RSS Hospitality News

UAE: World’s first Warner Bros hotel to open in November

Guests will be able to ring up their favourite Looney Tunes characters for room service brought to them by Bugs Bunny himself.

The WB Abu Dhabi hotel is all set to open its doors to guests on November 11 this year. Located on Yas Island, it will allow visitors to see their favourite stories and characters brought to life through unique hospitality experiences.

Featuring one of the finest collections of Warner Bros archives, guests will be treated to a journey of discovery through film and television, enjoying the entertainment group’s rich history and library of timeless productions at every touchpoint from arrival to check-out.

Visitors can listen to familiar piano tunes from Westworld while dining in one of five restaurants on the property — or ring up one of their favourite Looney Tunes characters for a room service treat brought to them by the Wascally Wabbit, Bugs Bunny himself.

Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of Miral, said: “We are proud to be launching another first with the opening of the only Warner Bros hotel in the world.”

HOME > News

UAE: World’s first Warner Bros hotel to open in November

Web report/Abu Dhabi Filed on October 11, 2021 https://cdn.vuukle.com/widgets/powerbar.html?version=2.9.0

Guests will be able to ring up their favourite Looney Tunes characters for room service brought to them by Bugs Bunny himself

ADVERTISING

Warner Bros is opening its first hotel in the world. And its home will be none other than right here in the UAE.

Advertisement

The WB Abu Dhabi hotel is all set to open its doors to guests on November 11 this year. Located on Yas Island, it will allow visitors to see their favourite stories and characters brought to life through unique hospitality experiences.

Featuring one of the finest collections of Warner Bros archives, guests will be treated to a journey of discovery through film and television, enjoying the entertainment group’s rich history and library of timeless productions at every touchpoint from arrival to check-out.

Visitors can listen to familiar piano tunes from Westworld while dining in one of five restaurants on the property — or ring up one of their favourite Looney Tunes characters for a room service treat brought to them by the Wascally Wabbit, Bugs Bunny himself.

Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of Miral, said: “We are proud to be launching another first with the opening of the only Warner Bros hotel in the world.”

What to expect

The experience begins right from the time guests of The WB Abu Dhabi hotel pull up to the property, where they are greeted by digital screens that span the height of the building and that play original content created for the hotel.

Before entering the hotel, they can make a quick stop at the iconic “Friends” fountain, while the storytelling continues after they cross the lobby, with guest room corridors displaying a curated gallery of artwork.

The curated guestroom artwork will be inspired by three themes. The first theme, “From Script to Screen”, highlights standout moments from Warner Bros’ movies and shows and documents the journey from the written page to the final shot. The second theme, “Artist Confidential”, celebrates a variety of talent in front of and behind the camera in some of Warner Bros’ favourite productions. The third theme, “The Vault”, features rarely-seen images from the Group’s most memorable archives.

Some of WB’s world-renowned characters such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and others will participate in entertaining activities throughout the hotel, providing memories that will last a lifetime.

The WB Abu Dhabi is located adjacent to the award-winning Warner Bros World™ Abu Dhabi, the world’s largest indoor theme park which features six immersive lands, including DC’s Metropolis and Gotham City, Cartoon Junction, Bedrock, Dynamite Gulch and Warner Bros Plaza.

Source: https://www.khaleejtimes.com/news/uae-worlds-first-warner-bros-hotel-to-open-in-november

Thailand to reopen for some vaccinated visitors on 1 November

Thailand plans to end Covid quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travellers from at least 10 low-risk nations from 1 November, officials say.

PM Prayuth Chan-ocha admitted that “this decision comes with some risk” – but it is seen as a key step to revive the country’s collapsed tourism sector.

The 10 nations seen as low risk include the UK, China, Germany and the US.

The country has been recording more than 10,000 positive infections daily since July.

It has fully vaccinated around 33% of its almost 70 million people. Half the population has received one dose.

Mr Prayuth said Thailand would also allow entertainment venues to reopen on 1 December and permit alcohol sales.

He added that the authorities were planning to open Thailand for more countries on that date.

Mr Prayuth’s comments came in a televised address on Monday.

Referring to visitors from 10 low-risk nations, he stressed that “when they arrive, they should present a [negative] Covid test… and test once again upon arrival”.

If the second test is also negative, any visitor from those countries “can travel freely like Thais”, the prime minister said.

But he warned that the government would act decisively if there were to be a spike in infections or an emergence of a highly contagious variant of Covid-19.

