The global hospitality sector has been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis. Restaurants, hotels, casinos, catering institutions and the entire hospitality including the airline industry had come to a complete halt. This has happened for the first in the last 70 years and was new for the modern world. History was made several times, as governments and public health authorities acted to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Most of the organizations moved swiftly to mitigate the impact on their business. They used various ways to reduce the impact on operations such as furloughing staff, reducing costs, pivoting online, and more, until given the green light to reopen.
Now that time has come, not only in India but all parts of the world have begun to reopen their economies. The tourism and hospitality sector is gearing up to open their doors once again.. Yet the world in which the industry now finds itself has changed. The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting global lockdown have dramatically affected consumer behaviour.
Some behavioral changes in motion before the outbreak have accelerated; others have slowed or stopped. New habits and expectations have arisen. Discretionary spending has suffered, and spending patterns have changed. Understanding and responding to consumers’ changing behaviors will be essential to the recovery of the hospitality sector.
We at the Metro Institute of Culinary Arts – Mumbai have set the stage to reestablish the institutes. We have redone the complete hotel and hospitality management curriculum. We have incorporated the NEW NORMAL norms and have set a new benchmark for students to Learn and share. This will give the student a competitive edge which will assist them to understand the new normal in Hospitality and adopt to it.
– Rajesh Dhaktode ( CEO )
Metro Institute of Culinary Arts And Wrap Hospitality & Allied Services Pvt. LTD.
With the big questions surrounding the future of the hospitality industry, we have found that some of the most important skills of students to use are soft skills. Training people in areas such as emotional intelligence helps them improve the services they can offer customers. People want to be treated with emotional care.
The experience of the traveler of the future might differ, but the care and consideration they expect from those they interact with will not.
Students also need to have creativity, agility, and the ability to pivot as needed to change circumstances. As industries, including the hospitality industry, navigate their path forward after the changes of the past year, they will need to have adaptable skills that allow them to learn and meet those needs.
Soft skills training also helps students transform their learning into a viable future career. In some parts of the world, hospitality is not viewed as a good career option, but these skills can also translate to other service-oriented industries, such as banking, FMCG, etc, where ever customer / Guest Interactions are needed.
Understanding how to prove customers and clients with outstanding service and to use soft skills to easily adapt to a wide range of roles can help people gain an advantage across a number of different industries.
We all have heard the phrase that the world is changing, but in fact it has already changed!
- Technology is the most disruptive change to which industries have to adapt. Winners are the companies who succeed in freeing up time and resources, helping customers connect with others using technology.
- Customer’s behaviour and needs are also changing. Everything must go faster and faster! Millennial’s, or the digital natives, are looking for rapidity, tech and authentic experiences, living air & lifestyle of the area there are traveling to. They want to learn as much as they can and on their own.
- The education system is shifting towards more self-learning, e-learning and tools that can adapt to the capability of each student. The learning happens on multiple devices. The theory is learned online and the practice takes place in the class.
Technology will be the key change agent of the hospitality education of the future. It will shape the way we learn, the way we interact and the way do work. I have the image of students learning in front of their digital devices with headphones but not interacting with professors or classmates. This is a frightening yet plausible image of the education environment of tomorrow. However, this could be a reason why studies explain that the second largest disease in 10 years will be depression!
Let’s paint a more positive picture of the future. With the extravagant usage of technology in the future, companies will have to differentiate themselves from the competition through the human factor. The human interaction is extremely important in the hospitality industry and this could be the motivation of other industries to hire graduates from a hospitality institution. Excellence in the future will be defined by the level and quality of the human interactions even more than today, as technology will be a given.
In the next 10 years, hospitality education will not disappear but will certainly take a different form.
- Curriculum’s will have to adapt to understand the needs of the traveler and society of tomorrow: Hospitality graduates will have to identify how to balance the offer of technology to enhance the customer experience. They will require the skills to engage guests with digital tools and take advantage of systems such as geo-targeting, new social media platforms, virtual and augmented reality devices.
- Hospitality vocational programmes will still have to focus on skills to operate a hotel. However, students will need to better use and integrate the technology to enhance guest experience.
- Hospitality management degree programmes will concentrate highly on developing soft skills rather than hard skills. A combination of business acumen, entrepreneurial mindset, and psychological study of consumer behavior in the curriculum will position students to better understand the customer. Developing and managing human- digital relationships will be the cornerstone.
- The learning environment will be enhanced by technology. Students will spend less time in class and more time in a virtual reality world to develop their creativity and risk taking mindset. Students will be more prepared for the work life as they would have had the chance to experience case studies with augmented reality. Learning a new language or experiencing a different culture and its customs will take a very different meaning through use of tech.
- Executive Education (online and offline) will be a key success factor for companies in the future to have a constant and dynamic talent pool. Today’s hospitality industry has an aversion for executive education. Hospitality professionals are usually sent to attend such training’s only as a reactive approach to the changing world but not in anticipation of how the industry will alter in the future.
The biggest challenge will be the implementation of technology that doesn’t overpower the student’s natural learning experience. The professors of tomorrow will also have to be ready for this educational shift. Will they look like robots? Certainly not, but definitely will have to transform their interactions with the students.
The hospitality education of the future will not be able to afford to be a disciple of the industry by just answering short and medium terms needs. It will have to be a driver for the hospitality industry which is not just confined to hotels, but to extend to any company wishing to place customers at the center of the interactions.