Blog — 5 Min Read

Actions Hotels can take during the Covid – 19 Pandemic

Blog — 5 Min Read

Hotels must take the opportunity to adapt to new hospitality developments during the Covid – 19 Pandemic

Hotels must take the opportunity to adapt to new hospitality trends and developments throughout the coronavirus epidemic The Corona Virus epidemic had a major influence on everyone’s lives, but the hospitality industry took the biggest hit.

The Global Business Travel Association estimated that there will be approximately a 110 Billion USD worth of damages only to the European business travel industry during 2020 (Farazad). Strategies to straighten the Covid-19 curve such as community lockdowns, stay at home orders and travel restrictions have made it hard for the hospitality industry to operate (Gursoy). However, many new trends and developments have risen since the coronavirus outbreak setting new standards and regulations for various sectors including the hospitality industry. This led to a number of challenges that some people see as a threat and others as an opportunity.

Take The Opportunity

It is commonly believed that hotels should take the Covid-19 crisis as an opportunity to adapt to new hospitality developments, although some hoteliers think differently. Until now, there has been an initial shock after travel restrictions have been placed, giving hotels no other option than initiating a crisis mode. For example, many hotels have been trying to figure out ways to cut down costs such as changing suppliers or firing employees. On the other hand, some hoteliers believe that one should enter a planning mode in order to prepare for the upcoming months. Planning mode consists of hotels examining new target markets and transforming their Food and Beverage facilities into takeaway or delivery outlets. Hotels that seize the opportunity and successfully implement a delivery service have the potential to act as a future revenue source (Mcarthy).

How To Cut Down Costs

Coming back to the methods hotels use to cut down costs, it is understandable that some want to enter a crisis mode; however, by changing suppliers, the product quality could decrease resulting in lower customer satisfaction levels. Moreover, a more pleasant approach rather than firing employees could be to maintain hourly wages, by minimizing the length of their workweek or converting some employees to part-time workers. An article from Nicole Dehler states that decreasing the workweek by one-day could reduce labour costs by 20%. Furthermore, this could be the best time to cross-train employees and ensure that they can support other departments when and if needed (Dehler). Therefore, planning mode is important for hotels to consider as it gives them the opportunity to adjust to the current situation and to prepare for a post-covid-19 future. Consequently, hotels should enter a planning mode rather than a crisis mode. In fact, hoteliers believe that most of the hotel’s revenues come from international tourism. They claim that international tourists spend more money and are less demanding during their stay. On the contrary, the majority of hotels that started planning ahead, have already targeted a new market segment focusing on local tourism.

After the travel restrictions have been placed, many people decided on traveling locally and having their holidays in their own country or city. As mentioned previously, hotels can benefit from offering locals a Food and Beverage delivery service by using the hotel restaurant and by offering hotel rooms to accommodate locals. Many hotels have also partnered up with the government to offer their rooms for quarantine purposes due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The government has also introduced a number of initiatives in order to promote local holidays. For instance, the government of Cyprus partnered up with local hotels in order to offer cheaper rates for local tourists by subsidizing most of the room rate. This gave the opportunity for hotels to expand their local market but also to fill their hotel. Cypriot tourists can also benefit from this offer, as they are not able to take their holidays abroad, they choose Cyprus as their holiday destination. Local tourism was not the first choice for hotels to fill up their rooms; however, given that they had no other choice during that period, as international tourists were not allowed to enter the country, they found this to be a very successful alternative (Stoyanov). Nonetheless, this situation helped the hoteliers to understand the importance of collaborating with the government and promoting local tourism. As the travel industry has not been stable over the past six months, travelers have and are more likely to continue to cancel their holidays. Holidaymakers prefer to take their holiday in a familiar environment, speaking their own language, paying in their own currency and abiding to their familiar country regulations (Bac). Hence, under the current circumstances, local tourism is the sensible choice as opposed to international tourism in order to sustain the hotel industry.

Finally, some say that going bankrupt might be the safest option to prevent future failures. Going bankrupt will give hotels the option not to fall into a huge debt. This argument, however, does not take into account the opportunity of exploring new strategies to change their concept. Over the past few months, many hotels have taken the opportunity to change their concept and partially redesign their hotel. Some have turned their hotel facilities into long and short-term villa or house renting properties in order to offer guests their own isolated living space to feel safer. The work-from-home restrictions frustrated many employees who felt isolated at home. Other hotels took this opportunity to convert their rooms into workspace offices, providing thus their guests with a working area that is different from home. It has been noticed that workspace offices in hotels attract a younger clientele, and serves as a way to connect with locals. According to an article by Samuel Wich, it has been proven that successfully-run workspace offices has been beneficial for hotels, as more people had the opportunity to interact with the hotel property, spend more time in there and ultimately generate more revenue (Wich). As reported by Mr. Pantelis Leptos, the Chairman of Cyprus largest developer company Leptos Estate, the first quarter of 2020 showed a 250% increase in residency investment compared to the same period in 2019 (Pantelis). This article convinces that changing a hotel concept into a real estate facility can greatly benefit your company, as there has been an increase in the demand of residency investment. All the concept changes made because of Covid 19 can also be applied post-covid-19, as people will keep on making use of these facilities. A new norm is born in the hospitality industry and hotels should adapt to new hospitality trends because they will define the way the hotel industry will develop in the upcoming years, and will ensure their survival. Concluding, hotels will need to decide whether or not they should take Covid-19 as an opportunity to adapt to new hospitality developments. This decision is not easy, and new hospitality developments might not be the right answer for everyone. As stated previously, cutting costs and entering into a crisis mode is not the best option. Nonetheless, it has been proven that this is the right time for planning and development for the hospitality industry. Under no circumstances should hotels stop innovating. Hotels must accept and embrace the fact that local tourism will be part of their target market for the next months, maybe even years. If hotels do not want to go bankrupt, they must start changing their concept to attract the hygiene-conscious guest of today. That could be done by either offering working space offices or house and villa rentals; which will still be popular post-covid-19. Hotels must take the Covid-19 crisis as an opportunity to adapt to new hospitality developments as it will shape how the hospitality industry operates in the future.

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