ward howell

Key Industry Trends

Continued emergence and integration of travel technology, particularly mobile.
Millennials likely to be the biggest consumer of travel and hospitality offerings by 2020. Most want many of the same things as prior generations, but they are digital natives and want to access and manage their experiences differently.
Extensive brand expansion within hotel and restaurant development throughout Asia, Africa, the Middle East and other emerging markets, will be a key driver for growth.
Public and private investment continues to pour into this sector.
Continued M&A and consolidation among global hotel brands.
In hospitality, there is always the potential for over-supply. Travel and hospitality is also threatened by rising interest rates, tensions in global trade, and geopolitical instability.

Talent Opportunities and Challenges

The demand for talent to accommodate growth, plus the focus on diversity and inclusion, is driving hospitality companies to reach outside of the industry to identify the best executives for marketing, revenue management, operations, digital strategy, analytics, technology, C-Suite leadership and board level roles.
A key challenge is accurately assessing such individuals in terms of the requisite background (experience, aptitude, cognitive skills, etc.) and cultural fit.

Based on birth rate data, a labor shortage is expected and is not limited to the U.S. This will result in greater competition for talent, the need for increased efforts at retention to combat incessant turnover, and thoughtful communication and collaboration between what will undoubtedly be a multi-generational workforce. Companies need to be more diligent in assessing prospective employees as to skill set and cultural fit. Savvy organizations will make attraction, development and retention a priority.

Finally, while the full impact of AI and robotics is not imminent, it is a good time to be planful as to how such technology will impact the labor force. For example, what human roles will be re-deployed to better serve guests? What retraining will be required? What jobs will likely be lost? How will labor unions morph to accommodate this inevitable reality?

Areas of Expertise

  • Hotels & Resorts
  • Casino Gaming & Integrated Resorts
  • Restaurants
  • Cruise Lines
  • Digital Channels
  • Analytics
  • Private Equity
  • Travel Technology