Les Roches Associate Professor Riccardo Campione and class of 2016 alumnus Matteo Mozzetti recently shared a platform at the Italian Travel Fair in Milan, where they debated the skills required to secure the best jobs in hospitality.
Afterwards, Riccardo and Matteo sat down with us to talk about the future shape of the global hospitality industry. They also discussed how this will influence the types of skills and personal qualities that will lead to a successful career.
Q: Riccardo, how is the hospitality industry’s talent profile evolving?
Riccardo Campione (RC): I see three big talent trends: digital, data and community. And they’re closely interrelated. On the digital side, if you run a hospitality business you need coding skills to set up websites and e-commerce platforms, with an understanding of how to drive SEO.
You also need to be able to gather, analyze and visualize data, to make it a solid foundation for your decision-making. And you need to know how to leverage social media to build your communities. Today, people don’t choose your hotel because they see an advert saying you’re the best; they do it because someone in their ‘tribe’ has recommended it.
Q: Matteo, as people development lead for Ristorante Miscusi, you are at the forefront of ensuring the group’s talent pipeline keeps pace with its rapid expansion. What are the hard and soft skills that matter most to you?
Matteo Mozzetti (MM): There’s a lot of innovation in hospitality, of course. But it’s not all about technology. Above all, we are looking for the sort of motivation and attitude that will allow people to be very organized; also curious about hospitality and how it is changing, as well as how to be a good manager.
Q: Can the skills the industry needs be taught?
RC: Yes, they can. Just as the industry is evolving, so is the way we as a school teach the skills required. A lot of hospitality schools are still teaching for the industry of the past, but at Les Roches we try to be more agile in our teaching. We’re adding learning in areas such as digital technology, sales and marketing platforms, as well as social media.
MM: When we think about areas such as coding, data analysis, business intelligence… I’ve described these as ‘jobs of the future’ but I need these roles filled today. I’m looking for people who can connect the real time data for our restaurants: who is coming in? At what times? Where do they go and what do they take? Can we tie in ‘likes’ on Instagram and even employee satisfaction data? We need to connect all this data and make it talk.
RC: Nowadays, if you go for an employment interview – whether it’s with a digital platform or a ‘traditional’ hotel group – the first thing they’re likely to ask is whether you are familiar with the particular sales support, data visualization or project workflow packages they’re using. Python, Slack, Salesforce, Power BI… if you don’t know how they work, you’re not likely to get the job.
Q: We hear increasingly about soft skills – where do they stand in the core hospitality talent profile?
MM: We hire every day for motivation and attitude, so of course soft skills are fundamental. You can’t develop the hard skills we want to teach if you don’t have the base provided by the soft skills.
RC: Soft skills are changing along with generational attitudes. Now it’s less about leadership and more about how to give back to your own people, your own tribe. Hospitality has tended to be quite an autocratic industry, but today it’s much more about word of mouth, making a stand about what you believe in and touching the heart of the modern consumer.
Q: How important is the internship element of a Les Roches program to developing ‘real world’ skills?
MM: Mine was a big life lesson! I took my internship with D&D London, which owns a number of luxury restaurants, bars and hotels. I arrived with my suits and ties, and they said ‘here is your apron, welcome to London, don’t worry about anything you just need to work hard and collaborate with the team’. It was a bit of a shock at first, but after a few weeks everything became clearer. I learned from everyone and understood the importance of the humility you have to have to work in hospitality.
Aside from the internship, the academic part of my program was also crucial for what I’m doing now, because of the way it covered so many aspects of hospitality. Maybe I couldn’t do this HR role if I hadn’t studied in Les Roches? It helped me to have a 360 degree vision of the hospitality industry, which is very useful to me because it means I can talk to finance, marketing, F&B, etc.
Q: Finally, what will the ‘perfect’ hospitality professional of the future look like?
RC: I think they will need the tools to stand alone digitally, which means SEO and social media. This is especially true for those intending to go down the entrepreneurship path, of which there are many among my students. They will also have a major eye on content, because this is how you build the all-important word of mouth. Videos, blog posts… these content creation skills are more important than ever before.
MM: There’s no single profile, but the common thread running through everything is humility. You can develop your skills, whether in people management, customer service or administrative tasks; but you have to have the humility to recognize your limits. Never stop asking yourself where you can improve your skills.
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