“RevPAR to TRevPAR: More Than a Metric – Insights from HOSPACE 2023”

As proud sponsors of HOSPA, FM Recruitment’s Chris Denison Smith, Andrea Shaw and Tairona Lattanzi had the privilege of attending HOSPACE 2023 last week at the Royal Lancaster London. Here we share some of their insights and observations. This year’s conference echoed many of the themes and discussions encountered in similar gatherings throughout 2023, however, offered an additional comprehensive and practical insight from the perspective of the UK’s specialist hospitality leaders.  

From the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to an evolving approach to measuring success, the event provided a valuable forum for these leaders to share ideas and strategies for navigating the hospitality landscape. 

The Role of AI: Augmenting, Not Replacing the Human Touch 
As we have previously reviewed, the impact of Artificial Intelligence and its role in the hospitality industry was a popular theme running through the day. However, the narrative certainly seems to have shifted from the worry of AI as a potential replacement for (human) employees to an enthusiasm for a tool that enhances and complements human capabilities. The discussions centered around the importance of preparing team members to effectively utilise these technologies, while also being adept at managing any technical shortcomings. 

Effectively training employees to operate technologies and empowering them with the skills and acumen to intervene when technology can sometimes fall short, is something that the best businesses have been doing for years, and in this sense, AI is just another technology that could otherwise be badly served by a disinterested employee. 

The warmth, empathy, and personal attention that employees should provide, are irreplaceable and often make the difference in guest satisfaction. Therefore, while AI can enhance efficiency and personalisation, it won’t replace the need for human interaction in the hospitality industry. The future of hospitality lies in a balanced synergy between AI and human ingenuity, where technology is used as a powerful tool to augment, not replace, human service. 

Persistent Resourcing Challenges
The UK’s hospitality industry continues to face significant recruitment and retention challenges and this topic was extensively discussed at the conference. The latest Quarterly Recruitment Outlook report from the British Chambers of Commerce reported that 79% of hospitality firms were struggling to fill roles in Q3 2023. While this may be a slight decrease from the previous quarter’s (86% in Q2) the hospitality sector, is still the industry most likely to be experiencing challenges. Industry bodies attribute this to a combination of factors, including the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic and the implications of Brexit. 

Shift in Revenue Metrics: From RevPAR to TRevPAR
A significant shift in the industry’s approach to measuring success was also evident at the conference. Total Revenue per Available Room (TRevPAR) has overtaken Revenue per Available Room (RevPAR) as the most important metric. This shift indicates a broader focus on the profitability of the entire stay, encouraging hotels to maximise opportunities for incremental spend. 

TRevPAR, unlike RevPAR, considers revenue generated from all departments of a hotel, including rooms, food and beverage, spa, parking, and other amenities. This comprehensive metric provides a more holistic view of a hotel’s financial performance, helping hoteliers identify areas where they can increase revenue. 

In terms of maximising opportunities for incremental spend, hotels are exploring innovative ways to merchandise their space. For example, transforming lobbies into chargeable co-working areas or converting dormant meeting rooms into extensions of the restaurant. These strategies not only increase TRevPAR but also enhance the guest experience by offering additional services and amenities.  

The Evolving Role of the Revenue Manager
The knock-on effect of a more holistic approach to total revenue metrics is the expanding scope of the hotel revenue manager. Traditionally focused on managing room rates and negotiating commissions on distribution channels, revenue managers are now at the forefront of strategic and commercial decision-making. With the influx of new data sets and technology, their role has become more sophisticated, requiring a blend of analytical skills, market research, and critical thinking. 

Revenue managers are increasingly seen as the hub of hospitality commercial teams, tasked with a wide range of responsibilities, including implementing and operating technology systems and aligning closely with sales, marketing, and e-commerce. They are expected to lead and solve complex problems, optimising profit while navigating the challenges posed by new data and technology. 

USALI: First Update since 2015
To further support this evolution, the conference also shed light on the most recent update to the Uniform System of Accounts for the Lodging Industry (USALI). This update, released late last year and the first since 2015, reflects the change in the industry over the past decade, with new schedules and categories for tracking financial performance. The changes included the introduction of the Energy, Water, and Waste (EWW) Schedule, expanded definitions for rate categories, and enhanced guidance for tracking costs associated with Guest Loyalty Programs. The advice from the financial specialists at HOSPACE underscored the importance of financial controllers becoming certified in the system. 

Keeping the Faith – Outlook for 2024-2025
Looking ahead, the industry’s outlook for 2024-2025 remains steady, with a focus on maintaining high rates and profitability. The expectation is that customers are willing to pay more for high-quality experiences that deliver a higher level of perceived value. This offers opportunities for driving incremental spend and repurposing underutilised space for additional revenue. Increased hotel supply in cities such as London, Edinburgh and Manchester will certainly challenge businesses to drop rates but with revenue managers holding firm so far, we may continue to see growth. 

HOSPACE 2023 provided a wealth of insights into the current trends and future directions of the hospitality industry. The discussions and themes resonated with those observed in similar events throughout the year, emphasising the importance of AI as a tool to enhance human work, the ongoing staffing challenges, the evolving role of revenue management, and the significance of financial tracking systems like USALI. As the industry continues to navigate these challenges and opportunities, the focus remains on balancing technological advancements with the irreplaceable human touch in hospitality. 

