My personal mantra is to focus on clients and employees, and never lose contact with them, because this nasty period will finish and we will start to go back to normal life. So, invest in your people, because they are your greatest asset and will secure the future of your company. And, obviously, stay close to your clients – without bothering them too much. It’s equally important not to communicate continuously or, as hoteliers, we risk becoming boring or overbearing.

In the long term, there are several things that we are working on at the European Hotel Managers Association (EHMA). We have issued documentation and guidelines to all of our members enabling them to prepare a dossier on their energy-saving and sustainability quotas. A reward will go to the hotel that has been the most efficient.

A second project we are working on is Young EHMA, a programme whereby a young general manager from every nation is encouraged to attend an EHMA AGM. They will receive a topic from the prestigious École hôtelière de Lausanne and will have three weeks to answer a question on that specific area of hospitality. University professors will decide the best in terms of content and that person will be invited to present their work at the AGM in Lugano in March 2021. We are always looking to attract younger members and invest in the future of the hospitality sector, so it is a project very close to our hearts.

On that note, another exciting programme we are working on is the mentoring programme, which has already been launched in Italy to help younger managers learn from older and more experienced general managers. We see it as a crucial pathway for development and an invaluable way to pass down wisdom from one generation to another.

Another priority right now is revamping our digital platform, Beekeeper, which enables us to maintain continuous contact with members of the association, keeping them abreast of our guidelines and aims. It also allows us to promote certain products that we believe are invaluable to hoteliers.

Crucially, the platform can be a major source of help to seasonal hotels and their staff. Hotels with staff looking to work aboard for a season can put their names and positions on the platform, enabling us to share details of people looking to move around the association from one country to another, or from one hotel to another. Fundamentally, it is about helping our younger members to find a job inside EHMA associations.

Best practices

With Covid-19, our aim is to evolve to address the unprecedented challenges the virus invariably presents. So, first of all, in March 2020 we sent letters to heads of state, the president of the European Parliament and the European Commission, asking for more help for the hospitality industry. Both came back telling us that they would do their utmost to take good care of hotels across Europe, which was positive for the association.

Meanwhile, we have been sharing best practices on Covid-19, including the varying hygiene standards being applied in specific countries with different rates of success and failure. At EHMA, this meant organising conference calls with national delegates, so that they could articulate those standards to their own people.

Ultimately, it is important for every member to have the opportunity to share good practices and gain from the experiences of others. We really did everything possible to continuously maintain contact with every single delegate, posting in-depth analysis and information on our Beekeeper platform regarding security and hygiene, and also keeping them motivated. It’s important to anticipate and deal with the virus efficiently, but also to look forward to the future, because this crisis will finish, and we have to be ready to revamp hotels when it does.

I would like to remind people to stay up to date with Beekeeper and our EHMA emails, and the management council to keep in contact with the other members of EHMA. Our next meeting is on 12 November 2020 via Zoom. We have endeavoured to keep our national delegation meeting in Rome, Italy, at the St. Regis, on 6–7 November 2020. It is a sign for all general managers to really start getting back to business. We want to be ready for when these restrictions are lifted.