Must Future Talents be Empathic or Efficient?

Article Posted: 08.09.2017
In the sixth thesis of the Lausanne Report, EHL - in cooperation with hospitality experts - discuss this trend that will disrupt the industry depending on the economic stages of a market and its geographical position.
6. The scope of knowledge
Economic success in the hospitality industry will depend on the effective use of intangible assets: knowledge, skills, creativity, and innovation will create a competitive advantage. The merging of technologies, processes, and devices into a unified whole will create new opportunities for hospitality development. As hospitality is a people’s business, people are the most important asset for any hotel company and they require dedicated investments.

Scenario A: Empathy is the most important capability
A competent general manager must show empathy towards their employees and their guests to create a great general atmosphere. For instance, if an employee is comfortable in their workplace and feels well-treated, they will most probably do a good job, and thus provide a better customer service.
Here are some key rationales regarding Empathy:
  • It is not the qualification of a property that will lead to success, but the quality of the employees
  • In order to create a once-in-a-lifetime and memorable guest experience, a hotel general manager must show a high degree of empathy and "hospitude"
  • It is important for general managers to use soft skills, and social and emotional intelligence to acquire the right attitude
  • Including being entrepreneurial, creative and innovative in managing their staff, general managers must be able to motivate heterogeneous teams across cultures
  • Empathy will be part of a hotelier’s future core competences

Scenario B: Efficiency is the engine of any business
Although empathy is a necessary quality for general managers, three elements must be taken into consideration: digitization, cost pressure, and teaching robots - and that is efficiency.
Here are some key rationales regarding Efficiency:
  • Digital labor platforms can help to recruit people and advance their careers, and they can organize hospitality companies to increase labor productivity
  • The way hospitality associations recruit, develop, and engage employees can significantly improve as a result of the integration of fast labor platforms, which will give them an added value
  • Due to cost pressure, hotel companies need to explore the possibility of automating the back office and tasks such as night audit, accounting, finance and marketing
  • The use of virtual reality tools will help staff and students to interact with intelligent avatars and to improve their skills
  • We will witness a huge advance in specialized areas of artificial intelligence such as machine learning and «deep learning», which is based on neural networks 
Let's co-exist
Based on the strong belief that human interaction and practical skills cannot be replaced by technology, it will open up to new opportunities created by the progress of science. Two powerful drivers will transform hospitality’s classic dual education system: the changing nature of the hospitality industry itself, and future automation of hotels and progressive digitization of knowledge and education.

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Source: Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne