While conventional wisdom would suggest that, after putting our blog space on hiatus for the summer, now that we are well into September things could be considered “back to normal.” However, one needs only to look in one of so many different directions to know that this is anything but true.
In the last month alone, we have all witnessed multiple natural disasters, the very real threat of escalating military tensions in the East, and an apparent return to an era that we thought we had long-since left behind, that of an astonishing lack of tolerance of one another, of diversity, of inclusion, and of many of the basic principles that our country was built upon.
Before going too far down the road of a social or political rant in this space, I’d like to try to tie all of thisback to our own existence within the world of hospitality. The space in which we operate, whether 1000+ key mega resorts or 25 seat five-star restaurants, keeps in common the fact that we rely on fundamental principles in order to succeed. For most, these include business principles, but they also include social principles. Business principles focus on asset performance, service ratings, and ultimately profitability. Social principles feature commitment to the customer and to colleagues, and commitment to the well-being of one another.
Whether considering Houston or Florida or Charlottesville, there has been significant cause for discomfort in all of our lives in recent weeks. The concept of Hospitality in its most literal sense needs to recognize the fact that such discomfort has the great potential to affect everyone that our industry comes in contact with; customers, colleagues, managers, and senior leadership. The challenge for us, even though these same troubling circumstances affect our own lives, is to be sure that we are sensitive to such issues when conducting our daily lives. Perhaps an extra degree of sensitivity in dealing with colleagues who may have been affected (directly or indirectly) by Irma or Harvey?, perhaps an extended effort to better understand those who we work with that are somehow different than we are? perhaps upon deeper reflection, we may realize that we are in fact the same in many ways?
In Danny Meyer’s parlance, we are “Hospitalitarians” in that we’ve chosen to guide our business lives by the principles of hospitality in order to succeed and grow. It is our challenge, if not our responsibility to be “hospitalitarians” in all aspects of our daily lives.
It is time we recognize and take advantage of the fact that our workplaces represent microcosms of the world, and that we play an important role in that mini-universe. A bit more understanding, sensitivity, generosity/selflessness, and proactive relationship-building in our hotels, restaurants, and resorts can go a very long way, particularly as we build back up from September 2017.