If you would like to discuss any of the topics that have been discussed here or any other elements of your people strategy, then please contact:  

 Chris Denison Smith at chrisdenisonsmith@fmrecruitment.co.uk / +44 208 600 1160

Andrea Shaw at  andreashaw@fmrecruitment.co.uk / +44 20 8600 1161

Tairona Lattanzi at taironalattanzi@fmrecruitment.co.uk / +44 20 8600 1164

The Middle East’s Undimmed Investment Lure: Future Hospitality Summit 2023 in Abu Dhabi with Andrea Shaw and Tairona Lattanzi

Last week, Andrea Shaw and Tairona Lattanzi attended the Future Hospitality Summit (FHS) in Abu Dhabi, which attracted industry professionals from around the world to explore, discuss, and decipher the current status and forward trajectory of the hospitality sector in the Middle East. Here, Andrea shares her comprehensive insights and experiences from the summit, providing a nuanced look at the opportunities, challenges, and emergent trends in the industry. 

Investment Landscape
Contrary to the whispers at the International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) earlier this year that suggested that investment opportunities in the Middle East were reaching a plateau, this event hinted at a far from exhausted investment landscape there. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Abu Dhabi have all accelerated their ambitions in recent years, but we found that this event had a considerable focus on Dubai and how it has astutely steered itself to hold substantial weight in the global hospitality industry, luring investors with its infrastructural marvels, technological advancements, and dynamic customer base. In particular, the Russian and Chinese markets are being eyed as potential catalysts for sustained investment. 

Russian and Chinese Investment
As the global ramifications of the war in Ukraine continue, Russian investors and tourists are tending to spend considerably longer in the region. A strong relationship seems to be budding between Russian nationals and the Dubai hospitality sector, signalling a niche for tailored services and more authentic experiences. By understanding their preferences, spending habits, and cultural nuances to craft offerings that seamlessly align with their expectations, the hospitality industry in the region can maximise profits in a market that holds an uncertain future. 

Touted as a colossal market with untapped potential, the Chinese traveller stands on the cusp of being a significant player in Middle Eastern hospitality. While a large section of the market is yet to re-embrace travel after the pandemic, there is a significant expectation that this will happen soon, and hospitality operators are eager to make preparations for it yet cautious enough to protect costs and cash flow in the meantime. Again, understanding their buying behaviours, shopping habits, and technological usage (like their predilection for platforms like WeChat and Weibo) will be vital to winning market share. Tailoring marketing strategies and operational aspects to accommodate and attract this segment could pave the way for a torrent of opportunities in the not too distant future. 

A discernible thread through the summit was the heightened emphasis on sustainability. Dialogue with investors underscored the imperative of embedding eco-friendly practises into the very early stages of planning and construction. The financial and operational challenges of retrofitted adaptations seem to be rather easier to negate in the Middle East, with a stronger new build culture than they might be in other parts of the world. While sustainability was being pushed as a key theme during the event, the buy-in from attendees was sometimes disappointing given the low turnout at these sessions. 

With authenticity playing such an important role in appealing to customers, it seems clear that a robust and transparent environment, sustainability, and governance strategies will be crucial in appealing to both internal and external audiences. Branded hotels now tend to include operational standards to address basic ESG requirements that appeal to third party booking platforms, including corporate booking partners, and this could add to the appeal of branded hotels, which we will discuss in further detail below. You can also read more on the key role ESG can play in recruitment and employee retention, which Hospitality People Group published recently.

Food and Beverage Conundrum
With the Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF) taking place on the first day of FHS, the food and beverage domain garnered unanimous attention. An interesting debate that peppered the sessions concerned the question of how food and beverage outlets should be managed. While some advocated for the inclusion of celebrity chefs and high-profile names, others veered towards third-party management or even in-house handling of F&B. The strategic choice in this regard can significantly mould the guest experience and brand positioning in the hyper-competitive market, but the general consensus was that there was no consensus, which suggests that any of these management strategies can be successfully implemented in the right circumstances. Unfortunately, this also suggests that any of these can fail when the conditions aren’t suitable. 

Brand vs. Independent
In a similar vein to the question of how best to manage food and beverage outlets, the summit raised the topic of affiliating with established brands or steering through the market as independent entities. The Middle East, with its penchant for brand recognition and associated prestige, seemingly tilts the balance in favour of brand affiliations. However, there’s a sprouting of independent hotels, no doubt hoping to appeal to the growing trend for unique and authentic experiences, and they seem keen to challenge this assumption. There didn’t seem to be any evidence so far to measure the impact of this, but with so many large hotel operators with newer brands that offer the best of both worlds (e.g., Marriott’s Autograph Collection or Hilton’s Curio Collection), we may see this develop over the next few years. 

Andrea and Tairona’s time at the Future Hospitality Summit was a journey through a landscape of ideas, opportunities, and genuine connections. The spirit of the region, ever-resilient and ambitious, continues to embrace the global challenges in the hospitality industry, and this event will continue to linger in the minds and strategies of those hospitality professionals, operators, owners, and potential investors who attended. 

If you would like to discuss any of the topics that have been discussed here or any other elements of your people strategy, then please do not hesitate to contact Andrea Shaw at  andreashaw@fmrecruitment.co.uk or on +44 20 8600 1160. 

Will AI replace human hospitality recruiters?

Last year, the Metaverse was touted as the future of business. While that might certainly be the case at some point in the future, it feels that the enthusiasm for this project has waned.  

