Covid-19 continues to wreak havoc across the hospitality sector and even with government support and the furlough scheme thousands of businesses are at risk of closing down, which in turn means their employees are at risk of losing their jobs, if they have not already. The Hospitality Gig is a new platform that has been set up by three highly experienced hospitality professionals to offer a new flexible way for on-trade companies to find the most suitable talent, to work on both short and longer term projects that will be needed to help the industry get back on its feet throughout 2021. Co-founder Rachel Moosa explains how it is going to work.
As part of The Buyer’s Onwards & Upwards series that looks to help hospitality and drinks industry professionals that have lost their jobs due to Covid-19, we look at how the new Hospitality Gig platform could provide a valuable new recruitment, services and skills network.
Can you tell us about The Hospitality Gig and how it works?
Our mission for The Hospitality Gig is to keep hospitality working. We provide a platform to connect businesses directly with hospitality talent for gig work opportunities, be that a job share, a project or an assignment that fills a temporary business need.
The Hospitality Gig provides the technology to manage the end to end process of posting a work opportunity, to finding the right resource to complete the work, managing the payment for that work, and rating the quality of work.
Our platform is unique in that it connects workers and businesses directly and provides access to skilled workers in commercial, managerial, and executive support functions in hospitality. We only accept qualified talent with experience working for a hospitality chain for at least six months and we require two references from all gig workers before they are approved on the platform.
All hospitality businesses are facing significant challenges as we go through a period of highly uncertain demand. The ability to flex staffing levels is now a critical success factor, and commercial recovery will depend on businesses being able to access the right talent when needed but retain tight control on costs.
In the short term, we are providing innovation both to support our industry and to help our industry colleagues find rewarding temporary job opportunities. Long term, our plan is that The Hospitality Gig as a platform where brilliant talent can be accessed remotely and flexed dynamically will be an incredible evolution for hospitality workplaces.
How did you come up with the idea?
What has happened over the last year to the hospitality industry has been just devastating, and seeing so many talented colleagues and fellow industry workers being made redundant was heartbreaking. We also saw how tough it was for hotels and hospitality chains. They had to let valuable, talented people go in order to cut costs, knowing full well that they were going to suffer on the business side without the right resources. This inspired us to come up with an idea that would help people to still get jobs and for businesses to have access to the talent to keep their business working.
How will it work in terms of choosing which jobs and opportunities go up on the platform?
The Hospitality Gig is a platform where any business can post jobs or ‘gigs’. We envisage there will be three main types of gig opportunity:
1. What you would think of today as a ‘project’. For example, needing someone to run a campaign or to review a pricing strategy. Businesses will be able to post gigs to find someone to complete that project work.
2. Easy access to additional resources. For example, a business may have had to cut its front office team right back, but if demand picks up suddenly or if someone is sick they will not have enough people to cover the desk. Our platform will enable businesses to access trained people with the right system knowledge or skills to provide cover – it’s likely someone who used to work for the chain in the same role will be available.
3. ‘Fractional roles’ and ‘flex working’ – the ability to provide regular work on a flexible basis. This may be based on a certain number of hours a week, or the ability to share resources across different properties. Our platform provides a new way to manage this kind of flex work.
Then in terms of functions, we will initially be focusing on commercial, support, and managerial roles in hospitality, so key roles such as sales, revenue, marketing, HR, operations, procurement, and IT.
Does it cost businesses to put up opportunities?
There is no cost to businesses for posting opportunities. A fee only applies for gigs completed through the platform, so if the business finds someone through another source there is nothing to pay at all.
And then for individuals looking for work – what do they do?
It’s really simple to register. Gig workers create a profile to showcase their experience and talent. We’d recommend that they emphasise their brand experience and any training or system knowledge to maximise their opportunities for relevant gigs. They will also set up a Stripe payment account through our platform so that they will receive payments seamlessly for all work completed.
Once registered they will be able to apply for opportunities that come up, and businesses may also invite specific individuals to apply for roles, choosing candidates who have the necessary skills.
How do you know each other and what are your personal backgrounds?
We have worked together in previous roles with brands including Hilton and Accor, and of course, the hospitality industry is the perfect community to build relationships with like-minded professionals.
My background is in HR and I have a wealth of experience in setting up a strong HR function from scratch in a complex environment. I helped establish the Middle East and African presence in Dubai for Fairmont Hotels & Resorts and oversaw the growth from five hotels to over two hundred with Accor within 10 years.
Fiona [Robson] has a strong background in both hospitality and consulting, with deep-experience of the core hospitality commercial functions with global brands, plus insight into the needs of hospitality tech and more entrepreneurial businesses.
Kate [Walsh] has worked in commercial in every continent but one and has experience in product management.
We came together with a shared passion for the industry and innovation and decided with the balance of experience we each had that we would make the perfect trio.
Did you have experience in recruitment before?
We have all had extensive experience in our careers recruiting talent for global teams, particularly during my time as senior vice president HR for Accor.
However, The Hospitality Gig is not a recruitment agency, it’s a platform that changes the way businesses can access talent and recruit for themselves bringing more agility than the industry has ever had access to before.
It’s always been particularly difficult for hotels to recruit in secondary and tertiary markets, The Hospitality Gig now removes those barriers, and hotels in remote locations can have access to first-class commercial, learning and development talent and more.
Are you looking to add new services and elements to the platform – if so what?
We are concentrating only on our primary goal of keeping hospitality working, for now. However, we will stay close to our customers to understand their requirements over the coming months. We would love to see businesses outside of hospitality also start to access the incredible talent and transferable skills people of the industry bring to the table.
Is there a way to do training and improve your skills through the platform?
In addition to offering rewarding gig work, we see one of the key benefits of our platform is that it also provides new development opportunities. By performing ‘gigs’ for different hospitality businesses, the professionals will be able to keep their skills fresh, while they may be looking for full-time employment, and may need to learn new skills in order to complete a project.
As well as providing job opportunities for the talented hospitality professionals who find themselves without work, we also plan to partner with a number of industry bodies and will reinvest a portion of any profits into re-training and hardship funds for impacted workers. It’s important to all three of us that we re-invest in the industry to aid its recovery.
- You can find out more about Hospitality Gig at its website here.
- You can post up your details and get started on its site here.