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The imperative need for image building in the hotel industry – ETHospitality


Recently, I was a part of a committee tasked with accrediting a hotel management college. During this engagement, I had the opportunity to comprehensively assess the teaching-learning process, infrastructure, and interactions with both the teaching faculty and students. Through conversations and feedback from both students and staff, I felt the need for fostering a positive image of the industry.

The hotel industry, an ever evolving domain, has witnessed transformative shifts over the years. From humble beginnings to the present day, where technology plays a pivotal role, and into the future, where challenges and opportunities await, the need for image building in the hotel industry has become more crucial than ever. This article explores the industry’s past, present, and future, highlighting the impact of technology, the diverse career choices available, challenges faced and steps to make the hotel industry an attractive option for students and young professionals.

The past: Foundation and tradition
In the past, the hotel industry was characterised by its emphasis on tradition, personalised service, and word-of-mouth recommendations. Hospitality establishments relied heavily on their reputation, built painstakingly over time through guest experiences and staff dedication. As the industry evolved, the need for a strong and positive image became evident for attracting guests.

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The present: Technology’s influence and wide career choices
In the contemporary landscape, technology has revolutionised the hotel industry. Online reviews, social media, and digital platforms now shape a hotel’s image, making it imperative for establishments to actively engage in image-building strategies. Moreover, the hotel industry has expanded exponentially, offering a plethora of career choices for students ranging from traditional roles like management and culinary arts to emerging fields like revenue management and sustainability.

The future: Challenges and opportunities
Looking ahead, the hotel industry faces both challenges and opportunities. The advent of artificial intelligence, sustainability concerns, and changing consumer preferences pose challenges. However, the future also holds exciting prospects for innovation, globalization, and enhanced guest experiences. Image building will be the linchpin that determines how hotels navigate these challenges and leverage emerging trends to create a distinct identity.

Impact of technology: Balancing automation and personalisation
Technology, while streamlining operations, has also democratised feedback. Guests share their experiences instantaneously on various online platforms, influencing potential visitors. Therefore, hotels must strike a delicate balance between embracing technology for efficiency and preserving the human touch that defines hospitality. A positive online presence and a proactive approach to technology can contribute significantly to image building in the digital age.

Wide career choices for students: Beyond traditional roles
One of the strengths of the hotel industry is its diverse array of career options. Beyond the traditional roles of hotel management and culinary arts, students can explore opportunities in entrepreneurship, event planning, revenue management, digital marketing, and sustainability. Communicating this wide array of career choices is vital for attracting students with diverse interests and skill sets.

Challenges of hospitality careers: Addressing perceptions
While the hotel industry offers diverse and rewarding careers, it also faces challenges in perceptions. Long working hours, high pressure environments, and transient workforces can deter potential candidates. Image building efforts should address these concerns by highlighting work life balance initiatives, career growth opportunities, and the global nature of hospitality careers.

Steps to make the hotel industry a popular choice

Digital presence enhancement: Actively manage online reviews and social media profiles to showcase positive guest experiences and engage with potential customers.

Education and awareness programs: Collaborate with educational institutions to create awareness about the diverse career opportunities within the hotel industry.

Technology integration: Showcase how technology is enhancing guest experiences and streamlining operations, emphasising a balance between innovation and personalised service.

Sustainability initiatives: Highlight eco friendly practices, showcasing the industry’s commitment to environmental responsibility.

Employee success stories: Share success stories of individuals who have built rewarding careers within the industry, emphasising career growth, and diverse roles.

Work life balance initiatives: Showcase initiatives that promote a healthy work-life balance, addressing concerns about the demanding nature of hospitality careers.

Global opportunities: Emphasise the global nature of the industry, showcasing opportunities for international exposure and career mobility.

Hotel industry’s image is its currency, influencing consumer choices and attracting talent. By adapting to the challenges of the past, leveraging technology in the present, and preparing for the opportunities of the future, the hotel industry can ensure that it remains a compelling and popular choice among students and young professionals.

Laxmi Todiwan, is founder Indian Women in Hospitality (IWH).

  • Published On Dec 6, 2023 at 01:00 PM IST

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