ARE WE BEING DISRUPTIVE? I HOPE SO!

EHMA President, Hans E. Koch – on the key theme of this year’s EHMA event in the Netherlands

We asked Hans E. Koch, Managing Director, Hans E. Koch Hospitality Solutions GmbH – President of EHMA to talk about what kind of disruptors can you personally see as being important…

First of all, it’s a fact that today, hotels and hotel companies are more and more exposed to various disruptors. Such disruptors usually come from outside the industry and build on new ideas that reimagine a service or a product in response to client desires and needs. Today, they include OTAs and companies like Airbnb that have a significant and direct impact on hotels and their business. Tomorrow, we are most certainly facing more and different kinds of disruptors. Important is, to stop worrying to much about the effects and instead focus on how to outdo them. Think of doing something disruptive of your own.

What are the biggest threats and / or opportunities with this?

It’s important to always focus on opportunities. There is no use in wasting too much time on threats! Hotels and hotel companies often debate legal ramifications of disruptors. However, very little can be accomplished in doing that and only allows disruptors to gain market share in the meantime by addressing service gaps ignored by the hotel industry. Evaluate who your disruptors are, what they are doing better and different. Look for ways to pro-actively disrupt the disruptors as they enter the market.

ENCOURAGE PRO-ACTIVE THINKING AND CALCULATED RISK-TAKING

To do so and be more successful at the same time, many of the existing business models and approaches need to be adapted and modernized using client data to produce targeted and customized offers and processes. That means, hotels and hotel companies must move away from their often-traditional thinking in today’s very fast changing and very competitive business environment. Digitalisation can no longer be ignored. The world is driven by technology, and digital devices today are part of our life; if we like it or not! However, don’t forget to keep a grasp on ever changing guest needs and desires. At the same time, never underestimate the importance and value of personal but discrete attention towards guests.

Given the current “nervous” state of the industry, how much more important are meetings like this one of EHMA in terms of plotting a firm course for the future?

Meetings like the EHMA annual conference are very important to create a platform to keep our members informed and to regularly exchange opinions and experiences on developments in today’s very fast changing, nervous and competitive business environment. The ability to think different and to effectively question existing, linear processes and views becomes increasingly crucial. What we try to achieve with our yearly meeting is, to encourage pro-active thinking and calculated risk-taking, yet having fun in being more creative and innovative at the same time.