South Africa’s hospitality industry needs to undergo some fundamental changes to remain relevant and to keep up with the demands of a modern world, and in turn appeal to young industry professionals like millennials and the incoming generation Z.

These sentiments were revealed at a FEHDASA Cape Young Professionals segment event at the Fire and Ice Hotel in Cape Town recently. The event joined young up and coming hospitality professionals, and a panel of industry experts who discussed topics of relevance to the sector. The interactive session allowed participants to share views on the state of the industry and suggest what needs to change to make way for the “new generation”. Further, it gave panellists the opportunity to share tips and advice on how to successfully climb the hospitality ladder.

“We gained some perspective from role-players in the sector on how we need to develop ourselves in order to be more impactful and to stay ahead. Some incredibly valuable take-ins were shared,” said Ndaba Dube, chairperson of FEDHASA Cape’s Young Professionals segment.

A common thread during this event was that the hospitality industry needs to innovate holistically and include young, fresh thinkers with new ideas in their decision-making processes, which will help to re-shape the face of this industry.

Panellists also stressed the importance of building and nurturing relationships with longstanding industry professionals for mentoring purposes, to bounce ideas off  of and sell potentially new creative ideas to, to help pave young professionals’ careers in the sector even further. In addition, panellists also encouraged the industry to be less linear and to foster more collaborations with youngsters on topics and situations that would directly affect them.

To encourage ongoing dialogue between young professionals in the sector and to grow this segment, general managers from FEDHASA Cape’s member establishments have also signed a Young Professionals Pledge. In the pledge GMs commit to signing-up a young professional from their respective establishments to join, actively support and develop the segment.