Coronavirus and a Changed Hospitality Industry
The Difference One Year Makes
A little over a year ago, a bustling travel industry ground to a halt almost overnight. Unemployment followed, along with several rounds of stimulus, and many of us were housebound for months at a time. Now, vaccines have been rolled out, infection rates are dropping in some areas, and people are starting to venture out again. What has changed during that time? What have we learned? And how is the hotel industry responding?
A Changed Industry
The hospitality industry has gone through major changes and many of them look to be permanent. All exchanges at front desks are now contactless and this will likely be the new standard. With so much of the business now taking place online, long check-in lines are a thing of the past. Print menus for food and beverages have also moved online and cost will keep them that way. Outdoor dining is now standard, and while that might change as rates continue to fall, most guests find it pretty pleasant anyway.
A New Standard of Clean
What was already a benchmark of a good hotel is now an essential part of public health. Furthermore, with guests becoming more aware of the risk of pathogens as well as disinfection practices, a clean appearance isn’t enough anymore. They expect management to be looking out for their safety with a complete sanitization with effective products. And customers who feel like these steps aren’t being taken will quickly take their business elsewhere.
Administration, Sales, and Marketing
Zoom meetings are now commonplace, replacing in-person (and often inefficient) gatherings, and as a result, everyone has become much more tech-savvy and tech-reliant. Training handbooks and protocols have had to be rewritten and staffs needed to be retrained. Digital marketing has had to become more sophisticated in order to target audiences in various states of lockdown.
What Have We Learned?
The past year has been extremely difficult for all of us. However, it’s also been a chance to learn and lean into our strengths and trim some fat. Rules for travel and operation still vary in different parts of the country. But with the evolving acceptance and usage of vaccines and the declining infection rates, it appears that the worst of it is over and the future is looking bright.