It is estimated that Thailand – popular for its sandy beaches and non-stop nightlife – lost about $50bn (£37bn) in tourism revenue in 2020.

The economy suffered its deepest contraction in more than two decades as a result of the pandemic.

Thailand was the first country outside China to record a Covid-19 case in January last year.

It took the drastic step of sealing its borders in April, effectively killing off a tourist industry accounting for perhaps 20% of GDP, but managed to cut new daily infections to just single figures, one of the best records anywhere.

This year though, with the arrival of the Delta variant, infections have soared, from a total of less than 7,000 at the end of 2020, to 1.7 million today. The argument for keeping out foreign visitors to contain Covid became much less persuasive, especially with tourist-related businesses pleading for restrictions to be eased.

The success in containing Covid last year had another unforeseen consequence; it led the Thai government to believe it had need not rush to order vaccines. The result has been a tardy and at times confused vaccine programme, and a public outcry.

The need for some economic good news is in large part what has driven it to start reopening, well before reaching its own declared target of getting 70% of the population vaccinated.

It is proceeding cautiously though, with only 10 countries on the list until the end of the year. Like other countries in the region Thailand’s health system has limited ICU capacity; in August ICU units in Bangkok were quickly overwhelmed by the number of serious Covid cases.

In any case, even with an end to the two week quarantine requirement, a recovery to the 40 million tourists who came in 2019 is unlikely next year, or even the year after.

Just over 70,000 visitors came into the country in the first eight months of this year, compared with 40 million in the whole of 2019.

Thailand has reported more than 1.7 million confirmed Covid cases since the pandemic began, with nearly 18,000 deaths, according to America’s Johns Hopkins University.

Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-58838189

Vietnam to fully reopen by June

Hanoi — Vietnam is planning to reopen key tourist destinations to vaccinated visitors from countries deemed a low COVID-19 risk from December, the government said on Wednesday, October 6, ahead of a full resumption targeted for June next year.Vietnam imposed tight border controls at the start of the pandemic in an effort to keep out COVID-19, with some initial success, but that harmed its burgeoning tourism sector, which typically accounts for about 10% of gross domestic product.Last month, the country announced it would reopen the resort island Phu Quoc for vaccinated travelers from November.

Fom December, Vietnam will also allow tourists from approved countries to visit UNESCO world heritage site Halong Bay and Hoi An, the highlands town of Dalat and beach destination Nha Trang. It is not yet clear which countries will meet the criteria.”We are only open when it’s truly safe,” the government said in a statement.”We are moving step by step, cautiously but flexibly to adapt to real situations of the pandemic.”The move follows similar steps taken by neighboring Thailand, which will next month expand locations in its pilot scheme to allow vaccinated visitors.

Foreign arrivals to Vietnam fell to 3.8 million last year down from 18 million in 2019, when tourism revenue was $31 billion, equivalent to 12% of GDP.The country is trying to speed up COVID-19 vaccinations, with just 13% of its 98 million people inoculated so far, one of the lowest rates in Asia.

Source: https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/vietnam-reopening-vaccinated-tourists-intl-hnk/index.html

Australia won’t welcome foreign tourists until at least 2022

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Foreign tourists won’t be welcomed back to Australia until at least next year, the prime minister said Tuesday as he outlined plans for lifting some of the toughest and longest COVID-19 travel restrictions imposed by any democracy.

The country will instead prioritize the return of skilled migrants and students after it hits Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s benchmark for reopening its external borders: the full vaccination of 80% of the population aged 16 and older. It is expected to reach that point Tuesday.

The news comes just days after Morrison announced plans to allow vaccinated citizens and permanent residents to fly overseas from November for the first time since March 2020.

The severe travel restrictions, which have trapped most Australians at home and kept most foreigners out, have led to the lowest level of immigration since World War II. Australian universities, which rely heavily on fees paid by international students, have been particularly hard hit, and many fear students will go elsewhere if they are not allowed in soon.

While many countries imposed strict lockdowns that shut down large portions of the economies, Australia’s travel restrictions have kept life fairly normal for much of the pandemic — though it is now experiencing shutdowns in the biggest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, as well as the capital Canberra.

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Foreign tourists won’t be welcomed back to Australia until at least next year, the prime minister said Tuesday as he outlined plans for lifting some of the toughest and longest COVID-19 travel restrictions imposed by any democracy.

