Checking In: Q&A with Adam Rowledge, founder & managing director, Rowledge Associates.

In the latest in a series talking to members of the sector during the COVID-19 outbreak, Emily Newman interviews Adam Rowledge.

1.                              What is your immediate priority at the moment?

For me personally it's supporting my clients and anyone in the wider world who needs it, it's going to be a challenging few months ahead and everyone is going to need some kind of support to get through it, whether that's directly helping a business, through mentoring or just staying in touch to let others know that we're there to help if needed.

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2.                              Can you envisage any permanent changes to operations?

We've seen some fantastic innovation and collaboration during these challenging times and I think that it's encouraged new thinking in a lot of areas, whilst businesses will I'm sure be keen to return to core operations as soon as possible it will be interesting to see how much of this innovation is retained.

3.                              Do you anticipate a rapid or gradual recovery?

Once it is safe to reopen some areas will bounce bank quite quickly I'd imagine, particularly domestic leisure but others such as large events much more gradual and I think that weddings will be an interesting segment to watch with demand shifting to other days of the week and whether couples will try to rebook for later this year or postpone to next.

4.                              When all this has passed, how easy will it be to open the shutters and start trading again?

I don't think that anything about this is going to be easy but certainly those businesses that have a great product and look after their guests are going to be the ones that are best placed. The duration of the impact is going to be key in how much it affects the overall economy longer term but those who are able to continue to adapt and innovate in new market conditions are going to gain competitive advantage.

5.                              What is your hope for the hospitality industry in a post COVID-19 world?

There have been some amazing examples of how businesses have really looked after the wellbeing of their teams during these times. I really hope that not only do more businesses focus on putting their people first but that the real positives that have come out of this situation that we find ourselves in are long-lived and don't disappear when COVID-19 does. Company culture and employer brand are going to be more important than ever, especially as we shift focus from the C-word back to the B-word...

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