Right now, every country is in a different situation, so it’s difficult to give one rule for everybody, but at the European Hotel Managers Association (EHMA) we are working harder than ever to tighten our relationship with our members. We have been sharing information that is relevant to all our hotels in their respective countries as far as combating the virus is concerned. Perhaps most importantly, we are encouraging our members to stay psychologically strong – to see the positive aspects of their situation.

Dialogue is particularly important right now. Stay close to your people, and keep them informed and motivated. For every general manager (GM) right now, our main focus to adapt and survive, to make sure that you have enough funds coming from the government or from ownership.

At EHMA, we are doing our utmost to ensure that reasonable and acceptable strategies are being put in place for every GM in Europe. At the same time, every GM must remain attentive to the values of rules and regulations coming in from respective governments. The majority of the GM’s in the association are following this pattern.

The second step is really about focusing on the relaunch. There are two areas that are crucial here. One is to keep employees as close as possible. Ultimately, we have to invest a lot of time in our employees at every level, mentally and financially, wherever possible. The second aspect is focusing on clients, keeping them up to date on the protocols being put in place within the hotel.

And also in regards to clients, we must try to engage and protect them without exaggerating things. Too many protocols can quickly become overbearing. So, what we really want is to communicate at least once a month with them, keeping them informed on what the hotel is doing. Ultimately, the energy of a hotel is derived principally from its guests, even if that relationship is remote.

“At EHMA, we are doing our utmost to ensure that reasonable and acceptable strategies are being put in place for every GM in Europe.”

My central message is to be tough and strong in these difficult times because they will soon end, and once they are over European hotels must be ready to relaunch. So we need to work closely with our staff and be close to our guests, because they are eager to come back and we have to keep informing them of what we are doing to ready the hotel for their arrival.

Another thing that we have stressed at EHMA – and something that we are working hard on – is encouraging all our GMs to reach out within the local community. Every GM in the association has been asked to remain active in their local community, to help people in need wherever and whenever they can, to be sensitive to the fact that many people are facing hardship. At the Principe, for instance, we are collecting clothing and denoting it to different charities to help the poor. We have also donated leftover food to local food banks.

Ultimately, we have to plan and invest in our future, but we cannot work miracles – the situation is what it is. What we can focus on is keeping the spirit of our hotels alive with our people and with our guests.

In agreement with EHMA president Ezio Indiani and the Management Council, EHMA Lugano 2020 will be held in late spring. Dates will be made official in early 2021.

Ezio A Indiani

An EHMA member since 1996, Ezio A Indiani has built a prestigious international career across five-star luxury hotels in the UK, Italy, the Dominican Republic and Switzerland. General manager of the Dorchester Collection’s Principe di Savoia in Milan since 2005, he has previously managed some of the world’s most iconic hotels, such as the Hotel Eden in Rome, the Hotel des Bergues in Geneva and Villa d’Este in Cernobbio.