MENU

Absolute Hotel Services

NEWS

BLOG No. 3 - THOUGHTS ON THE FUTURE OF THE ASIAN BASED HOTEL PROFESSIONAL

April 19, 2021 - Jonathan Wigley, CEO & Founder of AHS

To give this article some context, I am in my 50's having spent all my professional life in Asia, so the majority of my life has been as an ex-pat. My involvement in the hotel sector began in 1986 in Hong Kong. My last property based role was as an Area General Manager which finished in 2005 and since then I have been in the above property roles. Changes for the Asian based hotel professional has always been happening driven by consumers habits, consumer source markets, economics, development of a local talent pool and many other things. Naturally, the ongoing impacts of the COVID 19 pandemic have impacted the hotel sector in Asia and thus the Asian based hotel professional. I see these impacts as more of an evolution accelerator rather than an ad-hoc adjustment. There will be real changes for the professional hotelier in Asia and naturally worldwide.


It would be impossible for me to offer my opinions on all aspects of the hotel profession here in Asia so I have focused more on the specific areas of ex-pats and property management structures.


WHAT'S IN STORE FOR THE EXPAT ASIAN BASED HOTEL PROFESSIONAL?

- I see the evolution driven by 3 main factors which are not listed in any order and these can be considered in isolation or combination, firstly by the development of the local talent pool, secondly by economics and thirdly by the changes in source markets of consumers.


- If I look back the primary reason for recruiting ex-pats in Asian hotels was due to that the skills/experience for specific roles were not available or available with sufficient supply at that time locally. In most Asian countries this is no longer often the case as the hotel talent has been developed locally over many decades.


- Traditionally the Asian based ex-pat hotel professional needed to be sold on moving from their home base to some far-flung land thus financial incentive to do so was formed then the birth of the "Expat Package". The "Expat Package" has been reduced over the years due to economics as the hotel sector has become more and more "bottom line-driven" to be honest as it should thus the "Expat Package" being offered to become the exception, not the rule when recruiting.


- In the past for many hotels in Asia much of the consumer demand was from North America, Europe and Australasia which were all very well developed hotel sectors thus historically when recruiting ex-pats for Asian hotels they were sourced from these source market countries. With changes in regionally economic ability and aviation this has led to, in general, the majority of demand being regional or in some cases even domestic. This has and will lead to more regional ex-pats where an ex-pat is needed with the knowledge and culture to be able to service the demand source markets.


- In summary, I still see a bright future for Asian based ex-pat hotel professionals however these roles will be recruited based on source markets, reasonable packages and where there is a limited local talent pool, also ex-pat opportunities may be enhanced based on my thoughts on property team management structures below.


IS IT TIME FOR A SHAKE-UP TO HOTEL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT STRUCTURES?

- To answer that question simply it must and is long overdue but the real question is not if we should but how we should shake things up. The shakeup is needed not just for economic efficiencies but to be more consumer-friendly. Naturally smaller hotels have already done this by default.


- Traditionally hotel property management structures in Asia are set by the department and each department has a specific function and a team to fulfil that function. Multi-tasking is not a new idea but often is executed within departments so the bellboy can work the front desk and front desk agent can work concierge etc. I believe for real change and improvement we must start to look at the departments and their management structures and work down from there. There will always be a need for specialized roles in hotels in the kitchen, engineering, accounting and revenue management for example.


- I believe that in general there should be 2 divisions (and division heads) in a hotel which both report in the General Manager which will allow many positions within each division to do multi jobs (on a schedule as demand needs) as when we study it the requirements for many current roles the employees skills are the same even in different roles. I believe this division should be the following; Administration: Headed by the one leader and including Accounting, Human Resources, Sales, Marketing, Revenue/Distribution functions so department heads as is currently the definition would not be needed. Services: Headed by one leader and including Front Office, Housekeeping, F&B service, F&B kitchen, Recreation, Security and Engineering functions so department heads as is currently the definition would not be needed.


- This would improve communication and efficiency resulting in better use of resources which would drive the consumer experience and profitability as we would require fewer employees but have a better-skilled team. 


As always these are just my thoughts and I hope they provoke thought in all of us Asian based hotel professions so we can be in control of our evolution, leading not following.  


OTHER NEWS

  • Absolute Hotel Services Introduces Technical Service Team

    September 10, 2021 -

    BANGKOK, Thailand (September 2021) – The CEO of Absolute Hotel Services (AHS), Mr. Jonathan Wigley, is deligh...

  • ABSOLUTE HOTEL SERVICES AND TIERRA HOSPITALITY PARTNERS UAE ANNOUNCES ITS STRATEGIC COLLABORATION

    August 25, 2021 -

  • Absolute Hotel Services Appoints Area General Manager - Bali

    June 22, 2021 -

    BANGKOK, Thailand (June, 2021) – Absolute Hotel Services’ Senior Vice President of Operations – Asia, Mr....

  • BLOG No. 5 - AHS GROUP’S MOVE INTO THE SENIOR LIVING SECTOR – EXPLAINED

    June 08, 2021 - Jonathan Wigley, CEO & Founder of AHS

  • Absolute Hotel Services Announces Eastin Estates, The first hospitality brand in Asia for Seniors

    June 02, 2021 -

    Bangkok, Thailand (June 2021) - Jonathan Wigley, CEO of the Absolute Hotel Services (AHS) Group, has announced ...