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“Hospitality industry encompasses more than hotel management”

Scott Dahl, masters program director at Les Roches is an experienced lecturer in marketing and revenue management who has worked with top hospitality schools worldwide. He is the founder of Hotel Revenue Resources (2006), which provides revenue management technology and services to several hospitality management companies throughout the United States.

Dahl speaks on hospitality management as a booming career option and how technology has helped evolve the industry. 

Scott DahlThere’s been a huge boom in the hospitality management industry in the last decade. Do you think this will grow in the upcoming decade and why?

Yes, I believe hospitality management companies will continue to grow because the art of hospitality has evolved into the hospitality business. The hospitality industry encompasses much more than hotel management. It includes resort or event management, gastronomy, wine and spirit, travel and tourism. According to World Travel and Tourism Council, the industry has 319 million jobs and is due to create 100 million more in the next 10 years.

Also, as the industry evolves digitally, new needs are emerging. For example, many family-owned hotels are having trouble with succession due to the lack of skills to remain competitive, therefore being part of a management company is an alternative to selling the business.

One emerging trend will be partial management, where owners’ operators will run the day-to-day operations but hire an external company to sales, marketing, and revenue management or vice versa.

How do you think digital transformation can help hospitality? What are the top digital transformation trends in the hospitality and tourism industry?

The digital transformation is changing the hospitality industry and making it evolved. The emergence of new technologies such as chatbots, voice, and facial recognition as well as AI is changing the way customers interact with hotel businesses. Hoteliers need to partner with these same smart people to define actual problems that can and need to be solved with technology.

Innovation will allow the hospitality industry to provide more personalised customer experience. Machine learning is going to be applied to bring a huge number of external factors into pricing recommendations, and personalisation in the booking process is going to be taken to the next level, by doing things like pointing AI at people’s social media profiles. Most importantly, in my opinion, the growing number of people focused on CSR is going to make ethics an even greater consideration, and the focus is going to shift from being entirely on what can be done with technology to a more balanced discussion that includes asking what should be done with technology.

What are the different sectors in which students of hospitality management can build their careers?

One of the main reasons hospitality management is so popular is the wide range of career opportunities it offers across so many different types of businesses and organisations all around the world. Students can build their careers in a variety of sectors such as hotels and resorts, FMCG, events management, restaurants and food service, cruise ships and airlines, theme parks and casinos, retail & fashion, consultancy, and travel and tourism.

What would the remuneration and growth opportunity be in the hospitality industry?

The tourism and hospitality industry is one of the biggest industries in the services sector in India. According to the Indian Brand Equity Foundation (IBFM), the number of jobs in the industry is expected to increase from 41.6 million to 52.5 million by 2028 due to the growth in India’s middle class and the rise in international hotel chains, therefore creating a countless amount of opportunities for remuneration and growth. The evolution in the industry in both India and the world, combined with the variety of opportunities offered within the hospitality segment, create an infinite number of opportunities for an individual to get well-paid jobs and to develop themselves.

Sukanya Nandy

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