The country will instead prioritize the return of skilled migrants and students after it hits Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s benchmark for reopening its external borders: the full vaccination of 80% of the population aged 16 and older. It is expected to reach that point Tuesday.

The news comes just days after Morrison announced plans to allow vaccinated citizens and permanent residents to fly overseas from November for the first time since March 2020.

The severe travel restrictions, which have trapped most Australians at home and kept most foreigners out, have led to the lowest level of immigration since World War II. Australian universities, which rely heavily on fees paid by international students, have been particularly hard hit, and many fear students will go elsewhere if they are not allowed in soon.

While many countries imposed strict lockdowns that shut down large portions of the economies, Australia’s travel restrictions have kept life fairly normal for much of the pandemic — though it is now experiencing shutdowns in the biggest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, as well as the capital Canberra. ADVERTISEMENT

The rules imposed a high emotional burden in a country where half the population was born overseas or has at least one immigrant parent. Families were separated, and some grandparents have been barred from meeting grandchildren in Australia who are now approaching 2 years old.

After lifting restrictions on Australians, Morrison said the next priority would be skilled migrants and international students — before tourists. He did not specify when those groups would be allowed in.

“We will get to international visitors as well, I believe next year,” Morrison said.

The Australian Tourism Export Council, which represents a sector that made 45 billion Australian dollars ($33 billion) a year from international tourists before the pandemic, wants international visitors to return by March.

Australian tourism operators — which have suffered not only from the ban on international tourism but also frequent internal pandemic border restrictions — are frustrated that there aren’t more details of how leisure travel will resume.

“International tourist arrivals have to be part of the plan,” said Daniel Gschwind, chief executive of the Queensland Tourism Industry Council, Queensland state’s peak advocacy group. “Even if they’re not the first priority, we’d like to see how this is going to be worked out. There are many businesses that are just hanging on.”

Gschwind that his sector needed to plan for how the COVID-19 risk could be managed, perhaps through rapid testing and self-isolation.

There are a few exceptions to Australia’s travel ban — and tourism has never been accepted as a reason to cross the border. Those who have been able to enter must spend two weeks in hotel quarantine. That would represent a major obstacle if it remains even after tourists are allowed.

Morrison said last week that his government would work toward “complete quarantine-free travel for certain countries, such as New Zealand, when it is safe to do so.” He did not elaborate on the timing.

Australia and New Zealand briefly shared a quarantine-free travel bubble when both countries were essentially free of COVID-19 transmission.

But New Zealand reintroduced quarantine after Australian authorities lost control of an outbreak of the highly-contagious delta variant, which was brought to Sydney in June by a U.S. air crew.

The delta variant has changed the game in many countries that previously were able to largely keep the virus at bay with very strict travel rules, including New Zealand. On Monday, that country’s government acknowledged for the first time that it can no longer completely get rid of the coronavirus.

Australia is continuing to battle outbreaks, while also racing to inoculate its population. Its vaccination rollout was initially slow but has picked up.

Victoria state on Tuesday reported a national record 1,763 new local infections. Australia’s second-most populous state also reported four COVID-19 deaths.

The previous national record of 1,599 infections in 24 hours was set by New South Wales when its outbreak peaked on Sept. 10. Hospitalizations peaked in Australia’s most populous state in mid-September.

New South Wales leads the other states in vaccination rates and Sydney’s airport is expected to be the first to reopen to vaccinated travelers.

Source: https://apnews.com/article/coronavirus-pandemic-lifestyle-business-scott-morrison-travel-0e0dea481cefe0952e19f6315b6955ee

Creating change agents of hospitality

There is no doubt that the pandemic has changed the hospitality industry and its people. It was a change in which we ended up being mainly passive observers – powerless to change the course of the pandemic, government decisions, and the impact that the pandemic was having on travelling and purchasing decisions of our guests.

The impact of this change financially in the UK is estimated by UKHospitality at £80.8bn of lost sales in the first 12 months of Covid. However, we are yet to see the full impact on the staffing levels, industry staff retention and the health and wellbeing of those who have stayed loyal to hospitality and worked all the way through these challenges.

Hospitality response – makers of our own destiny

Once we had gone through all the stages of the Kubler-Ross change curve (a model used by individuals and organisations to help people understand their reactions to significant change or loss), we could see the hospitality spirit waking up and businesses and individuals taking the change processes in their own hands.

