2022 marked a year of transition for the hospitality industry. Brands pivoted to serve the needs of a post-pandemic clientele, and automation and digitisation became the order of the day. In 2023, we expect to see hotel brands scale up in line with evolving trends, with a continued emphasis on digital transformation and safety practices. This will call for staff members who couple versatility with deep skill sets - which upskilling and reskilling programmes will be pivotal in building. 

Read this article to learn more about upskilling and reskilling, and how they can help you build a stronger workforce, retain key staff, and make your brand resilient. 


What are Upskilling and Reskilling?

While they may seem similar, upskilling involves helping your employees develop the skills and competencies to perform their current jobs better. On the other hand, reskilling involves training employees in the skills needed to change roles within your hospitality business. 


Why Learning New skills is Vital for Hospitality Staff 

With the advent of automation and hospitality management software, most routine tasks no longer need a human touch. It’s likely, therefore, that we’ll see hospitality staff rerouted to more tailored, ‘on-demand’ roles where they perform services based on real-time needs rather than set templates. Here are some examples of the skills required by each change: 

The rise of new travel trends

The travel and leisure sector is assuming many new avatars as the pandemic induced both a heightened sense of wanderlust and a desire to stay healthy. Wellness tourism, for instance, is on the uptick - in Europe alone, the sector is expected to grow 20.9% annually until 2025.  Wellness travellers will expect personal recommendations on therapies, products and food/beverage items to target their specific needs, which requires hotel staff to have a keen understanding of the science behind each therapy as well as the psyche of the customer in question. 

A digital-human interface

In 2023, technology will enter the hospitality customer experience in a big way, but with human interaction as a critical component. Checking in, for instance, is a process that can easily happen on an app as the guest is on their way to a hotel. This, however, does not eliminate the need for a receptionist. Instead, the receptionist’s role will transition to one of welcoming guests as they enter, offering them beverages, giving them activity recommendations, taking dinner reservations etc - in other words, giving guests the warm welcome they deserve. 

Continued emphasis on safety

As new versions of the virus continue to spread, health and safety will remain top priority at hotels. Thus, hospitality staff will need to ensure that guests follow all stipulated safety guidelines while on the property. This can be stressful, especially if the guests are reluctant to cooperate - soft skills like conflict resolution and emotional intelligence will be crucial to securing their support while ensuring that service flow is uninterrupted. 

An answer to the talent shortage

The talent shortage continues to plague the hospitality industry at a global level, which means most hotel employees will have their pick of jobs if their current one doesn’t work out. However, it is in the employee’s own interest to learn and differentiate as much as possible so that they can attract better offers. By investing in upskilling and reskilling, a hospitality business secures itself a talented workforce and also benefits the employee’s prospects, thus earning their loyalty. 


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How to Make Staff Upskilling and Reskilling Work in 2023 and Beyond 

Whether you’re branching into wellness tourism or catering to the digital nomad, the skills your staff need can often be nurtured in-house. Here’s how to make upskilling and reskilling work for your travel and leisure brand.

Conduct a skill needs assessment

A skill needs assessment helps you see which skills your hotel staff require to keep pace with industry trends, as well as where your employees stand vis-a-vis those needs. Some, like hygiene and privacy/data protection, have standard guidelines you can follow for the most part. Others, like those relating to leadership, sustainability or specialised services, will require you to craft skill programmes that prepare your employees for such roles. 

Conduct an aptitude test

Aptitude tests give you insight into your employees’ core capabilities, helping you make a decision about whether to upskill or reskill them. If they’re in an admin role but demonstrate strong communication skills, for instance, it may be a good idea to train them for a customer-facing role. If they demonstrate a talent for customer experience but lack some tech-related skills, an upskilling programme could give them what they need. 

Ask employees what skills they value most 

Conduct a survey or an open-house session to understand how your employees see themselves growing. What would help them do their job better? How do they feel their skills would be best utilised? What are their long-term career aspirations? This also gives you a feel of what roles your employees want to transition to, so you can pick the right reskilling programmes. 

Experiment with training techniques 

A combination of course-based education and on-the-job training is ideal for both upskilling and reskilling. At Hosco, for instance, we offer tailored upskilling in collaboration with Lobster Ink, which provides over 200 hospitality-related online courses covering all the core subject areas. Hands-on training serves as a critical supplement to these courses, especially in execution-type roles like preparing meals and administering spa services. 

Hire as and when necessary 

You’ll need to hire staff at times, either to fill talent gaps or to fit new roles that arise. It’s vital, however, to execute hospitality recruitment programmes in a manner that doesn’t make the existing team feel sidelined. One solution is to involve your staff in the shortlisting of candidates and the interview process, perhaps through a trial assessment where the applicant shadows your team at work. 

In conclusion, both upskilling and reskilling are critical parts of the 2023 strategy for hotel brands looking to distinguish themselves. They enable you to leverage your existing talent better, thereby helping you save on hiring costs and building a cohort of loyal team members who will take your brand to the next level. 

→ 😎It’s vital to invest in your employees’ skill sets, especially for non-traditional employees who bring a diverse perspective to the team. Learn how you can bring people from different educational and professional backgrounds up to speed in no time!