r m a l requires the hospitality industry to implement transition (EC, 2019).” solutions that lead to partial carbon neutrality by 2030 and full carbon neutrality by 2050. Thus, Green Recovery implies ‘green investments’. Green investments being expenses an organization, public or private, is making in order to mitigate the impact on the environment and adapt to the climate change reality. Mitigation and adaptation strategies are two complementary approaches for responding to climate emergency. For example, a hotel investing in greater building insulation facing more extreme heat waves can be considered adaptation. Investing in standalone renewable energy production would be considered mitigation as it seeks to limit future climate change. When investments are made in preserving or restoring natural capital such as investing in standing forest, then mitigation and adaptation strategies work in tandem by regulating major climatic events, supplying society and the economy with ecosystem services. Green recovery also implies creating jobs; a priority for countries where millions have been thrown into unemployment. The International Energy Agency recently reported that, following a detailed analysis of the situation, targeting green jobs – such as retrofitting buildings to make them more energy efficient, putting up solar panels and constructing renewable energy plants – is more effective than pouring money into the high-carbon economy (IEA, 2020). Thus, the imperative to channel finance that supports the transition toward a low carbon, biodiversity-friendly economy. Considering the pipeline mentioned earlier and from a sustainability perspective: any new hotel building opening its doors today, which is not a nearly zero energy hotel (neZEH) or striving for carbon neutrality, becomes a burden for the industry as a whole in the long term. It is a dangerous planned obsolescence. A building is an asset, which remains more or less static for the next 30 to 40 years before it undergoes extensive renovations in its major components


such as heating ventilation and air condition systems. The only major issue here is that in 30 years, carbon neutrality must be achieved if is there is hope to keep climate change in line with science-based targets as set in the Paris Agreement (to limit global mean temperature increase below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue effort to limit to 1.5°C (UNFCCC, 2020)). So the question to be asking is: how do we create a hotel, which is kind to the environment (within the limits imposed by nature and the available resources), healthy to its workers, pleasing to its guests, efficient for the operators and profitable to its owners? A green recovery plan tackles these questions always with the three pillars of sustainability in mind; social, environmental and economic.

