On 14th May 2020, the award-winning School of Hospitality, Tourism & Events continued with another successful Industry Webinar Series 2.0 entitled “Transformations in the Hospitality Industry: Moving Forward with New Business Opportunities”, focusing on the new normal with new business opportunities.
The speakers shared their views on various issues affecting the hospitality industry. Mr. Shaharuddin M. Saaid, Executive Director, Malaysian Association of Hotel Owners spoke on the importance of industry being able to ‘Sustain & Survive’ during this pandemic.
While the road to recovery is long, the first focus can be to encourage domestic tourism. Dr Jiseon Ahn, Senior Lecturer, Taylor’s University, shared that the industry could strengthen its search for new target markets such as millennial and explore opportunities offered by technology. This view was echoed by Dr Kandappan, Associate Professor, Taylor’s University, who recommended the three key strategies: -
(1) Service Innovation;
(2) Sustainable Innovation; and
(3) Technological Innovation
Dr Ruth Sabina Francis, Programme Director of Hospitality Programmes, Taylor’s University, also shared how transformation can occur by adapting to training via online mode, implementing higher operational considerations such as sanitizing, disinfecting and physical distancing, supporting local businesses in a bid to lower costs, automation for certain guest services and converting cancellations into re-bookings.
Mr. Gopinath Sangaran, Senior Lecturer, Taylor’s University, proffered measures to counter the effects of the pandemic through coaching or providing guidance to employees. Benefits are to reduce employee uncertainty and confusion, multi-skilling and creating trust to inspire and motivate employees. Dr Rupam Konar offered indicators to measure business readiness: -
(4) Re-imagination and
(5) Reform to Reconnect.
Finally, Dr Mayukh Dewan shared that positive and negative impacts of Covid-19 have had effects on our consumption of food. The negative aspects are having to deal with consumer distrust, fear and neophobia and a reduction in meat consumption possibly due to unavailability of fresh meat. A positive aspect includes more healthy eating at home. In short, the industry should be ready to face the new normal as BC (or before Covid-19) is a time in the past.