We could see amazing Michelin star takeaway menus, hotel premises being repurposed, teams that have never worked remotely being amazingly agile and finding ways to efficiency in the new circumstances.

We could see amazing Michelin star takeaway menus, hotel premises being repurposed, teams that have never worked remotely being amazingly agile and finding ways to efficiency in the new circumstances.

Agile change management approach

The key in the survival and the faster recovery for some of the organisations Umbrella Training has been working with is the choice to be an active player with a holistic approach to change management.

Rather than mothballing the development programmes and investment plans, these organisations decided to support their people through the change curve and apply concepts like resilient leadership, agile communication, stronger partnering with stakeholders and utilising blended learning models.

This comprehensive set of actions is outlined by Deloitte management consultants in their comprehensive report “Combating COVID-19 with an agile change management approach” that was recently published as one of the pathways to success in keeping the organisation competitive.

Why do we need to continue to change in an agile manner?

The world around is not waiting for us to settle in our new working environments. Just as we think we have settled on a course of action – things evolve and require us to adjust.

Melanie Franklin, a highly respected thought leader in change management and firm advocate of agile change management techniques, explains that the frequency of change generated by agile approaches is far higher and that, when adopting this, we create mini waves of change.

These mini waves of change all contribute to successful adaptation to new ways of working. The most important part is supporting people whilst riding on these waves of change, and allowing them to be part of it from the very beginning. Hospitality can embrace this.

Issues with change and change initiatives

Despite change being the only constant we can rely on, humans have not taken easily to this definition. Change brings with it fear of losing status, fear of being able to use the new technology, being able to learn new ways of working. The majority of people dislike change because of the perceived uncertainty that it brings with it. We’ve seen this across business over the course of the pandemic period. Managing change successfully has become one of the key leadership skills in the hospitality industry today.

Making change management more effective

It is paramount for the organisations involved in the change to support their stakeholders by providing the following:

  • Information – at every stage of the process and in a format relevant to their audience.
  • Involvement – asking for feedback and input; working on hearing all the voices who will be impacted by the change.
  • Support – open doors policy for people to be able to explore their personal challenges with change.
  • Structure – clarity on how the change will work, who to speak to if they have issues, how to get involved, what the desired outcome of the change should be.

Role of the apprenticeships in managing change

Author and entrepreneur Seth Godin, has said: “Our job is obvious: We need to get out of the way, shine a light, and empower a new generation to teach itself and to go further and faster than any generation ever has.”

Apprentices are perfect change agents. They have capacity to be critical friends, they bring different perspective to a business and by developing future-fit skills like agility and autonomy – we are building future leaders who are not afraid of agile change.

Apprentices can support businesses with horizon-scanning and scan the external environment to help predict changes in the labour market. Apprenticeship programmes can be a perfect platform to support changes to processes, performance expectations and culture in general. Apprentices can be emissaries of change, sharing their experience and engaging others in the organisation that might have a more stagnant view.

There is always a temptation to go down the route of a path well-travelled. What if we empowered our apprentices to be change generators? Talent attraction, recruitment days, training – these are great examples where your apprentices could help you create new waves of change by hearing their voices.

Source: https://www.hospitalityandcateringnews.com/2021/09/creating-change-agents-of-hospitality/

The slow pace of digital transformation in hospitality

The hospitality industry must adapt quickly in order to survive. This is the warning following new research that shows 63% of hospitality operators don’t believe their business has invested enough in digitalisation.

These are findings from The Digital Transformation of Hospitality Report 2021, a new study published by Vita Mojo, an award-winning technology company and former restaurant business, in partnership with Hospitality Mavericks and KAM Media.

The new report, based on a survey of over 4,000 hospitality sites, urges hospitality businesses to act now and use digital transformation to support labour shortages and long term growth.

Michael Tingsager, Founder of Hospitality Mavericks says, “We’re facing major challenges recruiting talent due to Brexit and Covid. A lot of great talent is exiting our industry and we need to look at what we can do to keep them. Technology can be a key part of the solution and the benefits can be far-reaching.”

Hospitality operators are concerned about the lack of investment in digital transformation and skills. One operator said, “We have a lack of know-how and knowledge of digital in general. We are too busy with running the business to learn digital skills and we’re terrified of making mistakes.”