The technology needed to experience Web 3.0 is still unfamiliar to many, but more importantly, there has been a huge backtrack in recent months from innovators such as Meta and Disney, as they have dramatically reduced their workforces dedicated to this sector. 

On the other hand, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is growing in influence. We are familiar with AI through popular culture, and Hollywood movies have often highlighted the advantages and disadvantages very clearly, and often, dramatically!  

Since Chat GPT was launched in November 2022, we have seen a sudden deluge of AI add-ons and features added to familiar websites, search engines, and productivity programmes. Devices we already own, suddenly have the ability to leverage the power of advanced AI…. for free. 

There is no doubt that AI is disrupting the way we work, live and interact. Like all advancements, it has the potential to create both new opportunities and challenges for various sectors, and the hospitality industry is no different.  

But what impact is this technology likely to have on recruitment in the hospitality industry? 

Hospitality Skills
Before we look at how AI could affect recruitment, it is important to ask if AI might make a difference in the type of roles or skills that may become more sought after in future.  

AI can enhance the efficiency and accuracy of many jobs across the sector by automating repetitive and routine tasks, such as data entry, reconciliation, invoicing and payments.  

This can free up time and resources for employees to focus on more strategic and innovative activities. This could help hospitality professionals to generate new insights and recommendations, identify new opportunities and trends, and create new products and services. 

While the reduction of manual tasks may certainly affect the number of employees required, it may also help augment the skills and capabilities of employees to help them to deliver more value for their businesses and guests. This would require the industry to continue to adapt and evolve roles and responsibilities and acquire new skills and competencies to leverage the power of these technological advancements. 

We know that finding and hiring perfect candidates for hospitality roles is a challenging and time-consuming process. AI will certainly be able to help streamline and improve certain recruitment processes including: 

  • The screening and shortlisting of candidates based on their resumes, skills, qualifications and experience. AI could help save recruiters time and effort and reduce human bias and errors 
  • Providing personalised and timely communication, feedback and guidance throughout the recruitment journey. This can increase candidate engagement and satisfaction, and improve the employer brand 
  • Providing insights and recommendations for recruiters and hiring managers. This can help them make better and faster decisions, optimise their strategies, and identify talent gaps and opportunities. 
  • Helping candidates find and apply for roles that match their preferences, goals and potential. This can increase the quality and diversity of the talent pool, and reduce the turnover rate. 

Understanding Bias in AI  
A 2021 Forbes article, Understanding Bias in AI Enabled Hiring, it was highlighted how AI objectively assesses the data points and reduces assumptions, mental fatigue and bias that humans often succumb to.  

While there is a risk of human bias being subconsciously programmed into the AI algorithm, there are still clear advantages to relying on AI to screen candidates on a large scale.  

In 2019, a Harvard Business Review article, Will AI reduce Gender Bias in Hiring, it highlighted that AI does not need to engage in unconscious biases to penalise based on gender or other under-represented groups in order to get a self-esteem boost. 

Reducing human bias is undoubtedly a fairer solution, but this lack of bias could also be a significant drawback to AI-based recruitment.  If a business wanted to diversify its workforce or business culture, recruitment without any human judgement may not serve the purpose.  

There are candidates out there with atypical work experiences that fail to meet the AI algorithm standards, who could potentially be the best fit in terms of their individual personality, interests, character and work ethics. 

Our Conclusion
As specialists in people strategy, we recognise that our view comes from a position of bias, but we strongly feel that AI will never replace our consultants. It will likely become a powerful tool that can augment our capabilities and performance, by helping reduce mundane tasks. This will allow us to focus on the human aspects of people and performance strategies, such as building relationships, focussing on retention and culture, and providing added value to businesses and candidates. 

If you would like to have a chat about your people strategy, please get in touch and we can chat – human to human – on Tel: +44 20 8600 1166. 


Is Hospitality really the most stressful industry in the UK?

April is Stress Awareness Month, and after a number of publications last year reported that 57% of hospitality employees regularly experience high levels of stress, we want to ask if hospitality really is the most stressful industry in the UK? 

The most stressful industry in the UK? 

In July last year, a report from addiction and rehab specialist Delamere, on the toxicity of the hustle culture, gave a breakdown on stress in various industries. This report was picked up in a number of other articles at the time, and presented hospitality as the most stressful industry in the UK. According to the report, 57.1% of “Accommodation and Food Service” workers reported poor mental health, more than Health and Social Care and Manufacturing which rounded out the top three places. The data to back this up were attributed to Lifeworks’ monthly Mental Health Index. These figures tend to vary by month and while Hospitality is no longer considered the worst offender in terms of workplace stress, it still rates consistently low in areas such as Average Hours Worked and Work-Life Balance.  

The impact of stress on retention rates 

Long Hours and Work-Life Balance, contribute highly towards levels of stress, which can eventually lead to burnout, especially if the level of commitment to the business and its culture begins to wane. Inevitable this can lead to reduced productivity and employee retention levels.  

Last year, we published The Battle for Retention which looked at a number of other factors that can affect employee turnover. 

Advice on how to tackle stress in the workplace consistently revolves around how to spot it in yourself, and in your employees. As individuals, we all have a responsibility to ourselves to recognise when we are working too hard or neglecting our personal commitments. Hospitality Action is a charity that supports hospitality employees both inside and outside of the workplace. In their Advice Hub, they share expert advice and information on how to get further support on a range of issues, including Stress.  

