60 seconds with…Neil Bothams, Partner - nxt90days.com

Nxt90days.com is a cross-sector results driven consulting company.

Neil was Employed at Santa Fe Relocation as the Asia CEO during 2020.

How was the re-opening of your business and how was it carried out in line with safety procedures put in place to allow social distancing?

I led our re-opening globally. 

I involved experts from each country, and we developed a minimum global standard and shared best practices from each country. 

Our guests expect the same treatment at the Origin of their journey and the Destination. We agreed on the standard safety measures and ensured PPE was available (sourcing from other countries where necessary). 

Further we ensure that there was clear documentation and in language that made sense for all our teams and services.

 Local deviations including translations were allowed but needed to be sent for approval which was all tracked using Microsoft SharePoint. 

Finally, we devised a master document that had all the key measures in place and used our global Learning System to cascade the training throughout the organisation with a declaration confirming understanding and this was captured in the system for audit purposes. 

The top global leadership team followed up to ensure compliance with the training and the agreed practices.

The key challenge is that there is a potential conflict between providing a great experience for guests and ensuring that they comply with the legislation. In Singapore then the government has acted to close down restaurants and bars where the staff have been unable to fully enforce the social distancing requirements.

How is the general feeling and feedback from your team members and your customers now the lockdown is over?

Team members are determined to offer the best service regardless of the challenges. Customers are on the whole concerned about progressing with new projects though some are seizing the opportunity to be more inventive and to invest now to build a stronger business with higher market share.

What role has technology played in supporting your re-opening plan?

Our most significant technological investment was to create a new knowledge repository in Microsoft SharePoint that allowed us to build a global picture of all services in all locations, globally. We were able to display the information as a heat map which are clients found very useful.

We also utilised project planning software (Asana); Microsoft Teams for communication; SharePoint for managing and reviewing documents.

What market trends are you seeing since re-opening?

  1. Networking and collaboration have increased
  2. The venues which are most successful are appealing to those closest to them and offering a range of services - office, leisure, fitness, eating. In short like a local club. And in Singapore at least some of the Leisure clubs are maximising their offer, making office space available and complimentary.
  3. In Singapore there are lots of islands and everyone is cycling more and exploring by boat. The government has offered residents vouchers towards the cost of local attractions.
  4. The "staycation" and "daycation" have been born; staycations attracting locals a holiday at home and daycations typically being beach packages but getting increasingly innovative, including at hotels where the rooms are being utilised as quarantine facilities.
  5. New Tourist attractions are being born like "Behind the scenes at the zoo" where you can meet the zookeepers or "Behind the Scenes at the Airport". Some of these are virtual and are being sold abroad too. Even night clubs have tried this concept - virtual cocktail parties etc and by day using their large dancefloors for classes where safe distancing is easy to practice.

I also love the zero calorie chips idea being added to menus to raise funds for those in stress in hospitality

What techniques have you used to build sales and re-engage customers?

Client needs have changed. It is important to understand what has changed and how different segments of clients may vary in their new needs and the importance they place in personal touch versus safety.

  1. Offer new services
  2. Collaborate with others
  3. Keep price points affordable but rather than go cheap, add more value

What positive lessons do we need to learn from what the industry has been through?

  • It is possible to re-invent services and meet new needs, quickly
  • Greater collaboration is possible and can lead to exciting solutions for clients
  • Although global travel may reduce, it is possible that we will invest more in our local communities

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Date Published: 4th November 2020