August 21, 2019
By Hannah Prince

When hotels and destinations are working on growing their group business, they know they must combine analytical, digital tools with human connection and experience. The same can be said for hospitality leaders who are continuously striving to improve their leadership and empower others. So, today we'll take a look at the critical skills for hospitality leaders to develop.

Traditionally, business leadership has been a straightforward strategy of numbers and results. In many ways, that approach is more important than ever in this data-driven, digital-first world. And it won’t change anytime soon: Gartner estimates that by 2020, 50% of organizations will lack sufficient artificial intelligence and data literacy skills to achieve business value.

Discover the essential hospitality leaders' skills

1. Get all teams aboard the data train

In the hospitality industry, it’s increasingly important for leaders to have and encourage data literacy. Particularly in the meetings and events industry, understanding the competition and your own metrics are key to maximizing your group business opportunity. Everyone from the C-suite to the sales team must speak the language of analytics.

But how can leaders get others to understand the need for data literacy training across the organization? Make sure to align the learning strategy with the business’s goals, says Piyanka Jain, president and CEO of Aryng, a data science consulting firm. “Partner with data analytics leaders to assign high-priority business problems to teams that can start applying data analytics to solve them. Within these teams, you will find early adopters who are eager to learn,” she writes in a article.

2. Back up the data with empathy and emotion

The numbers, while still critical, aren’t enough to lead anywhere in today’s business world, including hospitality. Those in the meetings and events industry spend their careers espousing the benefits of the human connection and experience, and they’re just as important in the office as they are in the ballroom.

SoulCycle and Flywheel co-founder Ruth Zukerman understands the importance of the human experience and how to use it to create and inspire teams. She built SoulCycle on the connections that participants made with their instructors, and she carried that into her team structure. They emphasized a “culture of being taken care of. The employees and the riders,” she tells

3. Connect with your team to build your hospitality leadership skills

What the mind creates, the heart transforms. According to leadership coach Priscilla Archangel in a post for the Association for Talent Development, “Effective leaders strike a balance between tasks and people. This means that they are able to focus on building relationships with their teams to enable creativity, innovation, participation, and engagement. Simultaneously, they need to provide structure, goals, policies, and timelines to frame the work of the team.” By establishing a management style that balances the mind (that is, thinking and acting on the data) with the heart (focusing on people and connections), hospitality leaders can create something truly special — and successful.

Begin building the skills the best hospitality leaders share

Curious to learn about more skills, tips and trends that could advance your hospitality career? Join us at the Cvent CONNECT Leadership Summit, where hospitality professionals will share more of their strategies. Check out this year's agenda to find out more about other sessions.

Grow group business


Hannah Prince

Hannah joined Cvent as the Senior Editor for Hospitality Cloud content after more than a decade in the journalism world. As a passionate editor, she's always willing to discuss the merits of the Oxford comma, the use of who vs. whom, or the definition of a dangling modifier. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, taking her dog to happy hour, and buying even more shoes.
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