Towards 2050 The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) reports that the tourism industry plays a major role not only in economic recovery of destinations and creation of employment but is equally a driver for peace and security, cultural preservation and environmental protection. The tourism industry is recognized by the global community as a major player in tackling many of the sustainable development challenges listed under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The hospitality industry is at a crossroads in terms of sustainability management. Considering the current and future challenges and for the hotel industry to keep the pace set in global commitment such as the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the industry will need to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions per room per year by 90% by 2050, a close to full decarbonization (ITP, 2017). Additionally, while the industry has made some advances recently in terms of single-plastic usage within the operations over the past 12 months, the COVID-19 crisis has created additional challenges on that topic where hotels must balance health and sanitation requirements with sustainability requirements. Further mitigation of solid waste, including most notably food waste must be put in place, thus aligning industry goals to the SDGs. Finally, the industry has an obligation towards employees and communities in developing equitable conditions, providing employment and minimizing economic leakages to ensure a sustainable infrastructure development of destinations, particularly in the global south. Education plays a central role in ensuring a green recovery where the industry pivots and takes on the social, environmental and economic challenges; hospitality education must be at the forefront of a future-proofed industry. Hospitality leaders, managers and hospitality management graduates have the opportunity and obligation to make a difference as decisions made today will impact those who take the industry reigns tomorrow. References Clark, L. (2020). Innovation in a Time of Crisis. Harvard Business Publishing Corporate Learning. https://www.harvardbusiness.org/innovation-in-a-time-of-crisis/ de Bellaigue (2020). The End of Tourism. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2020/jun/18/end-of-tourism-coronavirus-pandemic-travel-industry Doval, E., & Negulescu, O. (2014). A model of green investments approach. Procedia Economic and Finance, 15, 847-852. EC (2019). The European Green Deal. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?qid=1588580774040&uri=CELEX:52019DC0640 EC (2020). Speech by Commissioner Breton on "A Marshall Plan for European Tourism". https://ec.europa.eu/commission/commissioners/2019-2024/breton/ announcements/speech-commissioner-breton-marshall-plan-european-tourism_en EDJNet (2020). One in ten Europeans lives on tourism. https://www.europeandatajournalism.eu/eng/News/Data-news/One-in-ten-Europeans-lives-on-tourism Hollander, J. (2020). Hospitality Innovation is Thriving Despite the Crisis (Q2 Innovation Report). https://hoteltechreport.com/news/q2-innovation-report IEA (2020). Sustainable Recovery World Energy Outlook Report. https://www.iea.org/reports/sustainable-recovery IMFBlog (2020). The Global Economic Reset—Promoting a More Inclusive Recovery. https://blogs.imf.org/2020/06/11/the-global-economic-reset-promoting-a-moreinclusive-recovery/ ITP (November 2017). Hotel Global Decarbonization Report. International Tourism Partnership. Retrieved from: https://www.tourismpartnership.org/blog/itp-carbonreport-provides-hotel-sectors-goal-mitigate-climate-change/. Lodgingeconometrics (2020a). The Global Construction Pipeline Hits Record High at 2019 Year-End. https://lodgingeconometrics.com/press-releases/ Lodgingeconometrics (2020b). Europe’s Hotel Construction Pipeline Continues to Expand in the First Quarter of 2020 Despite COVID-19 Pandemic. https:// lodgingeconometrics.com/press-releases/ Rigby, D.K., Elk, S. & Berez, S. (2020). Develop Agility That Outlasts the Pandemic. Harvard Business Review, May 15. https://hbr.org/2020/05/develop-agility-thatoutlasts-the-pandemic UNFCCC (2020). The Paris Agreement. United Nations Climate Change. https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/the-paris-agreement UNWTO (2017). European Union Tourism Trends. https://www.e-unwto.org/doi/pdf/10.18111/9789284419470 UNWTO (2020a). Healing Solutions for Tourism Challenge. https://www.unwto.org/healing-solutions-tourism-challenge UNWTO (2020b). International Tourism Numbers Could Fall 60-80% in 2020, UNWTO Reports. https://www.unwto.org/news/covid-19-international-tourist-numberscould-fall-60-80-in-2020 WTTC (2020a). Travel & Tourism Recovery Scenarios 2020 and Economic Impact from COVID-19. World Travel and Tourism Council. https://wttc.org/Research/ Economic-Impact/Recovery-Scenarios-2020-Economic-Impact-from-COVID-19 WTTC (2020b). Economic Impact Reports. World Travel and Tourism Council. https://wttc.org/Research/Economic-Impact


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Change Management in Times of Crises from our FOD supporter Riccardo Giacometti International Hotelier & Hospitality Coach

HoteliersGuild


Change Management in times of Crises; Or

Change an Innovation as the Way to survive the Crises In times of crisis such as these, change is booming. This is hardly surprising, given that the omnipresent Corona virus has set the corporate world in motion and is bringing numerous potential, if not urgent, change initiatives into focus: dealing with digitalization, implementation of new hygiene processes, rethinking products and services, improving efficiency and effectiveness, leadership principles and cultural issues. But no matter what exactly change is about, the same questions keep coming up: Is it better to manage change hierarchically or to make it participatory? Is it more important to keep the interests of investors in mind or those of employees and stakeholders? Is it more sensible to concentrate on the currently most acute concern or to work on several projects simultaneously and focus on urgent as well as long term change? It is about crisis-proof, holistic growth instead of growing again at any price and then rushing back into the next crisis. It’s about crisis-proof, all-inclusive growth, and that’s what is leading us to the big transformation in business structures and models. It’s no longer about efficiency but is about stability. In the age of “many things go,” the classic efficiency thinking ends because it overheats and is relatively vulnerable to crises. After efficiency comes resilience, the resilience of companies and systems remains dynamic and adapts even in crises. Consultant-driven management has led to increased efficiency in many companies, with the usual processes such as cost-cutting, cutbacks, and so on, primarily to maximize profits. But it is precisely this culture of efficiency that coronavirus is putting to an end. Entrepreneurs of the post-COVID-19 economy will increasingly rely on principles based on the knowledge of complexity and not always try to reduce everything to profits. This alone implies a huge change in our industry. In order to understand the economy after COVID-19, it must first be clear that in the current situation we must set the course for the future. The Zukunftsinstitut in Vienna has identified three stages that the economy will now go through. The three Stages Stage one is about the fundamental premise that health, security, and liquidity, will ensure survival of the company. • •

