April 14, 2024

Tune in to Taste of Travel

Not sure which sessions to tune into this week at WTCE Virtual? Let us help you decide with our Taste of Travel previews…

A Career in Onboard Hospitality – Engaging and Inspiring our Next Generation of Leaders

The onboard hospitality sector has lost a lot of talent during the pandemic and as we build back it is important to focus on encouraging young professionals to join us and build careers in our industry. To do this we need to think differently according to Sinje Wojahn, head of global HR and people management at LSG Group: “We must focus on opportunities, culture, sustainability and flexible working”.

Career progression will be vital but businesses also need to understand personal needs and priorities. A company that respects a healthy planet, offers a good working environment and good leadership counts highly now too.

Airline caterers also need to raise the profile of what they do and show prospective employees the opportunities there are in this global environment. There is a new generation of digital natives and the industry must refocus to meet their expectations.

A lively panel of contributors to the Get Onboard Now! Campaign People Action Group will join the debate, moderated by Sandra Pineau-Boddison, IFSA Foundation board president and partner at The Hayward Partnership. Panellists include Sinje Wojahn, head of global HR and people management at LSG Group; Michael Pooley, partner at The Hayward Partnership; April Waterston, assistant editor at Onboard Hospitality magazine; Holly Leadbitter, insights lead at Monty’s Bakehouse, and Helen Jones, product development manager, Niche Free-from Kitchen.

Why Hospitality is Key to Rebuilding Passenger Confidence

Julie Baxter, editor of Onboard Hospitality, moderates this session which will reveal new data and positive feedback on the role of hospitality onboard.

Tom Szwed from Black Swan Data will share research that shows the restoration of catering onboard ranks as a key consumer priority if you want to entice passengers back onboard. Trust and hygiene run alongside this, with passengers wanting to know exactly what lengths an airline is going to, to keep them safe.

While digitalisation is a key way forward, customers also want human interaction and can pick up the mood onboard from the moment they arrive, says panellist Simon Soni of Westjet, who also believes consistency is everything. And while safety, comfort and service remain the three priorities for Qatar Airways, it is technology that is key to making customers feel in control, says the airline’s Genevieve Reis Rosario.

Alison Wells, md at Plane Talking Products completes the panel, identifying a new shift to a less is more approach. “I think going forward we will see what we’re calling ‘simplified luxury’ she says.

Food Allergies and Managing Wellness Onboard

What is your nut-free policy? One in ten children now have a food allergy. Some surprising and challenging pointers come out of this debate, revealing that special meals need to be regulated across the globe if passengers are to trust them. With Natasha’s Law coming into force on October 1, 2021 it is not only caterers who need to know the regulations but airline crew too. ‘Near miss’ reporting is no longer good enough as the industry comes to realise that giving passengers with allergies incorrect meals is dangerous and potentially fatal. Are your airline crew trained in the use of epipens for example? This has to be part of standard training.

Marc Warde of the Niche Free-From Kitchen and Libero Special Meals talks to Audrey Hart, Manager, Food, Beverage & Ancillaries atVirgin Atlantic; Caroline Benjamin, Founder, Food Allergy Aware, and Julianne Ponan, Owner of Creative Nature.

Where to next? Sustainability Trends

“Sustainability is the topic of our decade and our lifetime,” says moderator, Sarah Klatt-Walsh. In this lively session we discuss the challenges of food waste; single-use plastics versus rotables and how we can balance the customer experience and sustainability. Pre-pandemic sustainability was a point of competitiveness.

This has to change, says Matt Crane, founder of The Aviation Sustainability Forum. “This is a global challenge that requires global collaboration and standardisation”. Passengers are keen to see a move towards a more sustainable future but when is the right time? A vital debate with four visionary champions on how the global industry must come together to support the challenges of environmentally-conscious onboard hospitality provision by changing behaviours, reducing waste while improving the customer experience.

New Catering Concepts

The speed of change post-pandemic in all things travel is extraordinary, and striking the right balance in the push for infrastructure change around catering is essential. In just 10 months we are no longer dealing with cash. Personalisation is now considered mainstream and passengers want healthier meals. People now need to plan ahead and think much more about the journey than they used to. Pre-order is on the increase, passengers want more choice and for Buy-on-Board this offers opportunities for more efficiency and potentially more revenue. Airlines, rail and cruise operators know far more about their customers than they used to and the pace of change in technology means they can now predict trends better and save waste.

While Business travel might take a while to recover, leisure travel is coming back. Caterers need to be more flexible, offer more choice and above all, listen to the passengers. The days of just loading meals and products are over.

Moderated by Lance Hayward, our panellists include Robin Padgett, Chairman of the Airline Catering Association and SVP Catering and Retail, DNATA, Antony McNeil, Director, F&B Inflight Service Delivery, Singapore Airlines, José Lirio Silva, Head of Onboard Retail Europe, Retail in Motion and Michelle Green – Director Business Development, Strategy & Innovation, Tourvest Retail Services.