Comment: Feel the love generation

Hilton VP for F&B strategy & development, EMEA, Emma Banks discusses the importance of self-love and a work/life balance in the hospitality business

Emma Banks
Emma Banks

January 2020 and the start of a new year and decade. Many of us have thrown ourselves into fresh new work challenges, fitness regimes and diets, add in the busy hectic routine of a life in hospitality and before you know it, we're into February and it's Valentine’s Day. For the cynics amongst us, Valentine’s is now often seen as a commercial celebration where roses are overpriced and restaurants put on special couples' menus at premium rates, but for many of us it is a wonderful occasion to come out of the January grind and appreciate the one we love with a gift, spa break, weekend away or date night — and why not?

The month of love, however, offers us a chance to reflect and consider the words of Shakespeare: “Self-loving is not so vile a sin, my liege, as self-neglecting.” During the month of love, let us take the time to remember why we set those personal goals on New Year’s Day and invest in loving and taking care of ourselves, so we are fit and able to love others, and the job that we spend a large part of our lives doing. If those gym routines, daily walks, yoga classes, book clubs or moments with the family have slipped. Take a moment to reset and programme them once again.

Working at Hilton we are fortunate to be actively encouraged to look after body, mind and spirit through Thrive@Hilton. This flexible, adaptable approach to workplace wellness seeks to help team members feel more resilient, focused and optimistic about their work. It puts the approach firmly in the hands of our team members and is designed to be driven by their needs. Most employers now recognise that wellbeing and a work/life balance is generally considered paramount, especially amongst millennials and Gen Z employees.

Once we have focused on loving ourselves a little more, it opens us up to a space where we can love and care for others better. In the dynamic world of hospitality where people are serving people, it is vital that we are kind to each other and, in the words of Conrad Hilton, “Fill the earth with the light and warmth of hospitality”.

All of us in hospitality are working for companies that are investing in countries and communities for the long haul and looking to have a positive impact on the places in which they are located. I am proud that Hilton is listed in the People 2019 Companies that Care along with Hyatt and Marriott, who are also in the top 50. We, in the hospitality business, must remember and execute the discipline to take care of ourselves so we have the energy and bandwidth to support each other, delight our guests and contribute to the environment we live and work in.

As Maya Angelou said: "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

About the author - Based at Hilton’s regional office in Dubai and appointed as vice president in February 2019, Emma Banks is responsible for F&B strategy and development across EMEA, supporting Hilton’s trading and future pipeline of hotels.

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