The hospitality sector was hit hard by government measures to limit coronavirus. Arguably, it’s been more negatively impacted than any other industry. Flying bans, travel restrictions and the forced closure of restaurants and bars have come together to throw the continued existence of many hotels into question.
But there is a glimmer of hope. As lockdowns around the world come to an end and things return to a semblance of normality, hotels are preparing to reopen. They can look forward to large, expectant markets that are eager to start travelling again.
Hotels with a rigorous strategy will be in the best position to make up for the losses and difficulties of the past few months. In this post, we’re going to look at nine ways that you can prepare for the challenges (and opportunities) that lie ahead.
1. Ensure Full Compliance With Safety Regulations
The first step for hotels, before thinking about marketing, diversification, remote working, or anything else, is to take care of logistics. Failure to adhere to COVID-19 safety regulations could havemany negative consequences, including breaking the law.
Put measures in place to ensure appropriate social distancing and hygiene can be maintained. Stock up on protective equipment for staff, like face masks and hand gel. It is essential that both employees and clients feel confident that they’re in a safe environment.
2. Revitalise Your Marketing Strategy
Going forward, attracting clients will require a change of marketing direction. Customers have new concerns, whether related to safety, hygiene, flight restrictions or a myriad of other issues, and it’s imperative that you provide the relevant information in your marketing materials.
Don’t leave any corner unturned when it comes to your marketing strategy. Small jobs, like changing your opening times on Google and updating your website with coronavirus-related information, are equally as important as bigger-picture tasks.
3. Create Contingencies for Supply Chains
The hospitality industry relies on a diverse network of global supply chains, many of which have been affected by coronavirus. In fact, 75% of companies say that their supply chains have been disrupted.
What’s more, some supply chains which have remained relatively intact up until now will likely experience problems in the future.
That’s why it’s essential for hotels to create contingency plans if they want to maintain a high level of service. Numerous options are available, including suppliers from other countries (especially outside of China), local replacements and alternative delivery companies.
4. Embrace Remote Working
Remote working can have a number of benefits for hotels. Among other things, it can limit staff costs, shield vulnerable staff and enhance on-premises social distancing and safety measures.
Hotels are in a slightly unusual position when it comes to remote working. Because they’ve tended to put staff on furlough or paid leave, they might not have the necessary infrastructure in place to enable employees to work from home.
If this is true of your situation, now is the time to invest in technologies like online project management software, time tracking, video conferencing apps and so on.
5. Focus on the Most Active Segments of Your Market
Going forward, hotels should focus on the most profitable segments of their markets. Millennials, for example, are more eager to start travelling than older groups that are more vulnerable. And the number of people planning holidays in their native countries (rather than going abroad) is expected to grow substantially.
This strategy will enable companies in the hospitality sector to achieve the best possible return-on-investment at a time when revenues are sorely needed. Equally, understanding that targeting previously profitable markets might be untenable in the short-term will limit wasted resources.
6. Don’t Waste Periods of Downtime
Although the hotel industry is starting to pick up again across Europe and the rest of the world, things are likely to be relatively quiet for the immediate future. But this needn’t be a reason for inactivity.
Instead, hotels can focus on maintenance and upkeep tasks which have been sidelined. Doing so will ensure that employees and resources aren’t tied up when business improves. Furthermore, coronavirus has prompted many suppliers and maintenance companies to offer discounts, providing an excellent opportunity for hotels to save money.
7. Diversify Your Services
It won’t be possible to offer exactly the same package of benefits to guests once various safety guidelines have been implemented. Services like restaurants, spa treatments, organized activities and so on will likely have to be put on hold for a period.
That’s why it’s important for hotels to diversify their value proposition. That said, in many cases it will be possible to overcome obstacles to providing certain services, such as by delivering meals to rooms, running activities with social distancing and adhering to a capacity policies in communal areas like swimming pools.
8. Keep on Top of Government Relief Packages
Most governments in Europe have already provided businesses with a range of loans and relief funds to support them through lockdown measures and beyond. Often, legislation has been introduced to prevent landlords and banks from evicting business tenants or seizing assets.
Make sure that you stay up-to-date with any new relief options and take full advantage of them when they become available. Ideally, you should gather information about government initiatives as part of a regular weekly or monthly review.
9. Perform Regular Reviews
Regularly reviewing your coronavirus strategy will ensure that your approach evolves with changing circumstances. Unforeseen obstacles and challenges will almost certainly arise, and hotels that are able to adapt quickly have a much better chance of overcoming them.
Conduct performance reviews on a monthly or even weekly basis, determining what has worked and modifying your plans to deal with new issues.
Thinking About Pursuing a Career in Hospitality?
The hospitality and tourism industry is one of the fastest-growing in the world. Companies require skilled, innovative business leaders that can deal with change, reach new markets, ensure quality-of-service and more.