How to Survive the (Hospitality) Zombie Apocalypse

Author: ITB Asia News

What are the skills you and your organization will need to survive and thrive in the (hospitality) zombie apocalypse?

Deep pockets help – but what other key leadership, business and cultural skills will enable your hospitality-focused business to survive and thrive in a markedly changed hospitality environment.

Join us in this thought- provoking session targeted at Asia-based hospitality leaders.

Rule #1 – Get The Suppliers You Need

In an apocalypse, tinned food is the difference between life and death.  In Sean of the Dead, the local off license kept them alive.It can last for years.  The Walking Dead has 11 seasons!!!Corollary – prepare for the long haul.

We’ve been managing this process now for 9 months, but we can’t assume we are at a turning point yet.  This is like one of those mountain passes with so many turning points, we just don’t know where we are in the process yet. Prepare for the long-haul.

Skift recovery index – tepid?  Going backwards?

What if things stay exactly as they are for another year, or even go backwards?

What if there are lingering impacts for the next five years?

Rule#2 – Run Fast

Once you gather your supplies, run fast!

Speed and endurance matter – we can’t escape the pandemic – it’s here – and creates lots of situations that can seem out of our control.

Making high quality business decisions and executing them quickly will be the difference between life & death. Prepare your teams to mentally and physically to act fast. There’ll be times when swift changes in your business will be required. You and your organization need to be ready for for these fast sprints. Remember, if you can’t be faster than the Zombies at least be faster than the others!

Rule#3 – Travel Light

Saun if the Dead?(If it doesn’t keep you alive, Ditch it)  Seriously review and then review again every internal expense not matter how small.  Is it really needed for survival.   Carrying anything non-essential just slows your organization down and potentially shortens your lifespan (It doesn’t matter who you were yesterday, adapt and overcome fundamental survival tenant)

Rule#4 – Defend your Territory

The best scene in a Zombie movie is where the lead characters defend their local pub from a hoard of zombies, with pool sticks, in time to the music of QueenCorollary – Loyalty = f(experience/ frequency/ habit).  With that broken, how are you maintaining loyalty.  Who were your top 100 partners – how are you keeping them loyal.  Who were your top 1000 customers – how are you keeping them loyal

Rule #5 – Get a Kick Ass Partner

(Chuck Norris work best – everyone needs a Tallahassee – who are yours?  Don’t try to go it alone.)Now’s the time to double down on existing partnerships that can support your survival as well as seek out new ones based on your revised survive and thrive learnings and pivots.  If you haven’t found new partners/ally’s you are exposed.  Tech, Commercial ,Destinations Data/Example – Implemented  new CM’s (logos), added direct connection to leaders like IHG (logo),

Rule#6 – Shoot First

Shoot first and ask questions later! While in normal times this might seem like a bad idea, when your life’s on the line it’s the best strategy to survive. Overreact and do it early!  Make deeper cost cuts than required, change your org structure dramatically and shake-up your pricing strategy before others do. Don’t wait for the perfect data to make decisions, use your experience and gut to make quick & decisive calls. As they do in The Walking Dead, pick up your gun and shoot, don’t wait for a knife fight with the zombies, it’ll be a lot harder to win!

Rule#7 – Learn to Hunt

Corollary – In a world where the supply/ demand balance has tilted dramatically, you have to be a lot more aggressive about getting your share.  How often do you update your pricing, is it more than your competitors.  How often are you experimenting with new rate plans and promotions – every month, every week, every day?  What new initiatives have your sales teams launched, how many new types of clients are they talking to, what new bundles are they considering. Learn to hunt, You have to get out there and find your own dinner, don’t wait

Rule#8 – Beware the Bathroom

(Stay alert 24×7, this isn’t downtime, this is THE time to go harder than you ever have, no netflix marathons)  Rally your entire team and work at a pace that exceeds anything you have delivered before.   This is survival of the fittest and it should feel like it within your organizations.   This isn’t a break – this is a crisis – all hands on deck 24×7.  Leadership challenge to maintain this over an extended

Rule#9 – Don’t Give Up

Whatever you do, don’t give up! Cures will be found. If not, ways to manage and deal with this will be found. The travel industry may look different after the pandemic – maybe your business will be completely changed forever.But whatever happens, things will eventually get better for this most exciting industry.  If there’s life, there’s travel.

Rule #10 – Enjoy the Little Things

As well as surviving all the zombies you will also need to maintain a happy and sane state of mind Corollary – Spend time with your customers.  Have a drink.  Play a game. Zombie Apocolypse is harsh – enjoy the little things where you can to stay sane.
Take care of yourself, and your team – celebrate the smalls wins along the way, find ways to ensure you and your team and maintaining physical and mental health in a dramatically changed new world of hospitality.


About the speakers

Brett Henry, President Director, MG Group

Brett Henry is President Director of MG Group. Before being named President Director in February 2019, Brett held leadership roles in product marketing, business development, strategy, planning and sales.

As a President Director, Brett does more than wrangle commas. With more than 20 years of B2B travel technology industry experience, he thrives on opportunities to lead dynamic and diverse teams working on customer focused, innovative, growth opportunities.

Prior to joining MG Group, Brett was CEO of Travel Daily and was responsible for creating a dedicated platform to informing, connecting and developing the worlds travel professionals. He also served as Vice President Sales at Sabre Corporation for more than 5 years.

Brett has a big passion to educate and share his experiences at global travel technology events including Digital Travel Summit, Aviation Summit, Webintravel, EyeforTravel, China Travel Distribution Summit, as well as speaking at industry regional and global events.

Dan Lynn, Co-Founder, ZUZU Hospitality

Dan has built his career at the intersection of travel and technology. He is currently the Co-founder of Singapore-based ZUZU Hospitality, which disaggregates the chain hotel experience, working with independent hotels to offer distribution and revenue management solutions; whilst letting them build their own brands and control their operations.

Prior to that he led the HomeAway in Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Latin America. Before this Dan built Expedia in APAC, latterly as CEO of its joint venture with AirAsia, and previously as Global VP Search Marketing and head of Customer Analytics, based in Seattle, USA. Dan, originally from the UK, started his career in London at McKinsey.

Vikram Malhi, Co-Founder, ZUZU Hospitality

Vikram Malhi is the Co-founder of ZUZU Hospitality, a Singapore based start-up that manages the sales and online distribution for independent budget hotels across APAC. Before starting his entrepreneurial journey, Vikram was Managing Director for Expedia Asia and was instrumental in growing Expedia brand across 11 countries spanning the continent.

He spent a total of 8 years at Expedia, taking on multiple senior level roles including marketing, customer loyalty, operations and general management. In addition to his deep expertise in the online travel and hospitality sectors, he is pedigreed in technology and business consulting. He worked at IBM Consulting early in his career and received an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.


If you have written insightful articles, produced standout podcasts or filmed high quality content on travel ready to be shared, we could help your work achieve far-reaching impact in the global B2B travel community. Simply submit your content using the form here and we’ll get in touch!

Related Articles

Responses