First of all, I have to say that we are seeing good numbers, particularly in resort areas. So, destinations like Greece, Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, Italy and, obviously, the Mediterranean side of France and so on. It seems we’re looking at extremely high numbers related to occupancy, but regardless of how well that goes, balance sheets will be affected by the rising costs of energy, raw materials and personnel.

The positive side is that willingness to travel is second to none. Between Covid-19 and the new and severe weather conditions that people have not faced before, there is an undeniable drive to travel. However, the vast majority of the Mediterranean destinations are pretty much full in July and August, so availability is limited. This then creates a good path for September and October.

People first

When it comes to the hospitality industry, one of the biggest challenges is staff recruitment and retention. We’re talking about emotional labour. I am a true believer and a lover of the word humanacracy. I’ve always said that we should step on bureaucracy and accelerate democracy, and to do that you need to create a fertile human culture within every organisation, particularly in hotels. It’s all about finding the best candidates during recruitment.

Of course, taking ownership and training for career development is very important too, but I’m talking about intercultural management and communication. As we’re in the hospitality industry, everything that is related to HOTREC, hotels, restaurant, and catering is all about managing and tracking the irregular working hours that are part of the business.

Remember to inspire

In February 2023, we are set to attend the upcoming Annual General Meeting and every year there is a new lead topic. In Lugano it was ‘it’s all about passion’, next year in Lisbon it’s ‘inspiring the future’. The definition of an experience has completely changed in recent times – you have to consider the mind and nature of the guest, and that pretty much means predicting the future. Our view is not to predict but rather to inspire, so we wish to be part of the creation of distributed experiences that will then be delivered to people. There will be an interesting set of speakers at the event who will discuss past inspirations, as well as predictions for the future.

Priorities going forward

One of the things that EHMA has always done is consolidate relations with leading international hotel schools and universities. We are still working in this direction, with two leading universities, Ecole Hotelière de Lausanne in Switzerland and the Nolan Cornell School of Hotel Administration in the US.

We’re working on new developments, such as the implementation of students and projects and the launch of mentoring programmes, and at the same time ensuring that our members have access to major discounts of the wide range of online courses from both universities.

We are trying to intensify our collaboration with HOTREC and fortify our relations. It’s a very fast changing world; the landscape is shifting unexpectedly, technology is changing and environmental pressure is reaching alarming levels. So we feel confident that collaborating with HOTREC will be a great benefit to the members of EHMA, because it’s is a platform that collects information, conducts several studies and helps advance the regulatory framework of business environment related to hotels – all of which are important to us.

We need to truly invest in our staff to ensure that we not only keep them working for us, but that we keep ‘tickling’ the mind of the younger generation and encourage them to join our profession.

We need to show how great it is to become a hotel general manager and if we continue along this path, the future is looking bright.