Tourism sector needs new ideas and approaches to survive

Tourism, like every industry today, must effectively address current challenges and capitalise on new opportunities in order to survive.

Responding quickly to a changing world is key, according to entrepreneur and chief executive of lebua Hotels and Resorts, Deepak Ohri.

Ohri was a speaker at the marcus evans Luxury Brands Conference that took place on 8 - 9 November in Shanghai.

Following the global financial turmoil of the past two years, the challenges facing the hospitality industry must be tackled, according to Ohri.

“Hospitality has always been an industry that must respond quickly to changing market conditions and I believe the financial crisis simply tested our ability to be more sensitive and flexible when it comes matching client's expectations. People have not stopped travelling, eating out or enjoying holiday indulgences. They have simply become more discerning in their choices. The best hospitality businesses, like lebua, have weathered the storm not only by identifying our customers changing needs but also by actually anticipating them.”

Sustainability is becoming an important element in every aspect of the tourist industry, not simply because the world's natural resources are more scarce than they once were, but also due to the changing expectations of consumers.

“Cutting down on water and detergent usage in an obvious example of the way hotels can adopt a more sustainable approach. At lebua we are also making significant infrastructure changes to reduce energy use. Quality I see as a different issue, although sustainability plays a part in terms of helping to reduce our guests' carbon footprint,” he adds.

Looking to the future, tourism cannot afford stand still and must fight for survival like every other industry nowadays.

“It is never a good idea to stand still or rest on one's laurels in any business environment. Developing your products and services, creating innovation and targeting new markets should always be part of an ongoing strategy. Competition is fuel for growth. In order to stay competitive, tourism industry companies must stay in tune with their clients, listen to their customers' feedback and use their experience and training to push forward with new ideas and approaches. As long as the industry remains dynamic, sensitive and flexible there will always be increasing demand for our facilities and services from people all over the world,” Ohri explains.

The marcus evans Luxury Brands Conference took place on 8 - 9 November in Shanghai.