By Giovanni Angelini, Jan 2019

The world as we know it is about to change and as we enter the "Industrial Revolution 4.0", hospitality leaders have to equip themselves with the most sophisticated radar to help guide and steer them toward a world of new trends, new expectations, new products, new technologies, new competitors and be guided on how business can be conducted with the objective of constant growth without being left behind. We should accept that with so much new technology, and so many brands, products and offers, consumers have acquired more power than ever. The choice is at the tip of their fingers.

We are in a world where it is essential that the right product be pitched at the right time, at the right place, at the right price and ensuring that it is truly of value. They are not no longer the cookie-cutter type products and services that we have seen in the past. It's a world where hospitality leaders must be switched on at all time and have a balance of energy, credibility, charisma, knowledge and demonstrate their capabilities on innovating and on driving the organization to success year after year and spend much less time on managing their personal egos and ambitions.

The hospitality industry was, is and it will remain to be one of the largest and most prominent industries in the world. A world that in all probability will see the growth in global tourism and travel outpacing the growth in the global economy in general as it is anticipated that travel and tourism will grow by 8%-9% per year for many years to come. A world of more demanding consumers expecting attention and value and in an environment where consumers are increasingly exposed with information and with so many new products and offers.

The very basics of the industry such as high employee satisfaction, training, customer satisfaction, speed, efficiency, productivity, and most importantly, customer acquisition and retention / repeat business are here to stay now and in the future. A clear objective and priority for any executives and leaders is to find new innovations that improve performance at lower costs and motivate all its people under the same common goals.

Only time will tell what the future has in store for the hospitality business, but until that time we must keep working to grow and learn as much as we can. It is clear that the learning process will never stop, even when we get things right. On the contrary, the learning process has to increase. The travel and tourism industry offers many opportunities for growth and profits and no hotel group can afford to remain with the status quo. The socio-political situation, the economy, the security issues, the new products, the shortage of skilled labor and the ever-increasing shareholder's demand for shorter-term results is here to stay.

We will all be faced with an economy where learning is essential, up-skilling and re-skilling is a must and be in a constant learning mode. A demanding and competitive economy where a clear vision, mission, strategies, agility, flexibility, and speed are essential. Leaders have to stay abreast of all this and steer in the right direction to converting ideas and inventions into service and opportunity. There is no space for weakness or for non-prepared and immature leaders.

It is also clear that organizations must invest in the technical infrastructure and data analyzing capabilities. Business organizations must become smart and well connected. The future of hospitality rests on knowing better the customer and on creating individual experiences. Over the past couple of decades, hotels have focused on creating brands with differentiated physical products, now the focus has switched toward providing expectations and experiences.