As borders closed and planes were grounded around the world, the pandemic held its vice grip around the throat of the travel industry. All income to the sector had stopped and difficult decisions needed to be made to reduce costs, protect customers, and reassure staff.
Mr and Mrs Smith recognised the need to bring a focus to customer experience but also, just as importantly, on the operational effectiveness of the business. This would not only mean drastically cutting costs in the shorter term but also aiming to bring stability and sustainability to products, processes, and propositions in the medium to longer term.
After a period of reducing numbers of staff and prioritising only a small number of initiatives, it was time to turn the focus back to trade and then toward their ambitions for growth. Several countries were beginning to lift travel bans and it was expected that there would be a significant uplift in demand for travel and thus bookings at the numerous luxury hotels within the Mr & Mrs Smith hotel collection.
How Agility in Mind helped
We began by working with a cross-functional team comprised of specialisms within the company: curators, editorial, creative, photographic and operations. Changing the narrative from being a specialist to being part of a team helping to reach goals to support the business and brand was crucial. From there, we:
- Worked to bring down silos and create a sense of agility within the team which was likely to be made up of mostly new hires.
- Empowered managers and leaders to make decisions about the team by focussing on how individuals worked together to solve problems and create amazing experiences. They were looking out for qualities such as the ability to listen to each other, make things happen and build on ideas.
- Began working on launching hotels into the collection, with a daily focus on where teams could use support as well as what they were prioritizing.
- Held monthly reviews of efficiency and happiness within teams, setting actions to improve productivity.
- Created a value map to plot activities that were taking place, any bottlenecks or blocks along the way and practical solutions to reduce these.
- Focussed on value and putting the customer at the heart of discussion within all training, events and meetings. All team members were encouraged to contribute with their ideas.
Agility in Mind helped to create an environment where the team’s knowledge sharing was improving flow and efficiency, meaning weeks were taken off the time to launch new hotels which also increased launch numbers overall. These new hotels equated to ambitious growth in revenue for the business.
The commitment to inspect and adapt all aspects of the work allowed the team to ensure forecasts and targets were ambitious but realistic, and that managing the expectations of senior leaders within the business was done transparently, collaboratively and was driven by data.
Another focus of the group was its sense of purpose, measurement and return on investment. The team was ensuring that the additional income it was creating for the business both now and in the future was more than its costs, meaning that change remained sustainable.
After this work, the team was able to launch more hotels than ever before, ensuring high quality, happy hoteliers and members. Tested processes for recruitment, onboarding and teams moving to high performance took shape which will be applied to other parts of the business in the future.
What our client said
“Agility in Mind showed us new ways of thinking and practical ways of leading our entire team through a tough and rapidly changing business environment. We’re now approaching challenges and cross-departmental initiatives in new ways and making faster, clearer decisions as a result.”
Tamara Lohan, MBE. CEO at Mr & Mrs Smith.
“I couldn’t recommend Agility in Mind enough – the impact on business is a game changer!
We realised the power of doing things differently to set us up for success. We changed our approach, created ambitious team that understands each other, that isn’t scared of changing things, creating a safe bubble where everyone has a say has been incredibly powerful. It gave us the strengths to challenge ourselves and the business
Marion Barrère Head of Curation at Mr & Mrs Smith