INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS FOR THE HOTEL AND TOURISM INDUSTRY.....NO THANK YOU!
The opposition of our industry to the development of international standards is a little known secret . Even the industry leaders were mostly unaware of the risks and dangers that it faces.
After more than fifty years working in this wonderful hotel industry, I have developed an understanding of most aspects that are both good and bad.
At one stage of my life, I was in the wonderful position as a spokesman for the global hotel industry, recognised by the United Nations and headquartered in Paris, France. As CEO of the International Hotel & Restaurant Association, I was responsible for formulating and presenting our industry's positions on a number of subjects. Luckily but not by chance, the positions presented by me were not mine alone but were formulated by a global membership of National Hotel & Restaurant Associations and a number of international chains and our own experienced personnel. Disastrously absent from this membership were many of the well-known international chains who were neither paying members nor active participants although all were the beneficiaries of the successes we delivered.
Faced with the plan from ISO (the International Standards Association) to develop standards for the hotel & tourism industry, a task force was formed to vehemently oppose this move by a combination of special interest organisations, NGOs, consultants and others, all of whom had an opportunity to gain from this plan to introduce international standards which would be written, for all intents and purposes, without any participation from the industry.
Faced with an opportunity to react and/or participate, the hotel chains were totally and absolutely silent.
This ignorance on the Standards Issue with ISO is born in a number of circumstances.
- The association failed to convince the chains to participate. "If the student didn't learn, the teacher didn't teach". I succeeded with a few but failed with many.
- Central decisions made at the corporate HQ eliminated membership in hotel associations to save money.
- Senior Executives from other industries take the reins without any knowledge of the industry's idiosynchracies.
- Most chains misunderstand the term Standards which in their corporation are levels of product quality that are set for the brand. They believe that their standards will always be superior to anything set by government or public organisations.
- Executives that 'get it' fail to reverse the 'non-participation' decision made at other levels.
- In many countries, the term 'International' infers everything outside their own borders! They do not see their company as being part of the international community.
- The drive for Standards at ISO was initiated by special interest groups in committees in their countries organised often by their National Standards Organisation with no industry participation.
It is relevant to point out that the National and International Associations deal with many more issues than the standards. In my time, we formed a series of Global Councils from amongst the industry specialists, generally Vice Presidents of such special areas as Security, Human Resources, E-Marketing, Legal, Finance and others, most of which met regularly by teleconference to deal with issues and form positions. Some 125 specialists were participating on behalf of the global industry in these 60' sessions. Some of these from non-member companies invited in to observe the association's influence and the benefits of sharing 'best practices'.
Some of the issues if not dealt with sensibly will result in huge cost implications to the industry.
One standard proposed by one representative was that the check out time should be equivalent to the check-in time. Therefore if anyone checks in at 10PM, they can depart at 10PM on the departure date.
There were many more. All were as proposterous as this one.
For any advice on how the industry should effectively address its' own issues, contact firstname.lastname@example.org