This post is an optimistic one, but never the less, we wanted to look at some of the ways in which the hospitality sector could return to business and emerge from this crisis in the future.
COVID-19 is impacting everybody across the globe in one way or another. Businesses, Schools, and Churches have had to close their doors, and many employers have been forced into having to furlough or let go of their staff as their revenue ceases to exist.
For some in the hospitality sector, but only a very limited number of cases, business has been able to continue, but only with MAJOR adaptations to their business models. Restaurants and Bars that previously served food have been transformed into food delivery services for their local communities. Some hotels are even being used by the Government and other non-profits to profile various groups of vulnerable people in society with refuge.
However, not all those in the hospitality sector have the ability to flex their core business services in this way.
The Year Ahead in Hospitality
The World Travel and Tourism Council have announced this week that they estimate 50 million jobs worldwide have already or will be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Hotels and restaurants have closed their doors to the public, and staffing levels are at the bare minimum. The truth is, regardless of what models or assumptions are being used; nobody truly knows the impact, or when things are going to start to return back to normal.
Most of the estimates right now are indicating it could be anything between 10 months and a year before things in the hospitality sector is going to start returning back to normality. One thing that is certain, is that the industry is facing a huge challenge. However, just like hotels and other businesses in this sector have overcome things in the past, they will overcome Coronavirus.
Taking the right steps to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and position themselves in the best way before the return to business is fundamentally the only steps that companies within the hospitality sector can take to help bounce back from the pandemic.
Overcoming the Coronavirus Crisis – The Hospitality Perspective
The ability to travel, the freedom to travel, and the safety of travel will all play their part in the emergence of the hospitality sector’s recovery process. One thing that businesses need to remember right now as they plan how to overcome the pandemic is that many will have already overcome different crises in the past, whether that be Ebola, SARS, BSE, Terrorism, Natural Disasters, etc.
Once the impact of the Coronavirus starts to reduce and demand increases, it is important that hotels and other travel-driven sectors work proactively to manage rates and availability in order to maximise their revenues. It goes without saying that the general public will be looking for discounts. Indeed, many will not have been earning a full wage themselves for anything between 6-12 months. However, those hotels that extend discounts are the new norm might find it harder to recover and stay afloat.
How The Hospitality Sector Can Help Itself to Bounce Back after COVID-19
In the UK and throughout Europe, there are many government-backed schemes being hurried into place, in order to help businesses survive the crisis. However, as anybody in business will tell you, it isn’t just about the present, but looking ahead to the future, and putting the work in now to make sure it cannot just survive but thrive once the pandemic is over.
Here are some of the areas that businesses in the hospitality sector can focus on, in order to give them the best chance of success.
#1 Management of Revenue and Strategy
Regardless of whether the business had an effective crisis management or disaster recovery plan in place before the pandemic, there needs to be an effective recovery strategy in place for the business to be able to bounce back. Even if the plan needs to change or be adapted in the future, it’s essential to focus on the development of a strategy that will work.
While it might not be clear when the lockdown measures will be lifted, they are going to be lifted at some point. By considering buyer behaviour, and taking a view that after people have been self-isolating in their homes for any period of time, they are going to want to get out, travel, and make the most of their freedom. As such it’s easy to understand why preparing your marketing with this buyer’s mindset at the forefront of your plans is key.
If an organisation neglects to communicate with key customers, distribution partners, or their client-base as a whole, this could impact the perception of the brand. For this reason, sales teams or managers need to try and maintain good communication channels, with a focus on their wellbeing but also to make sure that there is a good dialogue around policy updates and changes Etc.
#4 Events and Meetings
If you consider the volume of meetings and events that have needed to be postponed or cancelled as a result of the pandemic, imagine the influx of enquiries that will be fuelled by the demand to rebook and reschedule these events. Going back to point #3, communications with customers is key to ensuring any organisation remains at the forefront of their minds.
Staffing levels will need to be restored, and if a business has furloughed employees, there needs to be a clear plan of how and when things can start to return to normal. Employees will expect communications around this even if they are in furlough. After COVID-19, travellers are still going to be focused on healthy environments. As a result, all businesses in the hospitality sector are going to have to keep up with expectations, including guest room hand sanitisers, display of indoor air quality, fresh-air systems, common areas cleanliness standards, high-quality bedding, organic food supplies, transportation vehicles that are always clean and disinfected condition, and much more. Making improvements here could boost client satisfaction, ratings, and quality standards all of which are going to be essential in overcoming the COVID-19 crisis.
#6 Food and Drink
We’ve already mentioned that lots of restaurants and some hotels have been able to stay operational because they have adapted their business model or services to suit the current climate. For instance, by keeping the kitchen operational and instead of offering meals on their physical premise, (which they are no longer permitted to do), they are still cooking and serving up meals by offering collection or delivery within the local community. Hotels and restaurants may also be able to expand their services to cover those typically offered by catering companies to the B2B sector. However with the right reputation, facilities, staff, and supply chains this transition can be both comfortable and achievable for the required adaption.
Nobody, not even the largest global data analysis companies really know when things can return back to normal, and it’s completely out of our control.
The key to bouncing back from COVID-19 will lay within the innovativeness of the organisation and its ability to diversify and adapt to the changing markets. Having a clear strategy in place, thinking ahead and making plans that match the mindset of the organizations chosen demographic is going to make a huge difference to the business as it enters the recovery phase.
Why not check out some of our other articles on the hospitality industry and should you run a hospitality business in need of staff why not head over to our website, www.hungryjobs.com and see how we can help you and your business.