Skift Take

Roles are changing fast in the hotel industry. Some are gone, or going, like the chief marketing officer. Others require new skill sets. Even those at the top aren't spared. IHG's latest Asia changes remind us of this.

What is required of a hotel general manager today is a far cry from what was valued from a GM in days gone by.

Today, a general manager who is adept in sales and distribution is likely more valuable than one who is strong in operations, although this does depend on factors such as how competitive the market is, or the type of hotel, for example, large or boutique, midscale or luxury.

Criteria are changing for many roles in hospitality — even right at the top as we see in this week’s featured story below, where what is required of a regional head of a global hotel chain is evolving.

Going by InterContinental Hotels Group’s new model, the head must also be adept at development, since soon, he or she — and not the global development officer, as is traditionally the case — will be directly accountable for the chain’s system growth in the region he/she is overseeing.

There are, of course, pros and cons of the new model, as reported in the article. But what it really shows is how critical and competitive a strong pipeline is for asset-light, publicly listed global chains, which must increase their share value amid mixed results due to factors such as the trade war and Hong Kong protests, as their latest earnings, which Skift has reported, show.

We never thought we would see the day when a regional head of a chain would be someone who comes from a purely development background, as Rajit Sukumaran has. He will replace Clarence Tan as InterContinental Hotels Group’s managing director of Southeast Asia and Korea come February 1, 2020.

Then again, once upon a time, a general manager that came from a food and beverage background, rather than operations, was a rare breed.

The only constant is Bob Dylan’s song The Times They Are a-Changin’.

— Raini Hamdi, Skift Asia Editor, [email protected], @RainiHamdi

Skift Stories and More Expert Insights

How IHG’s Latest Regional Revamp Is Rankling Asia Hotel Owners: InterContinental Hotels Group isn’t afraid to change how the traditional hotel chain is organized and structured. Its latest move is making sub-regional heads directly accountable for development — even if that risks having owners think it prioritizes its own pipeline over their hotels’ performance. Some in Asia already do.

Oyo’s Widening Losses and Other Financial Takeaways From Its Latest Filing: Oyo has disclosed a surge in losses in documents related to its $1.5 billion in new funding. The hospitality company claims it will turn profitable three years from now, yet Skift Research dug beneath the headlines to deliver analysis substantiated by Oyo’s latest income statements.

UK’s Wild Frontiers Buys U.S. Adventure Operator Myths & Mountains as Asia Demand Rises: In the post-experiences world, one sector that will keep thriving is niche adventure tour operators that really know what they are talking about. They take clients backstage to explore exotic places and leave little footprint — but deposit lots of dollars in local communities.

Los Angeles Tourism Invests in India With Influencer Campaigns: Indians are keen to travel to Los Angeles — that much is clear. But the city’s destination marketer is looking for ways to ensure that Indian visitors don’t just show up, but know how to get the most out of the sprawling city.

Philippine Airlines Tackles Tricky Customer Service Balance Between Robots and Humans: So is chatting with Chatbot Charlie an improved experience over Human Charlie? With more airlines undergoing digital transformations, sadly so, especially for call center workers.

Tencent Bets Big on Ctrip-Backed LvYue Hotel Group: Travel Startup Funding: Is there anything that Group (formerly Ctrip) won’t do? LvYue Hotel Group is its upscale counterpart to Oyo, a set of hotel brands run in partnership with local operators in 10 Asian countries and run on cloud-based software.

Airbnb Signs 9-Year Sponsorship Deal With Olympics Ahead of Tokyo Games: That Airbnb chose the Olympic Games for its first-ever global sponsorship deal makes sense — the event both aligns with the brand’s ethos and will be a boon for its bottom line as it aims to go public in 2020.

Travel Manager Serko Accelerates Global Expansion With Partnership: Now that Zeno is well-established in Serko’s home market, the next step is to bring that same popularity abroad. The travel management company is forming partnerships with major players to help it gain traction in the U.S. and Europe.

Asia Editor Raini Hamdi [[email protected]] curates the Skift Asia Weekly newsletter. Skift emails the newsletter every Wednesday.

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Tags: adventure travel, chatbots, ihg, japan, oyo, skift asia weekly, tencent

Photo credit: A meeting at an IHG office. InterContinental Hotels Group

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