Signs of stress can include:  

  • Difficulty sleeping 
  • Feeling irritated with family, friends or co-workers 
  • Drinking more than usual 
  • Struggling with work deadlines 
  • Feeling isolated and lonely 
  • Physical symptoms such as: panic attacks, headaches, chest pains, indigestion, dizziness, nausea, sweating, breathing problems

Mental health charity Mind recommends some ways to manage it including:  

  • Identify your triggers – Try to prepare for stress by recognising what sets it off 
  • Organise your time – Make a list of your tasks and approach them in order of urgency 
  • Be clear about your limits – While it isn’t always possible to say no to things, let people know if you don’t have the capacity to fulfil their demands 
  • Try to take a short break – it may seem counter-intuitive to take a break when you are stressed but if you can allow yourself one, this can help how you feel 
  • Develop interests and hobbies – Outside of work, try to make time for what you enjoy to take you away from stress 
  • Get enough sleep 
  • Stay physically active 
  • Eat a balanced diet 
  • Spend time in nature 
  • Build a support network – having friends and family, or finding support at work to talk through why you feel stressed can make a big difference 

Employers also have a duty to instill a workplace culture that can help spot the signs of stress and empower them to engage with employees on a more personal level, especially if they are seeing symptoms of stress in the team or in individuals. According to the Health and Safety Executive, signs of stress in a team can include: 

  •  Increase in arguments amongst staff 
  • Higher staff turnover 
  • More reports of stress 
  • More sickness absence 
  • Decreased performance 
  • More complaints and grievances   

 In individuals, leaders may notice a change in the way people act or feel, such as: 

  •  Taking more time off 
  • Arriving for work later 
  • Being more twitchy or nervous 
  • Mood swings 
  • Being withdrawn 
  • A loss of motivation, commitment and confidence 
  • Increased emotional reactions – being more tearful, sensitive or aggressive 

In addition to the free support for hospitality employees, Hospitality Action also offers a number of support packages including Stress and Resilience Training, designed to bolster the resilience and wellbeing of your employees. 

If you would like support with your people strategy in 2023, FM Recruitment are here for you. With a superb track record in finding the right people for the right role, we have long standing relationships with clients and candidates and we can help guide you through challenging and sometimes stressful times.  

 If you would like to chat about your people strategy, please contact us on +44 20 8600 1160.  


The Battle for Retention

The Battle for Retention  

The hospitality industry has become very familiar with the phrase War for Talent in the last couple of years. A number of factors have led to recruitment challenges we have not faced for decades. Indeed, last summer we wrote an article on “How can Culture win the War for Talent?” and the role of company culture in attracting the most talented candidates. 

However, as recruitment challenges are expected to continue throughout 2023, it seems clear that the most important battle being fought right now is the ‘Battle for Retention’.  

While recruitment and executive search form a large part of the services we offer, we pride ourselves on our overall strategic people support. Our track record of building and maintaining relationships in the industry has allowed us to support clients with long-term people strategies that focus on retention by supporting natural succession, rather than a reactive continuous replacement strategy. Here we share some of the insights that we have found to support a healthy retention strategy. 

Employee Turnover – Facts and Figures
Firstly, it is important to recognise that employee turnover can be good for business, but only if you can achieve a healthy balance of retention. If you track and record your turnover, identify trends to adjust your strategy, you will have a great opportunity to minimise disruption to your operations through excessive turnover.  According to a study by Fourth, the average hospitality employee turnover rate is currently 6% per month, which equates to over 70% annually. Other industries average just 15% for the whole year. This level of turnover is likely to directly affect customers, due to the impact on the overall service experience.  Longer standing employees are also likely to be affected as they become frustrated with the continuous cycle of onboarding and training. 

In order to understand what causes turnover, let’s look at some of the top reasons given for people leaving their position. According to a Forbes articles from 2022 the number one reason for moving jobs is due to a toxic company culture (62%). This is followed up by low salary (59%), poor management (56%), lack of healthy work-life boundaries (49%) and not allowing remote work (43%). 

While salary will always be a hugely important factor in moving jobs, company culture is proving to be more important when it comes to deciding to change jobs. With the cost of doing business under the microscope as we head into the new year, ensuring that your company culture reflects your business values and is clearly communicated throughout your team, could be the most value-adding action you take to increase retention rates in 2023.  

How we communicate our company culture and values internally and externally is also crucial to managing your online reputation. Current employees want to feel pride in where they work and potential candidates will thoroughly research positions they apply for. Too often, we come across businesses who have not invested in a company website, or indeed any online presence. This lack of visibility can present a challenge with recruitment and retention and is often more damaging than a below average online presence. 

Recruitment and Onboarding
Hiring the right person for the right position may seem like a very obvious choice. However, it can be very tempting to take shortcuts and gloss over red flags in order to fill vacant positions quickly. Taking time to get to know the candidate by asking the right questions and then sharing accurate information about the role and future opportunities is critical to managing expectations on both sides. Equally important is the onboarding process, where all of the hard work in communicating your strong company culture can be quickly undone in the first couple of days in a role. 

Hospitality Students and Graduates
We would always recommend building strong relationships with hospitality schools and universities to help support the future of the industry. Hospitality students and graduates are some of the most passionate and ambitious members of the sector.  

How they progress within your business is often a fair measure of how well you will retain and attract employees. If you find that they are choosing to leave the business or leave the industry after a fixed term of employment, then there may certainly be opportunities to adapt your strategy. We know that hospitality graduates have higher than average expectations of career progression. While promotions and full-time positions are always dependent on a number of factors, how we encourage and communicate ongoing development and promotions when trying to attract the best and brightest graduates, will directly impact decisions at the end of the program.  