With 73% of operators agreeing that hospitality is behind other industries when it comes to digital transformation it is clear more work is needed. The report shows:

  • Fewer than 10% of operators believe their current technology systems are fully integrated, which adds complexity for operators.
  • Only 1 in 5 operators believe they are getting the most out of their customer data – most don’t know what to do with the data they have.
  • Only 20% have a set budget for digital transformation.

Katy Moses, Founder & MD of KAM Media, says, “With the endless restrictions placed on the industry during the pandemic, digitalisation in hospitality has been key to its survival. But our research suggests the pace at which the sector is equipping its workforce with new digital skills and investing in tech is way behind where it needs to be. Both operators and customers see hospitality as well behind other industries when it comes to the effective use of technology.”

Hugo Engel from LEON, one of the UK’s fastest growing high street brands said, “LEON adopted a digital-first mindset before the pandemic and it has transformed our business and enabled us to continue to grow throughout. We are now in the middle of rolling out kiosks across more restaurants, this is not to replace people in store, but to enable our teams to focus on what they do best, welcoming and serving guests in the most efficient way possible.”

Commenting on the report, Nick Popovici, CEO and Co-Founder of Vita Mojo says, “As ex-operators turned technology providers, we wanted to get a sense of where things were following the pandemic and the digital rush that ensued. Based on the research, it’s clear that the industry has had a massive shake up so now we need to look at what we can do to support that.

“Digitalisation and technology are ‘part’ of the solution to labour shortages. The best technology adds to the human experience and when implemented properly, it can stimulate business growth, which in turn creates more jobs. That’s how we need to be thinking. It’s not about technology to replace people in the industry, it’s about technology to support and keep people in the industry.”

Source: https://www.hospitalityandcateringnews.com/2021/09/digital-transformation-of-hospitality-report-2021/

It’s not just about PUP: why hospitality workers are staying away

Opinion: the time has come for the hospitality sector to reassess itself and what it represents

By Lorraine Ryan and Juliet Mac Mahon, University of Limerick

The hospitality sector is a significant contributor to the Irish economy, accounting for 7% of employment before the pandemic. There is no doubt that this sector has been one of the hardest hit by the Covid crisis. Government health restrictions meant widespread closures and reduced business capacity causing widespread and significant disruption for both employers and workers.

Since the reopening, the woes of the sector have continued, with Fáilte Ireland noting 90% of hospitality organisations are experiencing staff shortages. The impact on businesses has been severe. Many are unable to operate at full capacity and are closing their doors on certain days. Others have taken the difficult decision to close permanently.

Various reasons have been put forward for the exodus of workers from the sector: Much work in the sector is considered low paid. A 2019 ESRI report noted that 30% of minimum wage workers in Ireland worked in the hotel and restaurant sector.

From RTÉ Radio 1’s Drivetime, Adrian Cummins from the Restaurant Association of Ireland on major staff shortages reported in the restaurant industry.

Then, there’s the work itself. Whilst it can be rewarding, working in hotels, bars and restaurants can also be physically demanding and requires considerable emotional labour. Working hours can be long and unpredictable, characterised by split shifts and/or constantly varying rosters.

New requirements within the sector since Covid have added to this workload. Workers now must deal with additional cleaning measures, check vaccine certificates, and ensure customer compliance with health and safety measures. The restaurant sector’s reputation has not been helped by anecdotal stories of students being asked to work ‘trial shifts’ of up to a week for free and the recent case of a worker paid by a bucket of coins. It is said that many workers have reassessed their lives and chosen to seek work in other sectors or in the case of migrant workers (on which the sector heavily depends) to simply leave Ireland.

The Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) has also proved controversial. Research highlighted that the original payment was 50% higher than the gross weekly wage of the average minimum wage employee in the hospitality sector (€232.30). It has been asserted that many low paid workers prefer to remain on the PUP rather than return to often challenging and low paid work.

From RTÉ Radio 1’s Saturday with Katie Hannon, a panel discussion on PUP payments and labour shortages in the hospitality sector

So what’s the solution? There have been calls from leaders within the sector for the PUP to be abolished, but the payment is currently being phased out and it remains to be seen if this will have an impact on labour shortages. Given that shortages were seen before the pandemic, it’s possible that recruitment issues will dog the sector post-PUP. Employers are seeking supports from Government in the form of tax breaks such as a return to lower VAT rates, changes to work permits and visa systems for migrant workers.

