Augsburg/Munich (June 18, 2021). How do think tanks come to life? Through lateral thinking, networked thinking, thinking out of the box. This creates “oxygen to the brain of the business, and the exchange with people in one room will be like an injection of energy”. This is how complex topics can be broken down, understood and implemented.
The topic of this year’s HospitalityInside Think Tank (HITT) in September is complex: “Sustainability & Digitalisation: The Change Drivers”. For the first time, HospitalityInside has therefore set up a four-member Advisory Committee. The top-class programme is also thanks to these heads: Wolfgang M. Neumann, Tony Williams, Xenia zu Hohenlohe and Tim Davis. We introduce them and their views on the topic.
“Sustainability is no longer an optional extra, it is a necessity and the measure of it is in digitalisation.” All four consultants agree on this. All of them have decades of experience in the hospitality industry and have become specialists. That is why all four will also take an active role at the HITT on 13/14 September (in Munich and virtually).
WOLFGANG M. NEUMANN, Founder of Neumann Hospitality Consulting, Amsterdam. After a career of more than 20 years with Hilton, he was CEO of Arabella Hospitality and the Radisson Hospitality Group. As Chairman of the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, he anchors his knowledge and passion for sustainability in the minds of business leaders and students alike.
TONY WILLIAMS, ecologist and conservationist, has focussed on developing unique, sustainable resorts and tourism operations across Southern Africa, Seychelles, Australia, Dubai, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. He has worked with the UNWTO, IUCN, UNESCO and The World Bank in developing tourism destinations and hospitality sectors, being awarded by WTTC, among others. The Founder of Destination-360, a sustainable development consultancy based in Dubai, he is currently working in Saudi Arabia, leading a major hospitality and conservation-based masterplan in AlUla.
XENIA ZU HOHENLOHE, Founder of Considerate Group, a change-making company that helps hospitality businesses operate responsibly. 24 years in the hotel industry, starting in the luxury segment followed by her own platform for responsible business solutions in 2012 creating tailor-made methodologies for the successful integration of sustainability strategies for hotels and tourism companies.
TIM DAVIS MBE has over 25 years experience on the management board of companies in travel, hospitality and leisure sectors, working with leading supplier brands, distribution, technology and private equity companies. He founded PACE Dimensions in 2010, which helps companies improve their performance and competitive edge. He is an expert in strategy, business architecture, and operating model design. At the HITT he acts as moderator and facilitator.
WHY ARE THINK TANKS IMPORTANT?
Tony Williams: Over 25 years ago British Airways launched the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards. The aim was to promote sustainable environmental and responsible social practices in travel and hospitality industries. The World Travel & Tourism Council has carried this banner for the past 20 years. Over these years there have been hundreds of wonderful examples of conservation-based resorts, sustainable energy utilisation and recycling efforts.Sadly however, the bulk of hospitality industry, and some of the largest global brands (with some notable exceptions), hid themselves behind their “green curtain” in the PR department. Today, this curtain is being lifted, as investors, customers, banks and investment funds and, driven by voters, governments, are awaking to the signals. Those who listened then are now well ahead of the game, and those who did not, will have to face a rapid change in thinking. The HITT as a great opportunitiy to provide an insight into what is coming for this industry, but also what is possible and how many solutions there are.
Tim Davis: Think Tanks provide a private forum where executives, academics and subject matter experts can combine and build greater understanding and thought leadership around common industry challenges and opportunities. Think Tanks overcome the barriers of competition because there is none. Its an open forum where all industry participants can freely exchange their views and knowledge to inspire and inform others.
Xenia zu Hohenlohe: Think tanks take us out of our daily routines and offer both a space and the time to develop as well as discuss new ideas, we all need to keep our businesses moving forward. So they act like oxygen to the brain of the business.
Plus they allow for exchange with other people whom we might not be in constant contact with, therefore fostering dialogue, discussions and collaborations, which again are vital to the success of all of our companies.
Especially after a year of strict ‘networking diet’ we were put under due to the Covid -19 lockdown, this year’s HITT event will come at a crucial time, after summer breaks and before heading into the busy season, the much needed exchange with people being able to sit in one room will be like an injection of energy.
Wolfgang Neumann: The HospitalityInside Think Tank is not a mass think tank, the limited number of participants drives the high level. The HITT stands out from many events in terms of quality; the individual programme components build logically on each other. Behind this, one recognises research in depth, analogous to the online magazine.
WHICH UNCERTAINTIES DO YOU SEE IN HOSPITALITY WITH REGARD TO SUSTAINABILITY AND/OR DIGITALISATION?
Xenia zu Hohenlohe: We work with data every day to help all of our clients manage their changes, track the improvements as well as identify areas of inefficiencies. In order to help our work we launched our own data monitoring platform in 2015. Whereas our industry has understood that digitalisation is important for booking processes as well as for PMS, there is still a long way to go in regards to how we can help other processes within hotel operations use data, without using the human touch our industry is also reliant on. We therefore see on a daily basis how much need there is.
Tony Williams: In the past 25 years bio-diversity has led to mass extinctions, 60% of the fish in our oceans have been depleted, global warming has become a very real threat, and new generation of customers are seeking and getting the changes they need for their futures.
Sustainability is no longer an optional extra it is a necessity and the measure of it is in digitisation. Those who can adapt rapidly will flourish, and those who do not almost certainly will not be funded, but will be taxed.
This industry needs to attract the most intelligent and the best qualified in their field from a younger generation of job-seekers to remain successful. This generation’s best will not be attracted to companies where they cannot see a meaningful and ethical reinforcement of their beliefs. Sustainability and digitisation is their default.
Tim Davis: In an age of rising digital maturity and ever more limited resources, both these trends have spurred innovation which can come together to create more productive, valuable and loved businesses by customers, investors and employees alike. Often regulation and access to finance and investment, can make subjects like sustainability feel like a cost of compliance.
But for winning companies they see the opportunity to transform, making sustainable choices affordable, accessible and lifting their brands to a higher order that become loved because of the values they represent as well as what the benefits they provide.
Wolfgang Neumann: In the Sustainable Hotel Alliance (SHA), we are permanently and directly facing sustainability and digital issues. This broadens our view: It is not just about hospitality, but about society as a whole. At the moment, the fight against Covid-19 is understandably dominant, but our planet will not be able to cope for much longer.
We have to build something new, according to the motto sustainable, inclusive, resilient. The younger generation simply demands it from us: they rightly demand more, they also know more and behave more selectively than many older people. For the hospitality industry, sustainability becomes an advantage in combination with digitalisation; the latter really makes the former possible. This is also our experience at SHA.
Vitae can be found here.
The big topic of the HospitalityInside Think Tank 2021:
SUSTAINABILITY & DIGITALISATION: THE CHANGE DRIVERS.
The Decade of Action: How Sustainability leads the agenda,
how Digitalisation enables it.
You can find the complete programme directly on www.hitt.world. On the HITT website you will always see all updates, as well as detailed information about the other impulse speakers and all sponsors.
And here you go directly to the registration!
SAVE THE DATE:
HITT, the HospitalityInside Think Tank 2021
on 13/14 September in Munich,
LIVE in a relaxed co-working space and VIRTUAL,
in English language.
WE WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE SPONSORS OF THE HITT 2021:
Logos: companies / Top photo: unsplash Marcus Spieske / Portraits: SHA, private