Importance of Exit Interviews
Often overlooked in what can be a period of mixed emotions, exit interviews are critically important to identify trends specific to your business. The questions should have a variety of open questions that appeal to different personalities and encourage interviewees to share their thoughts without fear of offending. This can sometimes be a challenging issue, as some employees may have valuable information to share, but might also be hesitant to burn bridges or get people into trouble. 

However, combined with well-structured and recorded annual reviews, exit interviews can be used to identify opportunities to help develop a strong people strategy that supports succession planning, anticipates natural turnover and increases retention. 

If you would like some support with your people strategy in 2023, FM Recruitment are here for you. Specialising in finance, with a superb track record in finding the right people for the right role, we have long standing relationships with clients and candidates and we can help guide you through challenging times. 

As part of Hospitality People Group we are also able to support all areas of human capital across the global hospitality industry. 

Chris Denison Smith, Managing Director
+44 20 8600 1160 / +44 7775 711923

Andrea Shaw, Director
+44 20 8600 1160 / +44 7714 236469

Tairona Lattanzi, Recruitment Consultant
+44 20 8600 1164



HOSPACE 2022 – Overview and looking ahead to 2023 

After two years of huge challenges, hospitality enjoyed a bumper year in 2022 as pent-up demand drove business. However, as the Permacrisis (a word that was recently chosen as Collins English Dictionary’s word of the year) shows no sign of abating, 2023 has already been labelled by some as the “year of coping”. In this article, we reflect on some of the insights from HOSPACE and the hospitality industry in 2022 and look forward to what trends we might expect to see in 2023. 

Despite the ongoing cost of living crisis, sustainability continues to be a driving force behind many of the decisions made by owners, operators and investors. The current costs of energy and our reliance on fossil fuels have made more sustainable options a preferred option in terms of future-proofing.  

Speaking at HOSPACE in November, Danny Pecorelli, Managing Director of Exclusive Hotels, noted that while their collection of hotels may include some challenging designs, they have put sustainability into every decision they make. This has led to the introduction of wild swimming pools, technology-led solutions and a gradual movement from gas to induction in the kitchens. 

Unfortunately, many operators noted that none of this comes cheaply, but the cost of not doing something is even higher. 

Danny’s commitment to sustainability was later recognised as he was deservedly announced as the winner of the Inspirational Sustainability Leader of the year award. 

From a recruitment perspective we are continuing to see trends from 2022 expected to continue throughout 2023.  

Culture continues to play a determining factor in decisions candidates make to accept new roles or stay in current positions. We have spoken before about how candidates want to share the same values as their current and prospective employers.  

The way in which companies communicate and act on these values will be seen as a crucial factor in successful recruitment and retention. The cost of living is also a huge factor as many candidates are starting to see moving jobs as being an easier route to an inflation busting pay rise.  

With inflation hitting double figures in recent months, any pay increase less than this is viewed as a real terms pay cut. Moving jobs is often seen as the best way to increase a wage packet and we are now seeing remuneration expectations hitting +20% on current wages.  

2023 – A Coping Year
With these additional costs and an uncertain revenue forecast facing hotel operators in 2023, it is no wonder that a number of commentators at HOSPACE were referring to “A Coping Year” ahead.  

Hospitality has faced huge challenges in the last three years and those that have come through have developed a significant level of resilience.  

In many ways, the Pandemic Pivot was a lifeline for hospitality as it forced operators to adopt new technologies and ways of working to directly improve the customer and employee experience.  

While this agility and adaptability were necessary survival techniques in 2020/1, these skills will be used to continuously improve processes, control costs, boost revenues and drive profits in 2023.  

Previous recessions saw hotels forced to drop rates and drive occupancy to maintain profits. With many hotels still struggling with being under-resourced and the costs of selling a room increasing alongside the cost of living, many hotels will be looking to maintain or even increase rates. Some operators are potentially closing parts of their building or restaurants to save costs.  

Overall, it does look like the luxury sector may be in a stronger position to adapt to the current challenges. Their ability to pass increased costs onto customers who can still afford luxury is a comfort that won’t be reflected at every level of hospitality, which will be faced with a carefully balancing act of cutting costs and raising prices. 

Although 2022 has been a bumper year, we’re seeing a degree of caution for 2023. 

For support with your next career move or to improve your recruitment strategy, please contact FM Recruitment now using any of the below details:   

 Office +44 20 8600 1160 I Email fm@fmrecruitment.co.uk   
Chris Denison Smith +44 7775 711923 I Email:  chrisdenisonsmith@fmrecruitment.co.uk  
Andrea Shaw +44 7714 236469 I Email:  andreashaw@fmrecruitment.co.uk  
Tairona Lattanzi +44 20 8600 1164 I Email: taironalattanzi@fmrecruitment.co.uk


“We don’t use recruiters!”

As proud sponsors of HOSPA, we were delighted to attend HOSPACE 2022 and as ever, there were some intriguing discussions with industry experts which we enjoyed. One of the presentations got off to a thought-provoking start when a panel member announced “we don’t use recruiters!” 

At a time when finances need to be so carefully managed for businesses, we understand that the costs involved in recruitment should be fully justified. However, at a time when so many businesses are experiencing huge challenges in retention and recruitment, is this the kind of support you can do without? 

