Hospitality Interprofession: innovation in various areas

2007 – ‘Bedrijfschap Horeca en Catering’ (Hospitality interprofession) wants to become a contemporary industrial board by developing from doing research to supplying demand-driven (data) informationvia external and internal cooperation and exchange of knowledge and experiences.
The political debate in 2005 about the usefulness and necessity of interprofessions is grasped by the Hospitality industry board to look at its added value for the Hospitality and Catering business owners and their employees. The supply-driven activities such as collecting, processing and distributing macroeconomic research and information about legislation, has been replaced by a digital, demand-driven knowledge center. Decentralized data collection resulting in benchmark data is the main instrument to stimulate the Hospitality entrepreneur to  improvement and innovation on various aspects (products , concepts , pricing , human resources, health and safety). This service innovation is created by internal shifting from knowledge to skills. Skills such as the competences to explore and create, to make better use of ICT and to cooperate in open innovation projects with the target group and research institutes.


This Industrial board has undergone several reorganisations in the past 10 years and is gradually reduced from about 100 FTEs to 20 FTEs. The most recent reorganisation was the most drastic in terms of declination of numbers of personnel, product changes and position within the industry. In 2005, drawn by survival necessity the vision changed from the inside to the outside. Objective was a restart by restructuring the research institute to a small demand driven knowledge center that could encourage catering entrepreneurs to improvement and innovation.

The process involved all employees of the Hospitality interprofession and their executives (55 FTE).

The change process is initiated by a Director ad interim on the basis of a foresight study that was created by the board and the member companies. This director had moderated the process of creating the foresight. Another issue was the budget that showed low productivity and  unsustainability of existing organisation. This revealed the urgency to reverse course and to orientate on the future.


Internal: open management/management based on trust

At the start of the change process the MT is replaced by a steering committee. It was indicated that not everyone could stay employed and that the involvement of each one was a necessary precondition. Working groups were formed around the themes (areas)  arising from the foresight where employees could join. These working groups were tasked to work out the themes into concrete action plans. This process was supported by “soapbox" meetings and several rounds of communication with the government organizations that have provided input for the outlook, while the steering committee watched the formal progress.

The staff had to convert to customer demands, explore their own personal strength and invest their knowledge in new cooperation with colleagues, customers and external institutions. The shift from knowledge to exploration and creation was supported by empowering workouts, with different routes open: sharpening skills, career development or outplacement.

During 2006, more than half ( about 30 FTE ) staff have gone elsewhere to work. From 2007 the remaining staff exploit the demand-driven knowledge center and all have a different role or task with the exception of the Financial administration. They set personal development plans to guide their future development.

External: operating from within the industry

Demand-driven means knowing what is going on in the industry and so the Hospitality interprofession should stand in the middle of the branche. This is done primarily by seeking one on one communication. In addition both an image campaign is executed as well as the relation between the target group and the employees is improved by giving roadshows presenting bench marks and (cultural) days of action for Hospitality entrepreneurs and employees.

Other activities to encourage innovation within the sector are: making a new accessible website, organising meetings around pilots for mutual learning and the innovation trophy. For nomination every one through the website, can propose candidates who distinguish themselves in the field of drinking, eating, sleeping or corporate social responsibility. In addition, Hospitality entrepreneurs can do an innovation test and gather ideas from various best practices.

Thread in the process

• Ensure that the staff team from the Hospitality interprofession knows what is expected of them by the customer ( the Hospitality Company). This starts with a clear mission and vision.
• Provide opportunity for all employees to participate in the change process using their personal skills.

• Support the employees to grow in the change, to attune their personal process and/or to make  another career step.

• Open communication and management.

• Vulnerable to the customer and together with him/her searching for the wishes and questions. Continuous interaction with the client group.

• Use a process-oriented approach and facilitate with a clear focus the growth to result.


• The viability of the organisation is regained.

• The process of change – in terms of Social Plan, etc. – was relatively inexpensive (no additional sanctions of judges, etc. );

• The implementation process has been put in motion at the time of the change;

• The Hospitality interprofession is transformed into digital interactive knowledge center,;

• The skills, learning and collaborating are strengthened;

• The customer group feels strongly involved in the result, which increases the success factor;
• Roles and jobs are distributed among employees on the basis of their strength and ambition (competencies );

• There is permanent interaction with the client group through the website and specific thematic meetings.