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Innovate and Adapt or Perish!

By Dominic CostaBir, Director, HTI International FZE

Wednesday, November 6, 2019, 12:45 Hrs  [IST]

YTough days and tough people don't last; people that adapt do! Tough days are great; they bring out the spirit of innovation and enterprise like nothing else. When boxed into a corner, any animal will fight the hunter, and often, despite the odds, survive. And if people are not willing to think, adapt, and act differently – they will be out in the cold.

Today, as we face tough days, I suggest we look into the three zones basis in two parameters - Revenue producing (bringing in the mullah) and Operating (executing and thus adding to costs).

1. Operating and Revenue Producing
2. Non-Operating and Revenue Producing
3. Operating and Non-Revenue Producing
Operating and Revenue Producing: This is the standard operations team. They prepare and deliver a product or service and the organisation charges guests for it. In hospitality, it is the Rooms Division (Housekeeping and Front Office) and F&B (Production and Service). Most CEOs, COOs, CFOs, etc. have their eyes and ears tuned in here, monitoring costs and sales like hawks. Undoubtedly, they will know their job and no need to dwell here.

Non-Operating and Revenue Producing: This is the fun area. No or low outgoings and proportionately good to great income. This is money earned from rentals of shops (florist, jewellers, paan shop, etc.), banquet or conference room hire, commissions from the travel desk, etc. Avenues have increased like royalty received to allow a single mineral water brand or preferring a particular beer or liquor brand – at a cost (royalty), of course.

But why not get even more innovative? Brands associating is good for both Brands to communicate trust, gain value and increase sales. Consider the "Intel Inside" slogan or how Carl Zeiss lenses were used exclusively by Sony. And the most recent NDTV news and Samsung Phone tie-up.

Why not a tent card in the room? "Dear Guest, We are seriously concerned about your safety and comfort and so have associated with only the most reputed brands. To ensure sound sleep and the best spinal support, the mattress is "XYZ" product. The aesthetically appealing switches are from "ABC" soft switching operations range – undoubtedly safe and reliable.

The same can be done in F&B Operations. This is your way of telling guests that you care. Operating and Non-Revenue Producing: This is where the real pain is. These are departments like HR, Admin, F&B Controls, Marketing, and Training. They can't possibly be busy for 8 hours a day all year long. And the money spent on them have to be earned by the other departments that produce the revenue. Why not get all of them to contribute and pull at least their own weight?

For example, in peak hours they could assist in operations. No, they don't have to serve at tables or make rooms. But yes, they can assist during a group check-in or check out. They can help with crowd management during large functions and assist in other small but critical ways. Initially, they may resist, but this is good for them as they learn guest interaction, which would improve their self-confidence and public speaking skills. And if they still resist, remind them, "Adapt or we all perish."

The other way is to offer these specialised services to smaller organisations on a consultancy basis. So, you could outsource the HR for another organisation. Your Corporate Chef and his Executives (normally a weight on the HO Budget) could assist a smaller brand to design their menu. The controls or QA team could do the same on a contractual basis. The team also gets more efficient. If planned well, this is extremely simple and for existing Big F&B and Hotel Brands is the easiest to do. For proof, just check how many of your talented folks are consulting on the side and billing in their father, brother or wife's name!!!

The hospitality industry is under tremendous pressure, just to survive. If you think the ideas above are crap, no issue – come up with your own. But do something. Downsizing, outsourcing, and shutting down is commonplace. The world is changing at a phenomenal pace, just holding back for even a short time means you will be left behind. We must be innovative and creative to survive. HG Wells exhorted us, "Adapt or Perish."

The views expressed within this column are the opinion of the author, and may not necessarily be endorsed by the publication.

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