Aiden Murphy of Crowe Ireland provides key takeaways from the Irish Hotel Federation Annual Conference 2023.
Irish Hotels Federation Conference was titled “Sustainable Development – A
Shared Vision” and focused on the sector’s need to become more environmentally
friendly and more attractive to employees as it continues to expand.
signposted a positive trading outlook for 2023 with strengthening demand for
both domestic and international markets. Looking forward to 2024, the
re-opening of the China market should deliver a boost in numbers, while likely
new gateway routes into North America will allow that market to grow further. Overall,
the sector seems to be in a new growth cycle since 2022, albeit with a number
of macroeconomic capacity constraints that could impact the full potential for
One of the
major capacity constraints facing the sector is housing, as with the expansion
of the economy creating more employment, without affordable places to live staff
will not be able to take those open positions.
There are also
concerns about electricity grid capacity, as it is predicted the demand for
power may start to exceed supply and Ireland could find itself facing blackouts.
This could lead to reputational damage for the country.
for the sector is that as Ireland comes closer to full employment, continued
wage inflation pressures and the need to pass on cost increases to hotel guests
and other hospitality customers could create a perception that Ireland’s
offering is no longer good value for money, leading international guests to go
There was much
discussion by industry insiders on initiatives within the sector to address
these concerns, including:
was also addressed by two expert speakers: Dr Martyn Newman, PhD, DPsych, a consulting psychologist with an international
reputation as an expert in emotional intelligence and leadership development; and Ronan O’Gara, former Ireland international
and head coach of La Rochelle rugby team, who has won numerous accolades as a
team player and team coach operating in high-pressure situations. They stressed
the need for staff to be able to feel that their job is fulfilling and purposeful
– people are problem-solvers, and setting up tasks with this in mind will improve
work satisfaction and encourage staff to develop more of an interest in their
In terms of
setting up tasks, they encouraged being specific on a few key aspects of what
needs to be done and having team members confirm the ask. Doing this, and practicing
tasks in training scenarios, will lead to better performance when the pressure
is on and create a better team spirit where individuals are working for and
supporting each other rather than being purely self-focused.
there is more of a focus on the immediate timeframe and career development for
the next 12 months rather than what might happen in five years’ time and
communication with staff can be enhanced and improved through use of IT
platforms that often are seen as being less pressured and stressful as a
communication tool with employees.