When considering the worst-case scenarios or fluctuations that can occur in business, a pandemic such as the magnitude of COVID-19 was one that no one could have foreseen. Considering nobody was prepared for it, sectors have taken a harsh brunt for the same. Nevertheless, like a domino effect, it slowly took over the world incapacitating most economies. After almost a quarter that went into partial or complete lockdown around the world, it is now that countries are slowly taking steps to lift the lockdown.
The most affected sector in this pandemic is perhaps the tourism and hospitality sector for it thrives on people, those that were forced to remain locked inside their homes. However, now that countries around the world are opening up to in-state and international travel, there is some hope for a revival to take place.
But, will the fear developed in people towards moving out of their homes and traveling or staying at a hotel be resolved? If yes, how? Let’s find out.
As employers of a hotel-based business, it is crucial to understand that remote working is one of the norms that need to be taken into serious consideration currently. This may not be a permanent change to make but surely for a while after the lockdown is lifted, it would be best to adopt and adapt to this form of working. However, this does not mean that your business must suffer since technology has become quite advanced now. With cloud-based hotel management software and workflow management systems, it is easy to control all operations at any time from anywhere. This can be of mighty help when engaging with the guests without personal contact, starting from check-in to meal and service orders.
With the pandemic affecting the hospitality sector the worst, many workers in the industry have lost their jobs. A report by AHLA states that approximately 8 million people lost their jobs in the hospitality sector due to the pandemic. However, now that the sectors are opening up hotels would be in need of manpower more than before. This is a good time to rehire staff, and you can be sure to have scored on efficiency since most people are in need of jobs resulting in them working better than before.
Revise and implement health policies
With the lockdown being lifted in certain countries, governments all over have laid down regulations that the service industry and hospitality sector, in particular, must adhere to hereon. Since this virus is one that spreads on human contact, the hospitality sector is one that needs to implement stringent measures since they thrive on in-person interactions. Hotel businesses should thus implement, update or adopt set protocols such as frequent sanitization, masks and gloves at all times, to ensure the staff is not contributing to the spread of infection.
Reduction in prices
It is true that reducing the prices can further drill an already existing hole in the pockets of hotel businesses since the sector is already incurring more losses. But, so are the people visiting your hotels whose jobs are affected because of the pandemic. It is important to empathize and understand the situation of those visiting the hotel until the economy of the country stabilizes.
This is an opportune time to take care of your guests and make them feel safe and welcome. These efforts can lead to lifelong customer loyalty which has a ripple effect on your brand However, this may not be applicable to all areas where your hotels exist. Since this varies from market to market as in certain markets, the hotels seemed to perform well even at their earlier. Therefore, this is case insensitive and needs to be looked at individually.
Market to millennials
Millennials are the ones that will be the most eager to get back out in the world and explore things once this pandemic is over. Being the most enthusiastic ones, they would want to get out having been cooped up for far too long. So, this is the right time to plan for the future, keeping the millennials in mind. They appreciate a good transparent, trustworthy, and authentic brand. Since they are also the most tech-savvy and in tune with social media, you must build plans that include personalized messages, contact less check-in, deals and offers, round the clock availability etc.
It is true that COVID-19 has left a void in the hospitality and tourism industry that will be filled in due time. However, it is not the first time that the economy had to go through this. Previously, the hotel industry had to deal with different crises and viruses such as the SARS virus in 2003. But, it picked up pace one step at a time and made it back to what it was before the virus occurred. It is of utmost importance to understand that the pandemic is only temporary and will sooner or later fade away. Thus, businesses must plan for the future, as well as take steps to reduce long-term effects left behind by the virus to drive a faster recovery.