Expressions Partnership


Training within the Hospitality Industry

Expressions has worked with the hospitality industry for as long as the company has been in existence involved in:

  • Leadership strategy

  • Management development and succession planning
  • Front-line service standards. 

Working with the very best brands in the industry, Expressions have designed and delivered specific interventions to enable these operations to be the destination of choice for their chosen target market.

The Covid Pandemic

When the realisation hit that Covid was not a hiccup with a quick fix, the new rule of thumb was minimize all discretionary operational and capital expenditures. Reconsider or postpone maintenance and other capital expenditure where possible to conserve cash in a scenario with no end in sight.

Unsuprisingly, 5-Star Hotel Managers demands are high


Working within the luxury hospitality and accommodation sectorWorking within the luxury hospitality and accommodation sector

How long would Covid last?

Almost overnight every aspect of the hospitality and contract catering sector was impacted; bars, clubs, nightclubs, restaurants, school meals, hotels encompassing accommodation, food and beverage outlets, banqueting from the top tier luxury and commercial sectors down to hostels, bed and breakfast and everything in between on both revenue and supply chains.

The curtailment of international flights and local travel didn't just impinge on business travel and tourism but disrupted the global travel ecosystem.

Forced Closures

Restrictions ranged from forced closures and limits on opening hours to factors that affect customer capacity and demand, such as rules on the number of people that can meet indoors and table-service requirements.

While forced closures and restrictions limited customer demand and business revenues, hospitality businesses continued to face fixed costs such as certain property and staff costs.

From January-March 2020 to October-December 2021, the number of workers in the hospitality sector fell by 90,000, or 3.6%. This compared to a 1.3% decline in jobs across all industries over this period.

Hospitality - Biggest economic decline

The hospitality sector was one of the largest users of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS or furlough scheme), which played a part in protecting jobs in the sector. In total, across the full length of the scheme, 2.13 million jobs in the hospitality were furloughed, 18% of all furloughed jobs.

The hospitality sector saw the biggest economic decline of all sectors during the pandemic. Periods of public health restrictions saw large falls in output.

The peak of the economic downturn was in April 2020, when economic output in the food & accommodation sector was 90% below pre-pandemic levels (February 2020).

Overall, hospitality economic output in 2020 was 42% lower than in 2019. In 2021, hospitality output was 21% lower than 2019. The hospitality industry’s share of the UK economy fell from 3% in 2019 to 2% in 2020 and 2021.

As the economy began to re-open in 2021, the hospitality industry began facing staff shortages. For the three months to February 2022, there were 166,000 job vacancies in the hospitality sector, 7.8% of all employee jobs.

There are a multitude of factors leading to high vacancies including: many businesses hiring at once, workers not returning to jobs furloughed and workers having moved away during the pandemic not returning.




Unsurprisingly, 5-Star Hotel owner's demands are extremely high.

Many of the contributing staff had either been furloughed or released due to the business shutdown.

Reputations needed to be restored and hotels needed quality people to deliver this.

This situation provided an ideal opportunity to press restart and look at all the ways that industry worked well and not so well. 

What were the expectations of the prospective guests and how could the hotel return to full occupancy and ensure the best service standards? 

The Problem
The emerging challenge was to draw a distinction between working flat out and rebuilding the brand.

GMs, MDs, and Executive Directors were passing these demands down to the front line. 
People were thinking more about how they wanted to work and the long, unsociable shifts were not favourable. 

The industry saw each level in their respective properties work at least one level before their job title. 

Directors would be running the operations and doing the job of the HoD, HoDs were supervising and not managing and supervisors were expensive front-line operatives.

The Implications 

This was not only economically imbalanced but unsustainable within a still uncertain climate. 

Staff turnover was rising at an alarming rate and many hotels were having to rely on agency staff many of whose did not possess or demonstrate the level of quality and work ethic aligned to the brand standards of the hotel.

Costs were high and standards were slipping resulting in negative feedback and guests potentially and actually voting with their feet.

The Implications 

An opportunity to be grasped

Firstly, admitting what was happening and defining the desired outcomes enabled a clear picture and direction of travel. 

The process of Identifying the obstacles that were getting in the way of the desirable success ignited the talent within the hotels to suggest removal strategies, thus taking ownership of the activities and generating a positive culture demonstrable through guest feedback on social media platforms including trip adviser and the employee feedback site Glass Door. 

Shifting the mindset from a sole focus on the External guest to include the internal guest (and yes, you surmise correctly, the internal guest is the staff) and the vital role they play in delighting the external guest. 

Coaching and developing the senior leaders to redesign the culture to one that is open and transparent, enabling and career building as well as psychologically safe and inclusive. 

Assisting hotels in setting up their own internal training academy identity where everything from recruitment to retirement is included in the career mapping of each and every valued member of the team.

Measures of Performance Achieved

  • Less reliance on inconsistent agency staff 
  • Reduction in employment costs 
  • Increase the need for recruitment for growth instead of replacement
  • Increase in controllable staff retention
  • Sustained high occupancy with a high percentage of returning guests 
  • Internal promotion and succession planning
  • Talent mapping and in-house development 
  • Recognition through industry awards as well as high scores on Trip Adviser 
  • Positive comments and genuine endorsement on Glass Door
  • Profitability with reduced cost of errors.


I am delighted to share my exceptional experience with Expressions Partnership, who conducted outstanding training sessions on team motivation for our internal supervisor programme. Their expertise in this area is unparalleled, and the impact they had on our team was truly remarkable.

From the outset, Simon demonstrated a deep understanding of the complexities of team dynamics and the importance of motivation in driving success. He exhibited a rare combination of knowledge, enthusiasm, and empathy, instantly connecting with our team members and creating a positive learning environment.

The impact of the training was evident immediately, as our team members exhibited a newfound sense of purpose and camaraderie. Their motivation levels soared, leading to increased productivity and a more positive work atmosphere overall. Not to mention raving feedback!

I wholeheartedly endorse Expressions Partnership for any organization seeking to invigorate their teams and enhance performance. Their training has proven invaluable, and we are already witnessing the positive outcomes in our day-to-day operations. 

Inga Zubaviciute - Assistant Culture & Development Manager NOBU HOTEL