Stage two is the “now or never” window of opportunity. Here, it is a matter of rebooting with identity, creativity, speed, and getting back into a new normal way of doing business.

Stage three is then the change and adaptation, the new models like “many things go” instead of “anything goes”. The main lessons from the coronavirus crisis are localization, company strength, and attractiveness make the difference.

There is no return to the old world before COVID-19: let it go. With the coronavirus crisis, our world experiences not only the often-quoted slowdown or sometimes even a full stop or crash, but also an extreme deconstruction of everyday life with all the resulting economic relationships. It suddenly becomes more obvious what actually holds the world together and what does not. This is particularly true for questions of course development. Would it be a U, V or a W? So would it be a long valley through which we must suffer, or a very fast V? Or would it perhaps be a W, to say Stages of up and down? Maybe it will also be a WWW. Who knows? To a certain extent, the radical shutdown has given us a crash course in complexity. What is needed above all else now? In business matters, one needs the ability to make decisions and organize oneself. Every single company, of course, has different problems and different fears and challenges within this framework. Every hotel is different and has different needs even if it belongs to a chain. But all have something in common. All need to change and adapt to the new situation and the way of running a business. Digital Transformation It is dawning on many people that the digital transformation does not necessarily describe the introduction of a system such as SAP or other systems, but includes workflows, common processes, and decision-making processes. "Who will lead your digital transformation? a) CEO, b) CTO or c) COVID-19?" If it weren't so creepy, this question would be funny. No transformation in any company has experienced such consistent and rapid implementation as the one catalyzed by the coronavirus crisis. Because it just had to work. The employees could not, should not or did not want to commute to work, as the risk of infection was simply too high. Within a few hours or days, entire workplaces have been virtualized, even those whose presence requirement in the recent past was still close to 100%. What will this look like in the hotel industry in the future? The Four Seasons global sales office in Frankfurt has been closed, and the remaining employees are now working from home. Will this also be possible in the future for some hotel departments, not only for the head office? Or will there be no head offices at all in the future? We need to invest much more in digital networking and make far greater use of data analysis. Collective intelligence is at the heart of our everyday work, far more than the individual intelligence of the superstar leadership culture we have lived in until now. Digital tools and applications are becoming much more critical because decisions have to be based on real-time data and not on static Excel spreadsheets with old data. Change and Innovation I’m excited about change. In this time of change, we as leaders and the holders of the status quo are being put to the test. Success will come to those who can adapt the fastest and most effectively to the new needs of the market. Change can be so beautiful. Only now it comes faster than many could have foreseen or can handle. How do you manage to get change into the heads and hearts of your employees? What is the secret behind it? First find where to innovate and then start the change process.