Naturally, as specialist recruiters, we are speaking from a biased perspective and so appreciate that we need to try and understand this challenge from a different angle.  

In that vein, we should ask why someone would feel like they don’t get value from recruiters? 

In terms of value, a good recruiter will solve the immediate challenge of placing a high performing employee in a key role. However, there are other benefits that can be easily forgotten.  

Depending on the size of the operation, recruitment often involves other employees taking the time-consuming jobs of sifting through CVs, contacting candidates and co-ordinating diaries.  

This takes employees away from their day-to-day roles and away from areas where they can offer direct value to your customers. While some businesses are lucky enough to rarely need to recruit, the lack of experience in the market can make this particularly challenging and time consuming when they do.  

In fact, this lack of experience can often lead to an even more frustrating result if a lead candidate unexpectedly decides to pull out of the application after using the process to negotiate a better package somewhere else, or decides to leave soon after starting in their new role. A recruiter can protect your business and your current employees in these positions. 

Of course, not all recruiters will suit your needs, and your needs may not suit the cheapest option. If you simply want to distribute a job vacancy far and wide then that will be an economical way to get hundreds of CVs and applications, but do you have the resources to sift through them all and find suitable candidates to interview, let alone to hire?  

A specialist recruiter can give you and your team the gift of time, and since fees are usually only paid once a candidate has started their role, there is no outlay until the position is filled. With the guarantee of replacing the role should the candidate not make it through the minimum period, it really is a risk-free solution to a particularly challenging problem. 

As it turns out, we were able to ask a few questions of the panellist about their comment and it was interesting to note that they did backtrack somewhat on their comment to support specialist recruiters like ourselves. This was quite a relief to hear, as we have helped recruit roles in the industry for over 20 years, and have actually successfully assisted this individual’s company several times! 

If you would like to have a chat about your recruitment strategy then please get in touch with our team.  

Office +44 20 8600 1160 I Email fm@fmrecruitment.co.uk    

Chris Denison Smith +44 7775 711923 I Email chrisdenisonsmith@fmrecruitment.co.uk  
Andrea Shaw +44 7714 236469 I Email andreashaw@fmrecruitment.co.uk  
Tairona Lattanzi +44 20 8600 1164 I Email taironalattanzi@fmrecruitment.co.uk

How Culture can help Win the War for Talent

As we reflect, a year on, we take a look at what’s has changed: 

  • Have employers adapted their recruitment strategies?  
  • Has the hospitality industry adapted to meet employee or candidate expectations?  
  • What role does company culture play in the War for Talent? 

What happened?
The Big Quit and The Great Resignation are just two of the phrases that appeared in the last couple of years. The pandemic precipitated employees around the world to collectively reset and reassess both their professional and personal goals and priorities. This exacerbated the normal cycle of employee turnover and concentrated the timeline to a specific shortened period.  

This turnover sparked a real battle to attract and retain employees, not just between competing businesses, but across industries, where some were far more willing to recruit the right personality with experience from a different industry.  

Hospitality employees were particularly badly hit as many businesses were forced to close multiple times, forcing businesses to make positions redundant. Many of these employees applied for roles in different industries and chose to stay there as hospitality. In addition, many school leavers, who may have applied for their first jobs in bars, restaurants and hotels found jobs unavailable as businesses had closed, or were operating with a reduced workforce.  Again, many  chose an alternative option rather than waiting it out. 

What is the situation now?
The UK’s Office of National Statistics has recently reported that for the first time since records began, job vacancies have outstripped unemployment. However, wages have decreased in real terms against inflation, which continues to rise and remains a threat to the cost of living and doing business. Many hospitality businesses are struggling to attract employees as confidence in the hospitality sector has been rattled by events of the last few years. 

How has the hospitality industry reacted?
“Culture eats Strategy for Breakfast”. It’s a memorable quote often attributed to Peter Drucker, but is particularly relevant now.  

We have found that the businesses that have focussed on their company culture and engaged with employees throughout the pandemic were able to recover much better. As demand to travel started to increase as restrictions eased, they were the ones best placed to scale back up with an existing workforce, but also able to attract talent by offering the stability that comes from a happy workforce that feels like they belong and are able to develop and achieve their goals.  

The Future
Many employers have already increased wages by adopting the national living wage, and adding financial benefits will always help attract the best talent. However, cultures that embrace diversity, equality and inclusion, while offering a better work life balance and aligned values have become more important than monetary reward alone.  

The recruitment process is now very transparent as candidates have access to so much information on businesses, through their website, social media channels and review sites. By the time it comes to an interview, many candidates will be asking probing questions to ensure that everything is aligned and may prioritise other opportunities if this is not the case.  

FM Recruitment can support both the recruitment and retention strategies for employers. Attracting the right people to a business demands looking at everything that communicates the company culture, and as an external resource, we can do the heavy lifting.  We look at all aspects of an available position to ensure we match the perfect candidate with the perfect employer. This gives the candidate the information they need to commit and adapt quickly to a new role and saves the employer time and resources so that they can focus on their day to day operations.
If you would like to chat about your recruitment strategy, please contact either chrisdenisonsmith@fmrecruitment.co.uk or andreashaw@fmrecruitment.co.uk Tel:
+44 20 8600 1160.  

