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Learning in Lockdown – A Case Study

by Jo Woods

During these past eight months, hospitality businesses everywhere may understandably have prioritised their activities and as a result, cancelled what some perceive as “non-essentials” such as learning and development for their teams.

However one of our clients, The Resident turned this thought process on its head, recognising this time as a golden opportunity to continue investing in the development of their teams in all five of their properties in London and Liverpool. Having already engaged pre-lockdown in an initial Training Needs Analysis we worked with the team at The Resident, to define and develop a bespoke “Learning Journey” aimed at educating and engaging all team members to deliver optimal hospitality in all areas. When Lockdown was announced, and most team members were furloughed, this only added impetus to their learning and development requirements.

In conjunction with the senior team at The Resident we accelerated the launch of a customised online Learning Hub to April. This was an additional way for managers to check in with their teams and gave all furloughed team members the opportunity to benefit from an engaging training platform, that continues to support their Learning Journey throughout Lockdown should they wish to take it up. It has enhanced the feeling of belonging in an increasingly remote world, providing an additional communications opportunity, enabling managers to check in on their team member’s wellbeing, and give them support when needed.  By remaining in contact via the Learning Hub throughout the Summer, team members were also able to feel connected with their colleagues and managers.

Even with the majority of team members on furlough, over 80% voluntarily completed many of the 65 training units available to them. They say it has enabled them to stay motivated, ensuring that they were ready to return to work when restrictions were lifted and they are now better positioned to deliver the genuine heartfelt hospitality that is at the core of their values, especially during these challenging times with face coverings, hand sanitising stations and social distancing.

As we now go into another lockdown, Resident Hotels are still making the most of this time by providing support and engaging learning and development to all of their team via the Learning Hub.

The Learning Hub – facts and figures

An impressive 85% of team members participated whilst on furlough, logging into the Learning Hub voluntarily. Eight months on, 100% have now signed in and 96% have completed at least one training unit.

Team members from all five hotels plus head office, have on average completed 83% of their assigned units, and 75% of units have been fully completed. Progress is measured through a variety of tests and surveys within each unit.

The training modules were varied and included subjects such as;

  • Local product knowledge
  • The brand
  • Standards of Excellence
  • Systems training
  • The Guest Journey
  • Well-being.

When completing these units, teams were further motivated by gamification; participants were rewarded for unit progress and live online learning participation and an overall leaderboard was constantly updated and communicated to all!

Such commitment to learning and development during difficult times is a true testament to the dedication of both the teams and senior leadership of The Resident.

Live Online Learning – feedback from some team members

Such high levels of engagement by Resident team-members can be partly attributed to the inter-active and engaging nature of the Live Online Sessions, so their feedback would suggest. Being able to stay connected and interact with each other, whilst pursuing learning and development in a fun and interactive way was very well received. Here’s what they have to say;

“The LOL sessions are fun, it’s a new creative way to conduct training and I am grateful to be part of it”

 Ejay, The Resident Kensington 

“It is a very dynamic and interactive way to learn through the different kind of activities that will help to retain the information in a funny and entertaining manner”

Sandra, The Resident Soho 

 “The LOL Session is a good one, meaning that it helped me a lot during the lockdown remembering things related to my job and our hotel, all of them caught my attention.

It was a good opportunity to see my colleagues and engage with others as well”

Maria, The Resident Covent Garden 

“I absolutely loved the learning hub during the Lockdown. I got to work with new people within the company that I’ve never met before”

Valentino, The Resident Victoria 

 “The LOL sessions especially gave me something to look forward to and they have all been very enjoyable. A good chance to learn things in a fun environment

Carlo, The Resident Liverpool


….And the results speak for themselves!! 

Following such high levels of team engagement, The Resident Hotels have since had some excellent guest feedback on Trip Advisor.

For the period from re-opening in August until the second lockdown in December, Trip Advisor ratings include;

 The Resident Soho – 65 reviews of which 95% were scored at an overall hotel rating of 5/5, and for “service” in particular, 100% of reviews gave the maximum score of 5.

The Resident Covent Garden – 74 reviews of which 99% were scored at overall rating of 5/5 and 100% rated “service” 5 too. 

The Resident Liverpool – 62 reviews of which 94% gave an overall rating of 5/5 but again 100% of the reviews scored the maximum 5/5 for “service”. 


Such exceptional guest ratings are a true testament to the efforts that team members have made in putting their learning during lockdown into practice. 


UPDATE – Post Lockdown #3….

Following on from these great Trip Advisor ratings, and a third National Lockdown, yet again,  Resident Hotels have once more been keeping their teams busy during the first few months of 2021.

Continuing their desire to ensure teams stay connected and engaged, they have been gearing up over the last couple of weeks with new training units on their Learning Hub (LMS) followed up with Live Online Learning sessions and also reaching out for specialist support and training where needed. In fact during the next 6 weeks they are covering:

  • Mental Health First Aider training for HR and General Managers
  • Mental Health for Managers training for all Hotel Managers, FOH Managers and Duty Managers
  • Mental Health Awareness training for all team members
  • Service v Hospitality – the New Normal
  • Communications training – about our culture, vision and living the values of the brand
  • Feedback Friendly training – for all types of feedback; positive, negative, complaint handling
  • Enquiry Handling – telephone and email
  • Your Colours in Stress – and coping strategies
  • Teams and Communication for their HQ team


What an amazing investment yet again they are making in their teams and their personal development, during this period of closure.