Innovation Process Uses Design Thinking to allow you and your teams to develop new solutions to meaningful consumer challenges and opportunities. Design Thinking is a customer-centric and iterative method for solving complex problems and developing new ideas. With the Design Thinking method, you will succeed in developing a superior solution from the customer’s point of view, taking into consideration profitability, practicability, and desirability. Ask Questions: Great pioneers have the ability to ask questions that put the problem in a new light, question the status quo, or simply make room for a different kind of problem solution. Questioning allows us to challenge common knowledge with the power of provocative questions. ASK “WHY?” “WHY NOT?” AND “WHAT IF?” This helps to expand the mental framework and opens up possibilities. By digging deeper and asking probing, open-ended questions, one can gain meaningful insights. Challenging assumptions and the way it has always been done leads to new perspectives and different results. Observe – Understand Customer Needs: Great innovators act like anthropologists to observe consumer behavior, looking closely at how people act in different environments. New ideas can come from observing other people in their normal lives and asking yourselves, “Why are they doing this?” Innovators are always looking for small behavioral details in the activities of customers and other companies in order to gain insights into new approaches. Take a close look at how customer behavior has changed with the recent events of COVID-19. Observe a situation from various points of view and record it. Association: Connect the dots between ideas, processes, systems and consumer needs. Innovation comes about when seemingly unrelated stories and insights are combined to create new concepts that add value for the customer. Associating expands your brain’s ability to think differently. When you have a wealth of different experiences, it becomes easier to make connections. Work Together and Developing Ideas: A well-rounded solution requires the participation of many people. If you bring together different and unique perspectives, you are more likely to reflect the different perspectives of your customer. Collaboration and knowledge sharing while generating ideas are crucial to arrive at a value-added solution. Expand collaboration to experts outside your organization. Experiment and Implementing An experimenting culture is willing to take intelligent risks, learn quickly, and accept criticism. The best experiments are not designed to be perfect, but are carried out to prove that a concept has potential impact on the market. An experiment should prove that a concept meets a consumer need. The key is to “fail quickly” so that you can learn from it, make changes or optimizations, and test it again. Approach the change process systematically Of all the models, I find Kotter’s step-by-step plan the most helpful. This 10-steps plan is based on this. You can individually design your change process on this basis 10 steps to change success 1.

Employees recognize that the change is necessary.

2.

A team, representative of all levels from employee to manager, takes the lead.

3.

The leadership team identifies and collaborates with supporters in the departments concerned to develop a vision and strategy.

4.

The team explains the vision and strategy to those affected and promotes it. The change communication must be two-way!

5.

The team creates a framework to implement the change on a broad basis (removing obstacles, restructuring the organization, defining guidelines / processes, empowering employees, addressing resistance, creating communication channels and networking, clarifying responsibilities, and establishing feedback processes).

6.

Management frees up capacity among the employees involved to enable them to implement the change initiative. The change should not result in an excessive workload, which I’ve experienced myself. During a major change process, the workload on all departments increased significantly, because all adjustments and changes had to be implemented alongside daily business. Often this cannot be easily avoided, but under such conditions the initial motivation soon fades. Here it is important to keep an eye on the team and to offer support.

7.

The team sets goals that are rewarding and motivating, and which are celebrated as successes when achieved. Short, stand-up meetings provide new momentum and impulses to refine goals and procedures.

8.

Employees are involved in the change process through their own activities, which are preferably selfselected. Participation is important! And appropriate praise too, of course.

9.

Tangible successes strengthen the understanding of the change and the motivation to change.


10.

Changes are incorporated into the company culture and further refined.

New way of working + change management = learning organisation The methodology outlined above has proved to be effective. However, it is mostly practiced as a top-down approach. Let’s be honest: Although I started with “The employees recognize that the change is necessary” and in subsequent points I spoke mostly of “the team”, perhaps you understood the process this way at first: The bosses call the shots and the employees follow suit. How about doing it the other way around? Often it is the employees who have the best ideas. No wonder, since they are at the source, right in the middle of the operational processes. They experience first hand what works and what doesn’t. Tapping into potential Tap into this potential and you will have less trouble getting employees on board. That’s why I also mentioned that communication must be two-way and not just top-down (apart from the obligatory success messages that are fed back to management). A bottom-up, learning organization and new work are facets of the same concept: empowering employees so that they take the initiative and commit to the good of the company, because it is also for their own good. The path to a learning organization Your credo in change management should be: as much bottom-up as possible, as little top-down as necessary. •

Encourage your people to realize their potential. Give them opportunities to learn and take initiative.

