When recession hits, cut costs, not standards
By Dan Bignold
Nov 15th, 2019
When hospitality revenues take a hit, dollars spent on “non-essential” activities such as staff development are often the first to go. Small Batch Learning solves the budget battle ahead with training for beverage service that’s 100% free.

In Hong Kong, hotels and hospitality businesses are caught in a storm. Tourists and business travellers are cancelling trips to the city, with new figures showing a 46% drop in the average room rate at three-star hotels in the seven days ending October 27th, and room nights falling 24% in the same week. The city has now fallen into recession for the first time in 10 years.

In the UK, clouds over the service sector are also gathering, thanks to continued Brexit uncertainty and a wider financial slowdown. It's difficult to predict downturns and even harder to respond, but when revenues drop this dramatically in any business, the first thing to get cut are so-called non-essential operational expenses. Managers are called in, given the bad news and told to slash costs. Painfully, those same managers are advised to not just reduce headcount, but trim away at other activities such as staff rewards, marketing and training.

It's painful because one person’s “non-essential” is another’s secret ingredient – the magic that does in fact keep the whole show on the road. Unlike the accountants setting the new budgets, managers know that training doesn’t just cost a business money; it builds a business too. In a service-driven industry such as hospitality, developing talent to meet guest expectation is the opposite of “non-essential”. It’s what enables hotels to deliver a product, and make further revenue once guests are happily welcomed under their roof.

However, sometimes you can’t escape the hard reality. If sales dollars are dropping (through no fault of your own), the only other way to protect your bottom line is by finding those dollars elsewhere.

When it comes to staff development, Small Batch Learning has an answer. Instead of paying external training providers to visit all your properties, or licensing an expensive Learning Management System (LMS) software with a dollar-cost per staff member – eye-watering when you’ve got 100 or more staff to consider – we offer a mobile-friendly, online learning platform, complete with hours of ready-written beverage service training for absolutely no cost. Nothing.

There’s no catch – really. However many staff you need to train, the cost is the same. There’s no signing-on fee. No freemium model. No six-month introductory free period. Just 100% free, forever. At least that’s one conversation with the finance director that just got easier.

Free doesn’t mean second-rate, either, according to several industry voices. In Australia, the country's leading premium bar operator Merivale has adopted Small Batch Learning for staff beverage training. with group bars manager Sam Egerton saying: “I am incredibly excited to see how it helps shape the landscape of training in our business and how it will help us nurture talent internally.”

Meanwhile, bar owner and consultant Angus Winchester called Small Batch Learning his “go-to recommendation for all my clients”, adding: “Small Batch Learning provides a solid, easy-to-navigate base for enlightened bars to build on and compelling content for learners of all levels, at a price point that is unbeatable – free."

This zero-cost promise means that you can continue to engage and develop staff, improve customer service, and maximise those revenue-generating opportunities – crucial if they're becoming more and more rare – without stealing anything from your bottom line.

Free training isn't going to change the overall landscape facing hoteliers and hospitality operators when recession appears on the horizon, but it can help limit the damage that cuts would otherwise have on your organization.

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