Human Connection Will Always Be at the Center of Hospitality

Driven by consumer desires for new experiences, innovative technologies and environmental impacts – travel is changing. Host Sarah Dandashy explores the technologies and logistics that power travel and the brands that build unforgettable experiences.

 

Bashar Wali is the quintessential hotelier with a long history in the hotel industry. He is the CEO and Founder of This Assembly, Partner at Provenance Hotels, and Founder and CEO of Practice Hospitality (a Hotel Management company that he fondly refers to as a Nurture Company).

More than just the business of hotels, Wali always emphasizes the human element of the hospitality industry. While acknowledging that hotels can offer many unique experiences, he said what truly matters is how hoteliers make guests feel. Wali has even done a TEDx on Human Connection.

“The business that we’re in is hospitality. And the clear distinction is service is what you deliver, and hospitality is how you make people feel,” Wali said.

And he has a point. All too often, hoteliers focus on the bottom line and forget what the real essence of hospitality is.

Why are hotels successful? It is because they know their “why.” They know their purpose, and they think long term.

“I want to be able to say, look, we are in the business of creating an incredible place for people to work and an incredible place for people to call home away from home,” Wali said.

And that, as Wali said, defines success.

Looking ahead, Wali shared a few of his thoughts on the future of the industry. Instead of focusing on trends, he dove into the notion of human behavior and understanding how we, as humans, shift and influence future changes.

  1. The sanitation craze will be temporary. But hopefully, hand washing is here to stay.
  2. People have become more empathetic. After surviving 2020, we all have grown a little more in the emotional intelligence department.
  3. Technology will be a big focus in the world of hospitality, but not to eliminate humans—to eliminate friction.
  4. Business travel is forever changed, and we will continue to see it evolve.

Of course, Wali shared a bit on what hoteliers should be focusing on moving forward. First, the booking process should be smoother. Hoteliers need to focus on being better retailers. Secondly, hoteliers should also remember that they are in the “feelings business.” If they focus on anything else, hotels just become a commodity. And hotels are so much more than that—they are an experience.

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