In new processes, interdisciplinary teams play a major role. Their members acquire new skills and look beyond their own responsibilities. In this way they develop understanding for each other and for the concerns of the organization, and they devise creative new approaches.

Individual learning leads to the learning of the entire organization. This new learning culture should be anchored in the corporate culture. Perhaps you will manage to transfer it to customers, suppliers and others. Then everyone will benefit!

Change loses its threatening nature in learning organizations, because they are permanently transforming themselves, developing new solutions and methods flexibly and playfully.

In a digitalized world, which is changing faster than ever before, it is an enormous competitive advantage if you can transform your company into a learning organization. Retain employees By the way, you will be able to keep your valuable skilled workers longer. Employees commit themselves emotionally to a company that they are allowed to help shape. Especially in crisis situations, managers and executives have the opportunity to bind employees to themselves and the company. Communication is decisive for war Effective communication is half the battle, say many change management experts. Today, this can and should not only happen in meetings or via video conferencing. Digital chat programs enable networked communication between all stakeholders, and can also be used in a fun and informal manner as appropriate. But the best information doesn’t have to be sent out first, because it’s already there. The ten-step model for successful change initiatives makes your change plans easier to achieve. It works best if you empower your employees to be drivers of change. In this way you create a learning organization that welcomes change and integrates it into its corporate culture. The coming weeks will be a decisive moment for all companies to set the course. Will we succeed in making the leap into a resilience movement towards new, local, adaptive networks? Or will we fall back into our old patterns and risk to fail? The emphasis is on the fact that now is the chance for change and new ways. Compared to many other crises, we now all have a lot of time to think and question concepts and to rebuild them better afterward. Use this time and don’t waste it on irrelevant reporting and CMA (covering my *butt) strategies but set up a clear dashboard and KPI’s that guide you threw the crises. You can look forward to this journey with some optimism. Ask Questions: Great pioneers have the ability to ask questions that put the problem in a new light, question the status quo, or simply make room for a different kind of problem solution. Questioning allows us to challenge common knowledge with the power of provocative questions. ASK “WHY?” “WHY NOT?” AND “WHAT IF?” This helps to expand the mental framework and opens up possibilities. By digging deeper and asking probing, openended questions, one can gain meaningful insights. Challenging assumptions and the way it has always been done leads to new perspectives and different results. Observe – Understand Customer Needs: Great innovators act like anthropologists to observe consumer behavior, looking closely at how people act in different environments. New ideas can come from observing other people in their normal lives and asking yourselves, “Why are they doing this?” Innovators are always looking for small behavioral details in the activities of customers and other


companies in order to gain insights into new approaches. Take a close look at how customer behavior has changed with the recent events of COVID-19. Observe a situation from various points of view and record it. Association: Connect the dots between ideas, processes, systems and consumer needs. Innovation comes about when seemingly unrelated stories and insights are combined to create new concepts that add value for the customer. Associating expands your brain’s ability to think differently. When you have a wealth of different experiences, it becomes easier to make connections. Work Together and Developing Ideas: A well-rounded solution requires the participation of many people. If you bring together different and unique perspectives, you are more likely to reflect the different perspectives of your customer. Collaboration and knowledge sharing while generating ideas are crucial to arrive at a value-added solution. Expand collaboration to experts outside your organization. Experiment and Implementing An experimenting culture is willing to take intelligent risks, learn quickly, and accept criticism. The best experiments are not designed to be perfect, but are carried out to prove that a concept has potential impact on the market. An experiment should prove that a concept meets a consumer need. The key is to “fail quickly” so that you can learn from it, make changes or optimizations, and test it again. Approach the change process systematically Of all the models, I find Kotter’s step-by-step plan the most helpful. This 10-steps plan is based on this. You can individually design your change process on this basis 10 steps to change success •

Employees recognize that the change is necessary.

A team, representative of all levels from employee to manager, takes the lead.