Financial Leadership: Outsourcing vs Inhouse

 As we reflect on the past two years, certain trends seem to have become accelerated in the Covid-19 era. A combination of cost control, flexible working conditions and demand for expertise has seen our requests for short-term or project-based contracts surge. Here we discuss the conditions that have driven this trend, compare the benefits to inhouse or outsourced/contract resources and look ahead to ask if this will be a short-lived or a more permanent trend. 

Outsourcing vs Inhouse
For the purposes of this article, we are defining outsourcing as engaging the help of a 3rd party organisation or an individual to complete specific tasks or project, usually for a set period of time. We will use the term Inhouse to mean full time employee of the business. 

Covid-19 Effect
The pandemic has opened up an array of opportunities for businesses to find the perfect candidates for positions in the current climate. From the moment employees were advised to work from home where possible, the world changed.  

Whilst many have returned to work, either on a full time or on a hybrid basis, businesses have recognised the benefits of employees working from home. Technologies such as fast and cheap domestic broadband, digital conferencing apps and relatively cheap hardware have shown that many employees can work very efficiently from home, reducing costs and increasing employee satisfaction. Many businesses have suffered financially over the past couple of years and cost control has become more important than ever to best manage the business.  

Finally, industries such as hospitality really struggled to retain their staff over the past two years.  These conditions have prompted many of the best employees to reconsider their careers and take sideways steps into other industries. This migration of expertise has left some gaps in the current inhouse workforce which could also affect the development of up-and-coming talent who would usually rely on the mentorship of those leaders. 

The process of hiring the perfect candidate for any role is never simple. Costs are often the first thing that prompts a business to consider searching for an experienced candidate on an interim consultative basis. The time involved in notice periods and the onboarding process for candidates can add costs, whereas a consultant, who can start quickly and hit the ground running, with a short-term flexible contract represents a fixed and predictable cost that the business can control easier than a full-time employee.  

Consultants, especially individuals, seem to be increasingly adopting the Netflix style subscription agreements over the 12 month retainer contracts that are offered by bigger 3rd party outsourced businesses. This strategy is based on the premise that businesses who are facing uncertain revenue streams will be looking to reduce risk, but if your services represent ongoing value, the agreement won’t be cancelled early. 

We have also found that more and more of the very best candidates are looking for hybrid working conditions as part of their contract negotiations. Of course, there are many businesses where this is simply not an option in the long term.  The opportunity lies in the fact that if you can offer flexible working to employees, then the barrier to recruiting an outsourced off-site consultant is removed.  

We have seen a huge number of highly experienced candidates offering their services for short, interim period contracts. Many of these are high level directors who have retired from their full time, 9-5 roles but are keen to re-enter the market while taking control of their work life balance. Some of these are candidates, who have now experienced working from home and would like to continue to do so.  

With the right mix of outsourced experts and an eager, enthusiastic inhouse teams, businesses can use the opportunity to not only deliver a project, but for inhouse teams to work with and learn from experienced professionals and develop their own skills to eventually lead these kinds of projects inhouse. 

Trend or Here to Stay
So, is this current trend for outsourcing particular to this moment of recovery after the pandemic, or will it shape the future of people resourcing?  

Most businesses have now experimented with working from home over the past two years. This is something that may never have happened without the pandemic. Many of these companies will now know how feasible it is to have a hybrid workforce and will have a strong plan in place to manage it. 

As mentioned earlier in this article, companies whose work culture revolves around brainstorming ideas as a group, feeding off each other’s energy and sharing thoughts and ideas without the formality of a zoom invite may have found themselves really struggling with offices empty.  

The trend for employees to change jobs through their lives is likely to continue. We are increasingly less likely to work for one company for our entire work lives with a healthy full-salary pension. It seems far more likely that, if the opportunities are there, experienced industry professionals will take on interim consultancy-based projects later in their career, and businesses will have access to cost-friendly, flexible solutions that add a precious resource of expertise. 

For support with interim projects, your next career move or to improve your recruitment strategy, please contact FM Recruitment now using any of the below details:  

Office +44 20 8600 1160 I Email fm@fmrecruitment.co.uk   
Chris Denison Smith +44 7775 711923 I Email chrisdenisonsmith@fmrecruitment.co.uk 
Andrea Shaw +44 7714 236469 I Email andreashaw@fmrecruitment.co.uk 

Success Stories – In conversation with Clive Sheppard

Clive Sheppard has extensive purchasing and procurement experience within the luxury hospitality sector with brands including The Savoy, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts and The Dorchester Collection. 

Clive brings his expertise in hotel and restaurant openings, developing and implementing new systems and his exceptional negotiation skills to Zero Procure, which launched in 2020. Born out of a desire to support industries affected by the pandemic, with the purpose of simplifying procurement, Zero Procure brings operators and suppliers together to benefit from efficiencies and cost savings. With over 20 years of operational knowledge and expertise in procurement, he has a passion for excellence and leads by example in delivering results for Zero Procure’s operators and suppliers. 

FM Recruitment has a long-standing relationship with Clive, as both a candidate and client, since 1998. We are delighted to share his insights on the hospitality industry as part of our Success Stories series. 

What inspired you to follow a career in hospitality?
I’ve always worked in a service-based industry, beginning my career in retail. I love the energy and camaraderie of a people-oriented business and from an early stage in my career, I was actively trying to break into the buying side. A close friend and hospitality advocate from FM Recruitment, who probably knew me better than I knew myself at the time, introduced me to the world of hospitality with a six-week placement opportunity in the purchasing department of a hotel. 

