Firstly, I would like to start on a positive note. It was fantastic to see our guests return, to see our hotel at 80–85% occupancy this September. That was really extraordinary. It was also good to see lots of events with banquets and so on happening – the situation is quite positive. People are spending a lot more money in restaurants, we have seen an increase in beverages revenue in particular – people want a good glass of wine nowadays – even more so than in past, who can blame them?

On a slightly less positive note there is the new Omicron variant. From what I can see it is very contagious, but is not more dangerous than past variants. And with the vaccines we have now, we are better prepared to prevent the sickness from the virus. In Italy we have green passes, which I view as a huge positive because they put people at ease. When you enter a hotel, you know that everybody in the vicinity is vaccinated. On that subject, I implore everybody to ensure that they are vaccinated and to get a booster vaccination where possible.

My main message is that, in spite of the omicron variant, the situation is slowly improving. The peak that we saw in Germany and Austria in particular is slowly going down. We can look positively towards the future, even though we may face another peak during the winter months.

A glass half full

At EHMA, we have an important conference coming up in Lugano and we have a very thorough business agenda. But there are certain issues to focus on with more precision. One is that we assigned a new company to redesign our website, which has already been done. They will also assist us in terms of establishing and building the company’s presence on social media via Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.

The other is that we are currently in the process of finalising EHMA’s new vision and mission. Perhaps most importantly, we are working very hard on talent retention, because we now know more than ever that it is crucial to keep talented people within our ranks and not lose them to competitors or other industries. There will be an extensive discussion in the near future about how we can best achieve this.

Another crucial area of concern is the mental health of our employees. We really need to understand mental health as an issue, and to read people more closely and be sensitive to the fact that people might be experiencing problems. 

Ultimately, we must do more to listen and empathise with any concerns our staff may have in what is a testing time for everyone working in the hotel industry – at every level.

I believe that the worst is behind us, and that we must adopt a positive mindset as we move into 2022. I have no doubt that we will experience another uptake in business, particularly from March to April onwards, so we must remain optimistic.

Finally, I’d like to tell all general managers and senior staff to invest time in your employees and keep people close, because many of them will be going through difficult moments.

Within the entire industry, we need to keep employees happy and we need listen to them.

“I believe that the worst is behind us, and that we must adopt a positive mindset as we move into 2022.”