GET TO KNOW: Andre van Niekerk, General Manager, Accor Hotel
- What do you believe has been the key change in the hospitality sector over the past five years?
Definitely a mayor shift towards digital advancement. With that came a lot of new challenges. It might be easier now than ever to attract a global market for smaller private hotels, but the digital advancement came at a price. With the advancement came Airbnb which is big player in the industry.
2. Where do you see the three key challenges in the industry over the next five years?
The key challenge will be to embrace technology, make the whole hotel experience seamless without losing personal touch. We still need to make our guests feel welcome even though we might not get the opportunity to communicate to them personally.
To refine your growth strategy will become harder as the industry is changing at a rapid rate.
Millennials demand instant gratification, including speed, efficiency and convenience. This will put additional pressure on stability of a hotel’s connectivity.
3. You are a panelist at this year’s Hospitality Leadership Forum, what are you most looking forward to discussing?
Attracting the right kind of talent will be an interesting subject.
4. The hospitality sector is undergoing huge change. What are the three tips you would give for success in the coming five years.
Firstly I feel that you need to be flexible. We need to be flexible in all areas of our day to day running of a hotel. Without flexibility you will lose market share quicker than you think. You also need to adopt more pragmatic policies.
Secondly we need to be smart about our data. To capitalize on tomorrow’s opportunities and position companies for further growth, managers must evaluate their technology agenda today.
Lastly, the way we grow our business, we need to focus on growing our hotel’s organically.
Millennials are not necessary interested in the conventional way of advertising and marketing but would rather choose a hotel based on feedback from a trusted source.
5. And are there any specific areas in the (sub-Saharan) African hospitality market that you believe are unique?
Sub-Saharan Africa is intensely focused on improving its business environment and has performed better that its peers. Unfortunately, we are still vulnerable to rising geopolitical global tensions.
6. Which type of people do you believe would gain the most from attending your session this year?
Younger hoteliers that are joining the industry at a really exciting time.