I had been saving and planning to go backpacking in Asia so I definitely hesitated for a moment. Although I was intrigued by the opportunity to move into purchasing, I had never really considered hospitality as an option. As I explored the opportunity further, I learnt that the placement was at The Savoy. I promptly cancelled my trip and started the placement the week after, beginning a career in hospitality at one of the most iconic hotels in the world. I eventually became the Area Director of Procurement for Fairmont, overseeing the full refurbishment of The Savoy, whilst leading four other Purchasing Managers at other hotels in the region.   

What advice would you give to someone who is just starting (or considering to start) their career in the hospitality industry?
I was very lucky to have access to people who knew the hospitality industry so well. Through my long standing relationship with FM Recruitment, I was able to share experiences, have some frank conversations and understand opportunities for development. In many ways, they were mentors and have supported me with my career trajectory. 

Therefore, it may be no surprise that I would advise everyone to find themselves a mentor as soon as possible during their early career. Whilst many companies may have their own programs within the company, I would also recommend finding someone completely separate, ideally a few positions ahead of you, who still knows the landscape of your position and has some wider picture of what lies ahead. 

 I would also suggest that you try to diversify your skills as early as possible. If you aspire to progress to a Hotel General Manager and beyond, those candidates who have worked in numerous disciplines such as Food & Beverage, Finance and Rooms early in their career, will likely have more opportunities to advance quickly.  

What are the biggest opportunities in the hospitality industry as it recovers from the pandemic?    
One of the biggest challenges at the moment involves the recruitment and retention of employees. The pandemic combined with Brexit has led to huge vacancies as many candidates reconsider a career in hospitality.  

The hospitality industry is, and has always been, a valuable sector to learn transferable skills for life and other careers, with working hours that can be adapted around other commitments such as study. For those that are looking to develop further within the industry, there are few others that will give you the chance to take on the responsibility of supervising and leading teams at such an early stage of your career. The opportunities to progress are endless. With the apprenticeship level funding currently in place, hotels can provide great development opportunities to retain this future talent. 

From a procurement perspective, cost control comes into even sharper focus after a downturn. Those businesses that have faced significant drops in revenue need to protect profit (or minimise loss), with a strong profit protection strategy in place. This doesn’t always mean getting the cheapest price or driving down prices to try to stimulate demand, but working with suppliers to find the best deal for their business, with the flexibility they need to avoid unnecessary costs during periods of unpredictable revenue forecasts. 

Profit protection is an area that Zero Procure specialise in. We have walked a mile in our clients’ and suppliers’ shoes, from our many years working in the hospitality industry. We’ve experienced the ups and downs and understand what it takes to protect profits in lean times and maximise them once the market improves. We work with a network of industry specialists, who are flexible to adapt to the specific needs of a business, helping to minimise risk and allow businesses to stabilise before owning the upswing.   

With COP26 having recently taken place in Glasgow and a ‘Decade of Action’ for decarbonisation in place, what do you think will be the biggest changes in hospitality procurement over the next ten years?
Some of the big trends we are seeing with our network at Zero Procure is the hyper-localisation and focus on provenance. Customers want to know about the origin of their products, how they were created and taken care of and who are the people behind the brands they select to work with. 

Supply chain transparency has been driven by pressure from governments, customers and other stakeholders for companies. Customers and employees value information on employees engagement, company culture, the provenance of products and the conditions in which they were produced. 

The pandemic and Brexit has put a lot of pressure on businesses to control cost and unfortunately, sustainable products are still generally more expensive. A few hospitality companies are doing great things to try and drive this but I think many more may adapt a wait-and-see philosophy and hold off making any dramatic changes until they move beyond the recovery phase and they can see more customers voting with their feet to support those sustainably- led businesses. 

With unpredictable business levels and a challenging recruitment landscape, Outsourcing has become an appealing option for hospitality businesses. What tips can you share to help businesses choose the perfect outsourced partner?
We truly believe that outsourcing certain tasks can be a massive benefit to businesses, especially with regards to procurement! 

Some tips include choosing a partner to complement the team you have in-house. From our perspective, we pride ourselves on becoming part of the team. We love to work with an existing procurement team and we always try to share our knowledge and experience to help develop their skills and expertise in this area. 

 A great outsourced partner is also offering an outside perspective, something that often can’t be replicated by an in-house team. Our support isn’t blinkered with the internal structures of a business and we can give advice that is best for the business rather than for individuals within it. 

Most importantly, a great partner should be motivated by consistently offering great value to their clients, without the threat of a long inflexible contract that could stifle the benefits of the relationship. 

What is the greatest lesson you have learned, so far, through a career in hospitality?
I think that the idea of taking control of your own development is absolutely vital. Try to get comfortable with being uncomfortable – push yourself out of your comfort zone and actively seek out opportunities for progression. Your development supports the overall success of your business, so do carve out time for it. Setting yearly and monthly goals and targets and then pushing yourself to consistently measure your achievements and adapt, will help you concentrate on developing your skills and experience to put yourself in a position to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. 

Build and nurture a network within and outside your organisation, whether that is through a recruitment consultant, a professional association or on LinkedIn – you never know what opportunities may be awaiting. Whilst moving jobs can be stressful and has some risk involved, the benefit of new experiences and making contacts can be very helpful later in your career. 

For support with your next career move or to enhance your recruitment strategy, please call FM Recruitment on +44 20 8600 1160 or contact Chris Denison Smith or Andrea Shaw on fm@fmrecruitment.co.uk now. 

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