It’s no secret that the pandemic has undermined the hospitality industry, but nevertheless, we are moving forward towards recovery thanks to vaccination efforts and green passes – which are being issued around Europe quite consistently. The changes that we have put in place to help combat the pandemic will become structural. And so, these will automatically bring some operational benefits. Things like QR codes, QR menus and sanitation will be here to stay – they have presented a new operational situation that we have to deal with.

As EMHA president, I would like to take this opportunity to advocate the benefits of vaccination. For me, ensuring that enough of the population are protected against the Covid-19 virus is the only solution to this crisis at this present moment in time. I’m calling on all hoteliers to get vaccinated, and to support the ongoing vaccination campaigns and the volunteers who are doing such a fabulous job in this department. At EHMA, we are working on a new vision for the association, so we are continuing to have webinars with all our employees. In June, we did the annual meeting online and we confirmed that the next AGM will be in Lugano in 2021.

As far as travel is concerned, my advice is to adhere to the guidelines in place and trust the relevant authorities. Hopefully, places will continue to remain on the green list throughout Europe, while others are deemed safe enough to join the queue.

A human touch

Moreover, it’s no secret that recruitment is currently a problem for the hotel and hospitality industry across the board. In many parts of Europe, employers simply cannot find employees or are experiencing difficulties in recruiting people. So, my advice to general managers is to stay close to your employees. If people are feeling demotivated then we really have to work harder on the human side of things.

There are so many benefits to working in hospitality. It’s a great industry. We work in beautiful places and we need exceptional people, important people – ones that we might never otherwise have the opportunity to meet in our personal lives. It’s important to emphasise these opportunities.

Also, while the technological side will continue to dominate aspects of the conversation – and we are trying to bring more technology into it – the emotional element, the human side of hotel interaction is more important now than it has ever been. Above anything else, guests will always value good service and there is simply no substitute for that. Our clients want efficient and empathic service. That is what people want. This is the way we have to train our people, to respond to guests’ needs in a patient, compassionate manner. As I said before, we are privileged to work in this industry, now we must do all we can to continue to find a way out of this crisis. There are better times ahead and we will all be stronger for overcoming such adversity.