Graham Walker, Director at Hospitality Assured shares 10 practical strategies for organisations to adopt to enable them to innovate,  keep growing and remain profitable if they are to compete in one of the worlds toughest industries.

Hospitality Management is going through a transformation driven by emerging European uncertainties, technology, innovation, new business models, and creative new service offerings. Companies need to innovate to keep growing and remain profitable if they are to compete in what is probably one of the worlds toughest industries.
There are many learned scholars writing on strategy and competitive advantage such as Barney, Noe and Porter who adopt academic theorem all of which are an excellent read.  However, there are many fundamental activities which remain basics of our Hospitality Industry, these principles are intrinsically embedded in steps 1,2 and 3 of the 9 steps of the Hospitality Assured Standard, which adopt the 4 main principles of Product, Promotion, Price, and Place.

Here are ten business strategies and some practical examples to help organisations protect themselves whilst propelling themselves to the forefront of their industry sector.

     1. Business planning process

  • Short/Medium and long term business plans
  • Contingency/ continuity/ reactive/re-investment
  • Brexit Contingencies
  • Timebound and accountable with inbuilt monitoring processes
  • Marketing Plan, extol the virtues of your USP

      2. Market research

  • Regional/National/International
  • Detailed local competitor activity and analysis
  • Price point sensitivity
  • Identification of target market(s) /competition / USP’s

      3. Technology

  • Invest what you can to optimise business systems
  • Provision of live time business performance
  • Creative systems to manage customer feedback
  • Maintenance of compliance issues

      4. Procurement

  • Develop long term partner relationship solutions
  • Avoid short term Contractor supply chain, unless essential

      5. Performance validation process.

  • Compliance/Hospitality/ Experience
  • Mystery shopper
  • Interunit audits/Head Office audits
  • Professional assessment eg. Hospitality Assured

     6. Continuing Professional Development

  • Membership of professional bodies and benchmarking groups
  • Professional networking
  • Reading of professional journals

     7. Corporate Social Responsibility

  • Decide what is affordable/doable
  • Set targets
  • Promote, say what you do and do what you say
  • Be aware of and action current issues eg. plastic reduction and recycling

     8. Service Delivery Teams

  • The most valuable asset in the business
  • Invest in the most practicable forms of training you can afford
  • Find appropriate methods of reward and recognition
  • Annual performance appraisal and personal development plans
  • Celebrate success

    9. Cost Conscious

  • Seeks to optimise service delivery against cost
  • Keeps abreast of innovative technologies and products
  • Effective and optimal procurement practice
  • Optimisation of human resource through effective planning and access to additional resources in times of peak demand

   10. Continuous improvement strategies

  • Measurement is the key to improvement
  • Setting targets
  • Benchmarking
  • External professional accreditations (HA), awards entries

Clearly there is no one best fit or one size fits all! The majority of hospitality businesses will be working on a multitude of initiatives which they hope will provide them competitive advantage but undoubtedly once you have achieved the foundation you can then excel through continuous improvement!

Hospitality Assured is the only standard within the Hospitality sector which supports organisations to Optimise Business and Service Excellence – find out more

About the Author: Graham Walker

Graham, Director of Hospitality Assured, has recently been elected to Fellow of the Institution of Hospitality (IOH) after graduating with a membership of the IOH and the Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management. He has an independent business offering training, relief management and consultancy, and has over 50 years of experience working in both the private and public sectors of the hospitality industry.