New committee to oversee innovation in hotel industry in bid to improve productivity

SINGAPORE - As part of efforts to promote productivity improvements in hotels, a new committee to oversee innovation in the hotel industry will be formed by the Singapore Hotel Association (SHA) in response to recommendations released on Tuesday by an expert panel.

The committee will comprise seasoned local hoteliers, international experts, solution providers and academics. It will work on identifying industry pain points and developing solutions to overcome them.

This was among five recommendations made by the seven-member panel after a 1.5 year study of the issues and challenges facing the Singapore hotel industry.

SHA executive director Margaret Heng said the committee would be formed by the end of this year and that more details would be released later.

Productivity in the hotel industry, measured as value add per worker, grew at a compound annual rate of 5.8 per cent from 2010 to 2014, said Singapore Tourism Board chief executive Lionel Yeo.

However there are challenges to sustaining this growth, amidst slowing workforce growth, he said at the Technology Festival at Republic Polytechnic (RP).

"There is an economy-wide, urgent and critical need to shift from manpower-driven growth towards productivity-driven growth," he said.

The expert panel, which was co-chaired by Mr Yeo and Far East Hospitality chief executive Arthur Kiong and included hoteliers and academics, said that the industry needs to innovate in terms of streamlining processes and services, and better managing manpower deployment and development.

The panel also found that there was a lack of common measures for hotels to benchmark their productivity, and endorsed five indicators:

- Revenue per full-time equivalent staff,

- Operating costs per full-time equivalent staff,

- Gross operating profit per full-time equivalent staff,

- Average employee hours per occupied room, and

- Average employe hours per cover.

The Hotel Productivity Centre, a unit under the Singapore Productivity Centre, also launched on Tuesday a training curriculum for hotel executives to learn to improve productivity in their workplaces.

It aims to train about 100 executives over the next two years. The programme, developed with RP, comprises three days of classroom time and a nine-week on-the-job consultancy project in the trainee's hotel.