The overarching theme of the Arabian Hospitality Investment Conference 2019 – ‘Synchronised for Success’ – underlines the spirit of collaboration that has fostered the growth of the hospitality, leisure, tourism, retail and property development sectors of the region.
I believe that for years our industries had operated in silos. Before the era of big buzz mergers and acquisitions that have transformed the hospitality industry, the major players were intent on competing on prices. It is no secret that the hospitality industry was among the laggards in adopting tech innovation, and now it is catching up for lost time with gusto.
Similar trends have prevailed in in the property development and retail sectors so much so that digital innovation has forced both industry players to relook at their business model and evolve quickly to be relevant for the new generation of tech-savvy customers.
Four drivers are critical in the new ‘synchronised model for success’ that every business must consider: Innovation, positivity, tech-adoption and creativity.
These are not just options but imperatives in today’s changing market dynamics. Innovation must become part of an organisation’s DNA and a work culture, whereby every stakeholder voluntarily involves in identifying new ways to do things more efficiently.
With innovation becoming a watchword in today’s business lexicon, there is a tendency to associate it solely with some ground-breaking invention that will transform the entire organisation.
It need not necessarily be so: I believe that innovation can roll-out even in the simple things, from the way guests are greeted and welcomed to hotels to, say, adding a personal touch to the customer journey. Small incremental measures that innovate on old practices add up to create positive change.
But what is important is for every employee to be open to ideas and for the management to be receptive to them.
The second key driver is the ability of organisations, including every stakeholder, to remain positive even in the face of challenges. There is never a perfect market situation. Every market has its share of challenges, and then again, there are the economic cycles that are inevitable. It is key for business to learn from the experiences of the past and to stay upbeat in the face of challenges. Market difficulties are not an excuse for inaction: Continue to do what you do and focus on creating value because with every challenge comes an opportunity.
The third driver is the need to be tech-savvy and to adopt the realm of digital revolution that is transforming the way we work, live and play. Big data and advanced analytics offer a tremendous opportunity in understanding guest preferences, and this must be leveraged to finetune and perfect customer service standards. Data, per se, is of little value unless it is used to achieve tangible business objectives.
Finally, it is important to promote a culture of creativity among your stakeholders. With a team of creative and dedicated stakeholders, organisations can build resilience, achieve goals and sustain their success for the long-term.
All these also take us to the fundamental pillar of success in any business – one’s purpose. As Simon Sinek, author and organisational consultant observes, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Your organisational purpose indeed defines you and your business today, and when you work together with partners from diverse sectors towards a common goal, you march towards success and progress in harmony.
I can think of no better example than Ras Al Khaimah, an emirate that today stands synchronised for success. The spirit of collaboration that drives the emirate – integrating all business sectors to create a destination that is sought-after by investors and tourists makes Ras Al Khaimah a compelling success story today.
Hosting events such as AHIC and welcoming the world to share their success stories further deepens our focus on the spirit of collaboration that indeed ushers in a win-win era for all.