While the changes called for by the industry may have some impact in the short term, they externalise the problem and fail to acknowledge the aspects of work that make the industry unattractive for many. Perhaps leaders need to carry out a root and branch honest evaluation of working conditions across the sector (positive and negative) and examine how to increase sustainability for workers and employers alike?

Sustainability is a concept normally associated with climate change and the environment, but sustainable human resource management is gaining traction. This has been defined as “the adoption of strategies and practices that enable the achievement of financial, social, and ecological goals, with an impact inside and outside of the organization and over a long-term time horizon”. The broader social goal involves organisations incorporating elements such as ‘decent work’ into core policies and Irish organisations, such as An Post, have adopted this as a core strategy.

RTÉ Brainstorm video on the low-paid workers who kept Ireland open during the pandemic

There is no denying that the sector operates on tight margins and that pay is never going to be at the highest end of the spectrum. However, some areas for consideration include

(i) Talking to workers and their representative groups in determining the future structure of work within the sector.

(ii) While fluctuating working hours may work for some groups such as students, more predictability needs to be considered for at least a proportion of workers to achieve longer term stability and retention.

(iii) The sector, especially the hotel sector, could examine formalised career pathways – not just at managerial levels, but for relatively low skilled workers who enter the industry. Potential training and career advancement opportunities may increase the attractiveness of the sector despite relatively lower pay.

From RTÉ News in 2018, a survey has found that many hotel and restaurant workers are not receiving tips

(iv) It may be time for the industry to re-evaluate the issues around low pay and there are already government supports available. Joint Labour Committees facilitate wage setting which can level the playing field for all organisations within the sector. Employers have been reluctant to engage with this process, but this warrants reconsideration.

The hospitality sector is of huge importance to the economy of Ireland. However, the time has come for the sector to reassess itself and what it represents. Many of its workers have clearly done so during the pandemic. Perhaps a more sustainable approach to human resource management and employment relations can provide some answers.

Source: https://www.rte.ie/brainstorm/2021/0929/1249714-hospitality-sector-workers-ireland-covid-pup-low-pay-working-conditions/

Expert’s Voice: Top ten F&B revenue-management tips for hotel restaurants

Silvie Cohen and David Israel of hotelAVE suggest practical measures that hotel restaurants can adopt to boost their top lines and minimise the impact of spiralling costs.

As restaurants emerge from the Covid19 pandemic, operators remain challenged by nationwide labour shortages, the rising cost of wages and the increasing cost of goods.

To mitigate these bottom-line issues, just like hotels and airlines deploy revenue-management techniques to push sales, there are strategies F&B teams can deploy to optimise their top line as well. This article takes you through F&B revenue-management tips to help restauranteurs improve profitability.

Top ten F&B revenue-management tips for hotel restaurants:

  • Prix-Fixe menus: Explore offering a fixed three-course menu for a set price, which will help drive average check. This is a popular option for weekday lunch as well as weekend brunch (bottomless brunch) or family / holiday meals.
  • Dynamic pricing: Evaluate surge pricing based on demand levels or meal period to drive incremental revenue (weekday versus weekend, lunch versus dinner). Given the increased use of digital / mobile menus (eg utilising QR codes), this strategy can be implemented with minimal cost.
  • Entrée additions: Highlight certain additions to entrées on the menu. For example, provide the option to get bacon added to a burger, a fourth taco (if the dish serves three) or egg-white substitutions amongst other combinations for an additional upcharge. If it is highlighted on the menu, guests are likely to order it.
  • Time management: Consider the length of time customers sit at their table to maximise the amount of turns during service. Set table limits or provide express meal options (eg one-hour power lunch) to optimise the number of covers the restaurant does during certain meal periods. Offer additional points or incentives via reservation systems (OpenTable, Resy, etc) to motivate guests to book at off-peak hours. Allow guests to pay via mobile QR code to expedite the checkout process.
  • Hotel cross-collaboration: Incentivise hotel guests to come to the restaurant via offering different benefits. Destination fees: If the hotel has a destination fee, include F&B offerings within the fee to encourage guests to come to the restaurant. Data suggests a modest discount or free drink / appetiser generates substantial incremental revenue from hotel guests when offered. Prioritise hotel guests: Offer guests priority seating and reservation access to drive covers.
  • Competitive price shop: Complete a quarterly shop of comparable food, beverage and event prices within the competitive set. Be sure to evaluate if menu prices are too low or too high and adjust, as necessary.
  • Find menu ‘stars’: Evaluate product mix (PMIX) and menu costing to understand which menu items are highly profitable and sell (eg French fries). Train servers to understand which items they should be selling in real time based on inventory and pricing (eg avoid guacamole if there is an avocado shortage). Eliminate loss-leaders during high-demand periods and eliminate menu items that take a long time to cook or require additional culinary / front-of-house resources to execute.
  • Lucrative happy hours: Provide enticing happy-hour offerings to increase foot traffic in the early hours post-work. Another creative option includes offering a ‘reverse happy hour’, which is reduced pricing during later evening hours (starting at 9pm versus 4pm). Utilise limited menus with enticing offers (US$1 oysters, half-off cocktails, etc).
  • Ancillary spend: Give guests the option to purchase their favourite restaurant items to take home (eg homemade cookies, make-it-yourself pasta kits, Bloody Mary mix, etc).
  • Flexible seating: Evaluate flexible seating options to ensure four-tops can be turned into two-tops to mitigate lost revenue due to differences between party size and available seating.

