Roundtable Forum with Hotel GMs on "Post-Pandemic Business Strategy Sharing for Lodging Industry"


The School of Hospitality, Tourism and Events (SHTE) held an exclusive event entitled "GM Roundtable Online Forum on Post Pandemic Strategies". Speakers from the Hospitality industry graced this event and shared their views on the current and future trends. SHTE was privileged to have Mr. Todd Williams, General Manager of Mercure Miri City Centre, Sarawak; Mr. Jonathan Lai, General Manager of Holiday Inn Johor Bahru City Centre and Mr. Damian De Costa, General Manager of Holiday Inn Express Kuala Lumpur City Centre. Three GMs were thanked for sparing their valuable time to share with our Master of International Hospitality Management (MIHM) postgraduate students.


Mr. Todd spoke on how Asia Pacific becomes the focus of new hotel openings. More hotels are focused on lifestyle and luxury with 39% growth in new Accor properties happening in China touching 500 properties with 350 still under development. Mr. Jonathan mentioned that currently there is strong growth in the market. Previously, turning the hotel into a quarantine centre helped to ensure cash flow into the business. Staff were multi-tasking between departments and encouraged to adapt. Mr. Damian shared 2020 was focused on maintenance. He advised that the staffing will be a challenge during post pandemic and knowing your source markets will help in bringing in the guests.


The insights was trying to estimate when China will fully allow travel and there is a potential market in India. The opening of the travel between Johor Bahru and Singapore has benefitted the Johor Bahru hotel with the influx of Singaporeans. Overall, a post pandemic strategy is possibly to increase room rates given the increased in demand, to lower the Guest : Staff ratio and increase salaries for hotel staff.


There was a good flow of Q&A about staff retention strategies, whether the government’s economic stimulus packages had benefitted the hotel industry, the inclusion of Artificial intelligence (AI) and robots in the future of hospitality industry. On the whole, MIHM students enjoyed the GM Roundtable Online Forum as it provided an intimate session to have frank discussions with decision-makers in the hotels.