The leadership team identifies and collaborates with supporters in the departments concerned to develop a vision and strategy.

The team explains the vision and strategy to those affected and promotes it. The change communication must be two-way!

The team creates a framework to implement the change on a broad basis (removing obstacles, restructuring the organization, defining guidelines / processes, empowering employees, addressing resistance, creating communication channels and networking, clarifying responsibilities, and establishing feedback processes).

Management frees up capacity among the employees involved to enable them to implement the change initiative. The change should not result in an excessive workload, which I’ve experienced myself. During a major change process, the workload on all departments increased significantly, because all adjustments and changes had to be implemented alongside daily business. Often this cannot be easily avoided, but under such conditions the initial motivation soon fades. Here it is important to keep an eye on the team and to offer support.

The team sets goals that are rewarding and motivating, and which are celebrated as successes when achieved. Short, stand-up meetings provide new momentum and impulses to refine goals and procedures.

Employees are involved in the change process through their own activities, which are preferably self-selected. Participation is important! And appropriate praise too, of course.

Tangible successes strengthen the understanding of the change and the motivation to change.

Changes are incorporated into the company culture and further refined.

New way of working + change management = learning organisation The methodology outlined above has proved to be effective. However, it is mostly practiced as a top-down approach. Let’s be honest: Although I started with “The employees recognize that the change is necessary” and in subsequent points I spoke mostly of “the team”, perhaps you understood the process this way at first: The bosses call the shots and the employees follow suit. How about doing it the other way around? Often it is the employees who have the best ideas. No wonder, since they are at the source, right in the middle of the operational processes. They experience first hand what works and what doesn’t.


Tapping into potential Tap into this potential and you will have less trouble getting employees on board. That’s why I also mentioned that communication must be two-way and not just top-down (apart from the obligatory success messages that are fed back to management).

A bottom-up, learning organization and new work are facets of the same concept: empowering employees so that they take the initiative and commit to the good of the company, because it is also for their own good. The path to a learning organization •

Your credo in change management should be: as much bottom-up as possible, as little top-down as necessary.

Encourage your people to realize their potential. Give them opportunities to learn and take initiative.

In new processes, interdisciplinary teams play a major role. Their members acquire new skills and look beyond their own responsibilities. In this way they develop understanding for each other and for the concerns of the organization, and they devise creative new approaches.

Individual learning leads to the learning of the entire organization. This new learning culture should be anchored in the corporate culture. Perhaps you will manage to transfer it to customers, suppliers and others. Then everyone will benefit!

Change loses its threatening nature in learning organizations, because they are permanently transforming themselves, developing new solutions and methods flexibly and playfully.

In a digitalized world, which is changing faster than ever before, it is an enormous competitive advantage if you can transform your company into a learning organization.

Retain employees By the way, you will be able to keep your valuable skilled workers longer. Employees commit themselves emotionally to a company that they are allowed to help shape. Especially in crisis situations, managers and executives have the opportunity to bind employees to themselves and the company. Communication is decisive for war Effective communication is half the battle, say many change management experts. Today, this can and should not only happen in meetings or via video conferencing. Digital chat programs enable networked communication between all stakeholders, and can also be used in a fun and informal manner as appropriate. But the best information doesn’t have to be sent out first, because it’s already there. The ten-step model for successful change initiatives makes your change plans easier to achieve. It works best if you empower your employees to be drivers of change. In this way you create a learning organization that welcomes change and integrates it into its corporate culture. The coming weeks will be a decisive moment for all companies to set the course. Will we succeed in making the leap into a resilience movement towards new, local, adaptive networks? Or will we fall back into our old patterns and risk to fail? The emphasis is on the fact that now is the chance for change and new ways. Compared to many other crises, we now all have a lot of time to think and question concepts and to rebuild them better afterward. Use this time and don’t waste it on irrelevant reporting and CMA (covering my *butt) strategies but set up a clear dashboard and KPI’s that guide you threw the crises. You can look forward to this journey with some optimism.


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