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20 May 2021

The Heart 'Behind the Screens'


As we battle the second wave of this pandemic, it looks like the world is changing forever. In the world of hospitality, it marks a permanent shift towards contactless check-ins, scannable menus, and eliminating physical contact wherever possible...changes that have been bolstered by technology. But does this imply that the human touch has no place anymore? Well, I would argue that the human element is more important now than ever. If there's one thing the pandemic has taught us, it is that the human spirit, and the warmth we show towards each other will fortify our society, and only further drive the strength we carry within.

As a guest, perhaps you only see confirmation emails, announcements about the latest tech in our rooms, pdfs covering our safety standards, in-room iPads, circadian lighting, and access to the top streaming services when you check-in. However, it's the people 'behind the screens' who transform your experience from cold, impersonal and forgettable, to one that you'll cherish for years.

Personalisation is a vital part of hospitality, and humans will always outpace technology in this regard. Only an attentive associate at the restaurant would take notice of the young children at your table and tone down the spice in the food. Only a caring reservation coordinator would ensure a familiar painting is hung up in the room of a returning guest so the place feels more like home.

As is the case across industries, we have had to operate with skeletal staff, and despite the challenges our employees have taken on the challenge with gusto. Several laborious steps have been added to their process, but they have executed them with diligence and pride - all for your safety.

For example, our housekeeping team has had to level up in a big way and incorporate new COVID-appropriate protocol to make your stay as safe and comfortable as possible. We've had moments when our Front Desk Associate has stepped in to seat guests at the restaurant, or when chefs have scrapped days of buffet prep because of a lockdown and yet they proceeded to create an equally joyful experience for you to enjoy at home.

Pockets of joy keep us going especially during hard times, and our employees are committed to bring you this, come rain or shine. But it hasn’t all been hardship and distress, and we have our steadfast managers to thank for that.

Empathetic management is crucial at a time when personal struggles feel insurmountable. Work is about more than just clocking in and out, and an understanding manager makes all the difference. We know the importance of a level-headed manager during a crisis, and when the crisis has such a real human cost, the power of empathy should not be underestimated. At The Residency, we see the relationship between employees and the organisation flourish because our people and their best interests take centre stage, while technology merely serves as a means to an end.

With the heavy burden our country is carrying at the moment, I'm sure we have all had days when things feel like too much to take. Yet, through all that, those in the industry have shown up and done a brilliant job at giving people a slice of comfort. And while more and more of our interactions with hotels happen through screens, it's time we took notice of the people who embody #HospitalityWithHeart. We appreciate you.

I say with confidence that while technology is a useful tool, it is the human element, human warmth, understanding, and selflessness that we will remember on the other side of the pandemic.

Let us vow to be kinder to each other, and we will get through this, together.

B. Gopinath
Chief Operating Officer
The Residency Hotels

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