STRATEGIC TEAM ALIGNMENT: THE LUXURY HOTEL MANAGERS’ PERSPECTIVE DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
Authors: Giousmpasoglou, C. and Brook, M.
Editors: Laloumis, D.
Journal: Journal of Tourism Research
This study explores strategic team alignment during the COVID-19 pandemic, through the views and experiences of luxury hotel senior managers in the UK. The alignment of team members has always been crucial to the success of any organisation; however, during the COVID-19 pandemic the hospitality industry was one of the worst affected, experiencing large scale staff reductions, temporary or permanent. During this time the luxury hotel managers played a key role for staff motivation, support, and the maintenance of the hotel unit’s operational capacity.
The aim of the study was to identify how senior managers implemented alignment strategies and managed the COVID-19 pandemic, whilst keeping their team members engaged and motivated. A qualitative study was conducted in winter 2021, through in-depth semi-structured interviews via zoom, with 12 luxury hotel senior managers (GMs and department managers) from London and Berkshire. Access was secured by the author’s personal network and by using the snowballing technique. All the interviews were voice recorded and professionally transcribed; content analysis was employed for the collected data.
Three key themes emerged from data analysis namely: the strategic alignment creation process; transparency and engagement to manage the pandemic impact on team members; and managing change.
The practical implications of this study suggest that during crisis and unprecedented times, strategic alignment is essential to keeping teams engaged. During the crisis it is imperative that the senior managers demonstrate strong leadership and provide support to staff in individual and team level. In addition, the luxury hotel units’ senior managers are acting as change agents who help the organisation to survive during the crisis and ultimately lead to full recovery.
This study contributes to the existing research and theoretical frameworks on strategic team alignment during contingencies and crises. The findings of this study enhance our knowledge in this emerging and under researched field, through the views of the key actors (luxury hotel managers).
The study limitations include a small sample in a single region/country from the senior managers’ perspective. Future studies should include other key stakeholders (i.e. staff and customers) in different countries / cultural contexts.