What’s your advice to owners for handling the labor crisis?
During the past five years, one in four new jobs globally were created by the travel and hospitality sector. While we know that access to quality labor remains a core challenge for our industry coming out of the pandemic, we are confident we can bounce back and return to those levels.
We are working hand in hand with our owners to address the current labor challenges, collaborating with the federal government and key industry associations such as the AHLA to connect our owners with agencies and staffing organizations, as well as partner on initiatives like the ‘Hotels are Hiring’ campaign to showcase the benefits and career trajectories available within hospitality and bring new colleagues to hotels. Within IHG, we provide owners with solutions for recruitment, as well as training and problem resolution tools to attract and retain talent.
What do you think will be the mindset of lenders in general for the next year or so? Will lenders’ purse strings loosen during that time?
The travel industry remains a strong, long-term industry for investment. It has survived countless impacts and the economics and demand drivers remain strong. As more guests head through the doors of our hotels, more of our owners start to turn their thoughts to growth and opening new hotels with us – and the conversations they're having with banks and lenders are more productive than they were a few months ago. We do see owners moving forward with significant investments which require lending, and we look forward to lenders continuing to open opportunities for increased credit to drive industry growth.
As we all look to proceed onward and upward, what one word best describes what the hotel industry needs to do to ensure long-term overall success, and why use that word?
At the best of times, it is easy to be caught up with all of the competing priorities and enticing opportunities. Both during a crisis and in the exciting period of ramping back to growth, focus remains even more important. It is during this time that we can target our collectible energies on key levers that will meet the evolving needs of consumers today from solutions for sustainability to innovative ways to drive guest satisfaction – ultimately driving industry growth and gains in owner market share and return.
Beyond what you have already addressed, what challenges and opportunities will emerge on the hotel development front during 2022?
There are multiple opportunities and a strong growth trajectory ahead. The pandemic constrained travel demand to historic levels, while underscoring the importance of the connection and personal impact that travel provides for millions of travelers who are now getting back on the road. Savvy developers are now preparing for future growth – in the longer term through new build hotels and, more immediately, through conversion opportunities. Owners are recognizing the value of partnering, for the first time or in an expanded capacity, with IHG and our enterprise worldwide loyalty program, global sales teams and technology solutions which provide quick and effective commercial ramp, market share growth and strong owner ROI.
As the travel industry rebounds, there’s an unlimited opportunity for us to be a catalyst for impactive change. Collectively, branded hotel companies can prioritize travel as a force for good and drive leadership in key areas of sustainability, equality and humanitarian issues.
What is one takeaway people should know about Ginger Taggart?
I’m passionate about pioneering growth, the humanitarian good that comes from travel and see tremendous potential ahead for our industry. As a cultural enthusiast and adventurer, I’ve lived internationally for 14 years, travelled to nearly 100 countries and can be packed in an hour. Where to next?