How collaboration can transform hospitality in 2024

Ollie Brand
Food service

Collaboration will be fundamental in transforming hospitality throughout 2024 – especially in relation to advances in technology. What are the outcomes we can expect?

Towards the end of 2023, I reflected on the past year of our industry and shared the trends that I believe will have the greatest impact on business growth and survival in 2024 in my last blog of the year (you can access this blog here). One of the trends I mentioned in my blog is collaboration. It's a big topic so I thought I would unpack my thoughts behind this in a bit more detail in this follow up blog.

I see collaboration as being fundamental in transforming hospitality throughout 2024 – especially in relation to advances in technology. The passion and incredible progress the industry has made, even during recent challenging years, celebrates collaboration in abundance. Benefiting from shared knowledge and experience, the industry has pulled together, battled storms and in many cases has emerged stronger with a drive to succeed.

As we navigate the coming year, we must look to double down even further collaborate and to work as an industry harder than ever. More and more innovative technologies are becoming available, and, in many cases, these are changing the way businesses operate and evolve. As touched upon in my previous blog, with new technology comes an even greater opportunity for new generation productivity boost. But for innovation to take flight and eventually soar to new heights, the industry needs to be more open minded, less guarded and accepting that product design must be accessible and inclusive. This must happen if the hospitality industry is to move further along the technology adoption curve.  

From a collaborative perspective, if businesses are to make the most of this opportunity, relationships between technology providers and operators need to evolve and become more partnership driven as opposed to being simply transactional. Operators need to recognise the significant mutual gains that come from supporting their technology provider to enable them to build products that are accessible and inclusive to all within the sector. In doing so they, and the wider sector, will achieve far greater outcomes.

Three key outcomes we can expect to see because of collaboration between hospitality and technology providers are:

More informed, democratised decision making

Making informed decisions is paramount to the success of any hospitality business. Technology has quickly become indispensable for those looking to stay ahead of the curve. With greater collaboration, decisions will become more impactful which in turn will lead to greater prosperity for businesses and individuals. Operators will become more specialised in their roles driven by the harnessing of accurate data, timely insights and a single source of truth to help them control costs and plan more strategically; essentially giving a clearer focus on bigger picture development and growth.

Boosting skills and operational efficiency

Calm kitchens are always more efficient and more profitable environments to operate in. That means removing unnecessary bottlenecks that stifle efficiency, such as stress and administrative burden. Collaboration with the right technology to automate those mundane manual tasks will not only unlock resource and free up people’s time to do the job they love, it will also leads to a boost in skills levels across the industry.

Unrivalled guest experience

Right now, value for money is fundamental in the quest to survive and flourish. Essentially this is about meeting and exceeding customer expectations and enhancing guest experience. To succeed, the industry needs to embrace the basic principles of hospitality i.e., create an environment of warmth and genuine care for the customer’s needs, personalise the experience – after all there is no one size fits all in this sector, attention to detail matters too as does effective communication.  Introducing more specialisms into the marketplace to compete and innovate will be key here – whether that is new roles that focus on specific guest experiences or using technology to focus on those time-intensive jobs, leaving staff to focus on creativity and new ideas.

All of these outcomes involve collaboration and most also involve some sort of role improvement or change. I will leave you with one of my favourite examples of this from the book Unreasonable Hospitality, by Will Guidara. At Eleven Madison Park they created a new role called ‘Dreamweavers’. This is a person whose entire job is to find ways to go beyond the norm to surprise and delight people. This is a small example in the higher end of the market (they did become #1 restaurant in the world!). This is certainly something that will become more accessible to the wider market as productivity improves and there is no reason why businesses can’t adopt similar approaches to stand out from the herd this year.