I had the honor this week of facilitating a panel discussion on COVID-19's impact on the #hospitality industry in #Charlotte, N.C. Our speakers included a restauranteur, a hotel management executive and CEO of a visitors authority, so the discussion was comprehensive. We knew before even starting the conversation that the pandemic's impact has been devastating to our restaurants, hotels, conventions and tourism, but there are some learnings that are helpful to all businesses as we (hopefully) put COVID-19 behind us.
Spend time on your #employerbrand. One of the biggest challenges facing hospitality is the worker shortage. All of our panelists spoke about their increased focus on hiring, and the advantages of working for them and in the industry. In short, they are putting increased emphasis on their employer brand. It's a good message to us all. Employees have changed, their needs have changed, and we need to make sure our employer brands have changed to reflect post-pandemic priorities.
#Internalcommunication has never been more important. Or more personal. Our panelists reflected that one silver lining of the pandemic has been their very personal, deepened connections with their teams. Conversations with co-workers, bosses and employees about health, stress levels and family situations are more common than ever before. Despite our reliance on technology, we are connecting more deeply. That trend is very positive, and we should encourage those connections going forward.
Make sure you're ready for the next #BlackSwan. One of our panelists referred to the three "Black Swan events" over the past 20 years - 9/11, the Great Recession and COVID-19, each of which changed our world, and our businesses. "There will be another one," he said. And he's right. The real question is whether or not you will be prepared. Take the time now to prepare business continuity and crisis communications plans so you are as prepared as you can be the next time we hit a bump in the road. And be sure to include any best practices you picked up in 2020.
#Supportlocal businesses. After hearing the very personal and dire stories today from our panelists, I realized it's more important than ever to support our local, small businesses whenever and however we can. Those businesses are the lifeblood of our communities, providing needed products and supplies, creating jobs and contributing to our overall quality of life. And now, more than ever, they need our help.