Source: https://tophotel.news/experts-voice-top-ten-fb-revenue-management-tips-for-hotel-restaurants/

‘A hotel without linen is not a hotel’

Lilliput Services in Belfast is one of the unsung companies without which the UK’s hotel industry could not exist.

The fresh bed linen you’re used to seeing in your hotel room is not owned by the hotels themselves, but by laundry firms like Lilliput.

They collect it when it’s dirty and bring it back nice and clean. As boss David Griffiths puts it: “A hotel without linen is not a hotel.”

But Covid, Brexit and other factors have combined to make life extremely difficult for laundry companies – and that is having a knock-on effect for accommodation providers everywhere.

Sources in the hotel industry have reported difficulties in getting rooms ready for guests because they don’t have enough bedclothes.

Kate Nicholls, head of the UK Hospitality industry body, has said the problems are “across the sector”.

‘We have had general managers taking laundry home in order to get towels turned around because the commercial laundry providers haven’t been able to guarantee the delivery,” she told the BBC.

Part of this is down to the national shortage of lorry drivers that is holding up linen deliveries, just as it is leading to gaps on supermarket shelves.

But the problems go deeper. Weather-related disasters and India’s Covid crisis have caused a global shortage of cotton, so that laundry firms are finding it hard to replace worn-out sheets with new ones.

“I’ve been in this game 40 years and I’ve never, never not been able to buy a pillowcase,” says Mr Griffiths.

For the past five weeks, Lilliput has been working 24 hours a day, five days a week in an effort to clear the backlog of deliveries. That has meant paying staff extra to work the unsocial hours.

In order to keep going during the pandemic, the firm took out a coronavirus business interruption loan of £1.3m. Although interest rates are low, Mr Griffiths says that planned investments in the business will now have to wait.

“About 80% of our staff were Eastern European and a lot of them went home during furlough,” he adds. Brexit has also made it difficult to get materials into Northern Ireland from elsewhere in the UK.

“It’s absolutely astonishing, it’s devastating,” he says. “This will impact on the marketplace unless we can find solutions.”

Back to the floor

Across the Irish Sea in Blackpool, another laundry firm is finding the going tough as well.

Like Lilliput, Blackpool Laundry makes its living from providing linen to hotels, NHS hospitals and ferry services.

Having started as a local firm in the seaside resort, it now has clients all over north-western England.

But boss Mark Oldroyd is more often found on the shop floor than in his office right now, pitching in to help mitigate a shortage of workers.

“We’re struggling to get staff. It’s getting quite bad,” he told the BBC.

Unlike his counterpart in Northern Ireland, Mr Oldroyd is suffering less from the lorry driver shortage: “Drivers are not too bad, it’s getting labour.”

David Stevens, chief executive of the Textile Services Association, says the laundry industry is facing “massive recruitment issues”.

There are currently 4,000 vacancies out of a workforce of 24,000, he says.

“The industry was overlooked during the pandemic – it wasn’t hospitality, it wasn’t retail and it wasn’t leisure,” he told the BBC.

“Firms had a tough time and had to make a lot of commercial decisions. It’s very difficult to kickstart the industry in just three weeks.”

With the “unprecedented bounce-back” of the hotel industry and a return to 90% occupancy rates, “we just haven’t been able to get adequate staff”, he says.

Mr Griffiths of Lilliput Services says that whatever happens, change is coming to the industry.

“We have to pay more money and we have to charge more for our services,” he says. “It’s the only way forward.”

Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-58465953

Radisson Hotel Group announces a record year in Africa, with 13 hotels and 2,500 rooms signed to date

Radisson Hotel Group (www.RadissonHotels.com), one of the world’s leading hotel groups, is proud to announce a hotel expansion record in Africa with 13 signings to date, translating to a new hotel signed every 20 days. The Group’s expansion drive, adding 2,500 rooms to its African portfolio, includes the announcement of nine hotels in Morocco, the Group’s debut in Djibouti and the introduction of the Radisson Individuals brand in Africa. Adding to this expansion milestone, the Group has also opened five hotels to date this year, including Africa’s second Radisson RED in South Africa and four Radisson Blu resort offerings in Morocco.

With additional hotel signings and a further three openings in Africa expected before year end, Radisson Hotel Group remains prudently optimistic regarding the business recovery within the last quarter of 2021. The Group’s aggressive expansion places them firmly on track to boost the current African portfolio of almost 100 hotels currently in operation and under development to its ambition of 150 hotels by 2025. As part of the expansion strategy, the Group has put forward growth priorities across key markets such as Morocco, Egypt and South Africa.

From a single hotel in Africa 20 years ago, Radisson Hotel Group’s current African portfolio of almost 100 hotels in operation and under development is located in more than 30 countries across the continent, cementing the Group’s leading position as the hotel company with the largest active presence in the most countries across Africa.

The 13 signings, reinforcing the Group’s expansion strategy, have secured a record growth in Morocco with an additional nine hotels, comprising of two hotels in Casablanca, including the debut of the Radisson brand with the Radisson Hotel Casablanca Gauthier La Citadelle and the recent partnership established with Madaëf which translates to seven additional hotels across key leisure destinations in the country. The group has also announced the launch of their first project, the Earl Heights Suite Hotel, a member of Radisson Individuals in Accra, Ghana joining their new affiliation brand; their market entry in Victory Falls with the introduction of Radisson Blu Resort Mosi-Oa-Tunya Livingstone as well as another new entry with Radisson Hotel Djibouti. The most recent announcement was the Radisson Hotel Middleburg which further complements the Group’s presence across South Africa.

These hotel signings equate to almost 2,500 rooms, most of which are in the Group’s core focus countries, especially across Morocco, with the remainder reinforcing their presence in cluster markets or entering into new territories.

Ramsay Rankoussi, Vice President, Development, Africa & Turkey at Radisson Hotel Group, said:For the remainder of the year, we will continue to build on the success and momentum we’ve had thus far, with a continued focus on our identified key markets, specifically Morocco, Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa. We aim to further accelerate our presence across the continent through both new build and conversions, especially post-pandemic, as there is less liquidity for newer developments. We therefore seek to form wider partnerships and strategic ventures with local or regional chains and forge ahead with our city scale and critical mass strategy. The execution of our strategy with clear priorities will equally support in achieving positive economic efficiencies and synergies operationally across all our existing and future hotels, further unlocking value to our owners. We have also demonstrated the relevant flexibility in addressing the current investment climate by providing not only tailored solutions to every project but also rationalizing our relationships with our investors to assess the best timings in terms of openings and the right budget allocation in terms of segment, space program and development cost.

“Africa is mainly led by business hotels, but with the recent signings, we have expanded our leisure offerings and serviced apartments which has not only proven resilient during COVID-19 but is also fueling a faster recovery. Our ambitions are driven by creating critical mass in each of our identified focus markets but also ensuring market proximity. These regions are sub divided based on priorities, focus and potential scale.”

“Despite the current situation and supporting our robust expansion strategy, our teams are working tirelessly to realize the pipeline, with eight hotel openings in Africa this year. We have already opened five hotels, consisting of four of the seven hotels we’ve just announced in Morocco, which consist of resorts and residences as well the opening of Africa’s second Radisson RED hotel in Rosebank. The remaining three hotels, all due to open before year-end, represent our debut in Madagascar with a portfolio of three hotels.”

Building on the success of the Group’s five-year expansion and transformation plan, Radisson Hotel Group is ready for the rebound of travel and remains firmly committed to becoming the brand of choice for owners, partners, and guests.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Radisson Hotel Group.

Source: https://www.africanews.com/2021/09/20/radisson-hotel-group-announces-a-record-year-in-africa-with-13-hotels-and-2-500-rooms-signed-to-date/