Dynamic Roles And Innovative Career Prospects In Store As Hospitality Industry Moves To Revival In New Normal

Hospitality students can also start relaxing because the industry is toiling hard to take the path to recovery by exploring new opportunities.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the hospitality sector rather severely. These last few months have been an extremely anxious time for employees, students as well as job-seekers from the industry. In some institutes, placements were in the process when the pandemic hit India. This resulted in a delay in joining dates for some while others were left in limbo.  

However, as organizations and businesses have realised that a cure could still be a long way, most have decided to live with the virus and move forward with a cautious approach. The industry is likely to slowly revive in a span of a year with business events picking up first followed by personal events.  

New roles, new prospects for a new normal 

Hospitality students can also start relaxing because the industry is toiling hard to take the path to recovery by exploring new opportunities and trying to understand and manage the customer’s emotional reaction in an environment of fear and uncertainty. Freshly graduated Hotel School students are and will be a preferred choice for hotels since it is cost-effective to work with them. In most four-star or five-star hotels, 70% of the workforce comes with less than five years of experience as the seniors keep progressing with more challenging roles in this ever-growing Indian and Global Hospitality industry. 

The world post-COVID will see a massive introduction of technology in the sector that was already in the throes of digital transformation. More number of career options are likely to open up in technology related to hospitality.  

Technological innovation will be the driving force to promote and ensure health and safety. With social distancing norms and contact-less being a seminal part of businesses, leveraging technology to deliver these will be of utmost importance. There will be lesser physical check-ins and more digital communication and engagement. Other technologies will include thermal scanners, ultraviolet rays sanitizing systems, electrostatic spraying in the guest rooms and public areas, robotized housekeeping services etc. Hotels will require staff who can facilitate and oversee these 'contact-less' or 'touch-less' technologies. 

The post COVID world will also offer more scope for roles like revenue management, forecasting, and budgeting. Besides digital experts with specialised knowledge in online or telesales that assist in increased revenue growth, will be in demand.  

Careers in the food and beverage sector will also undergo a sea of change with an increased focus on hygiene care while preparing food, managing operations of the kitchen area, correct sanitization of raw food, cost management during crises period, self-service features – all of this via latest technologies. 

Tailoring curricula to fit recovery patterns 

The industry will also focus more on ideas like ‘going local’, ‘being sustainable’ and ‘maintaining strict hygiene.’ Even curricula will now have to be tailored to fit the new normal. Those looking for career options in the industry will be exposed to new keywords in operations that revolve around concepts like protocols of health, safety, and hygiene. In a complete change from the way hospitality functioned before, the focus will now be much lesser on physical interactions by going for concepts like contact-less services for guests especially while serving food or drinks.  

‘While the industry will undergo a revamp, it will also present new learning opportunities where aspirants will need to know beyond the basic operations. The new normal will necessitate the need for soft skills including communication, sustainability, entrepreneurial skills, responsible travel etc.’ 

Some of these could be incorporated in hospitality courses, but prospective candidates will have to learn them again on-job when they take on their new roles. Those exploring careers in the hospitality industry (including current employees) may also be advised to pursue certification courses on COVID -19. 

A lot on the plate for post COVID world  

There is a lot that will happen in the hospitality sector in the post COVID world. In fact, training institutes have already started offering certificate courses or bridge courses for trends that will suit the post COVID world. Courses will now focus more on sustainability. Some institutes are also offering courses like ‘coding for hospitality’ to help students ride the tech-driven disrupted wave in the sector. There are courses on “Hotel Market Analysis and Valuation”, “Hotel Revenue Management” etc which will allow students to obtain professional certificates in addition to their academic degree. Students are already taking live sessions and online classes on topics like ‘Leading Hotel Management Education in Turbulent Times’ to keep them abreast over the impact of the global COVID-19 crisis and how to manage the disruption.  

The industry will find its own ways to a quicker recovery by identifying and attracting guests & segments who are less prone to health risks. Those who travel for work or business may also be on-board sooner or later. When that happens, hotels and properties will require a huge amount of nimble and agile workforce that can keep up with the technological trends and intelligently handle a major crisis. It’s only a matter of time before that happens!   

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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