With travel banned in almost all countries in the world, the global hospitality industry took a huge hit. Hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts that used to be full now have empty beds. They have reduced their workforce. The impact on the industry has caused more than $900 billion worldwide, according to the latest figures. In the U.S., about 8.3 million Americans are employed by hotels, and 85% of those are paid hourly. The majority of these hotels have to cut down on working hours. Since the lockdown, hospitality employees in the U.S. has lost $2.3 billion of income each week.
The pandemic that has affected the hospitality industry will also affect hospitality supplies. The whole supply chain is in limbo. Many hotels and bed and breakfasts will suffer during the second wave of the pandemic. Until travel restrictions are lifted, the industry will not get back on its feet. And even after the travel lockdown, will tourists ever feel safe enough to stay at a hotel?
While hotels are effectively shut down, the management should make it a point to maximize their time in re-training their employees. They can cross-train people in different jobs. They must make sure that they can handle new tasks once the new normal is set in place. While doing that, they can also use this time to deep-clean their establishments to make it compliant with new hygiene guidelines that will be enacted once the lockdown is over.
Lean on Technology
In the last few years, the hospitality industry has been leaning further on technology. The use of mobile apps has made it possible for businesses to communicate and engage with their customers. They have also invested in the implementation of the Internet of things (IoT) in their guestrooms. They have also created software that streamlines the management of hotel employees.
If hotels are to survive this pandemic, they need to depend on these technologies even more. They should find a way to use their employees in every aspect of hotel management. They should create tools that will help in staffing, calculating hours, checking in and out the hotel guests, and sanitizing frequented areas.
Change in Customer Experience
This pandemic has effectively put in limbo the “culture of sharing.” In hotels and restaurants, measures to prevent cross-contamination through food and packaging must be enforced. This means that restaurateurs must redesign their menus from a sharing size to single portions. If this is not possible, guests should have personal serving spoons whenever they check in. There also needs to be a plan for the contactless delivery of services in the guestrooms.
Customers are also going to be very attentive to the hygiene and sanitation procedures in these establishments. Hotels need to let their guests know what steps and measures they are taking to promote hygiene among their employees. The guests’ safety should be paramount to all establishments.
Right now, the hospitality industry must begin adjusting to a new norm. With well-researched measures, the industry can survive the economic impact of the pandemic. Innovative technological solutions will bring forth a new world order where technology takes precedence over personal services.