COVID -19 pandemic is the worst crisis that has quaked the world after a long hiatus from World War II. With trillions of dollars wiped away from the global markets in a matter of a few months, the road to recovery seems a difficult task. Nonetheless, the pandemic has encouraged us to create new business models and strategies for sustained development, growth, and expansion of the global economy.
As governments around the globe reinforce social distancing as the new normal for conducting social and business events, the global Hospitality industry worth $570 billion in revenue and with 700,000 hotels and resorts, and 16.4 million hotel rooms is working towards re-opening their outlets post COVID-19. Subsequently, they need a practical and successful strategy for re-launching their full business steam.
Industry experts suggest that now hotels, resorts, and restaurants must deploy new strategies that can adapt to the evolving consumer preference in this virus-stricken environment and win their trust. Hence, the following tactics should be used for a successful relaunch during the pandemic.
Health and safety of the customers and employees are the top priority for businesses today. This translates into maintaining the robust hygiene of commercial property and people. For instance, employees and customers will be checked for optimal body temperature with a remote thermometer, hand sanitizers will be installed at the reception, at the elevator lobbies, and guest rooms for use, the rooms will be sanitized daily. A signboard displaying the same should be hung outside for the customers to feel safe while they stay or dine at a hospitality property.
Hotels must employ multi-skilled employees who can perform multiple services like housekeeping, a bar, or a restaurant/coffee shop, diligently until the operations go full steam with regular staff. The staff must wear masks and surgical gloves to protect themselves as well as impart confidence to the guests. Self-service should be encouraged for minimal human contact.
Hotels and restaurants must maintain work capital liquidity to keep their business afloat. They can do so by;
- using government concessions if offered;
- be able to support employee salaries for a year;
- be able to help power and water bills for a year;
- re-negotiating loans with better payment options;
- avoid giving customer discounts;
- purchasing essentials only for currently occupied rooms;
- closing unoccupied floors to reduce energy consumption and thus control costs
With Covid-19 forcing minimal human contact, the need to digitize businesses has significantly increased. Technology like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Cloud-based applications are fast gaining popularity across any-sized businesses.
With consumers aggressively using digital mediums like ecommerce platforms and engaging on social media, digital transformation is the key to winning new customers, their trust and loyalty in the hospitality sector. Hotels and restaurants that invest in the digitization of their business processes or systems are the winners today.
Whether it’s a new hotel or an established restaurant, businesses must leverage technology to build and strengthen their brand, actively engage with their audience, and improve their sales. Subsequently, they need to take proactive measures, which may include;
- installing applications on their dynamic website that allows guests to make contactless room reservations, self check-ins and check-outs with authentication codes received on the guest’s phone;
- installing Machine Learning Engine to facilitate new reservations, up-sell services, and augment repeated hotel or restaurant reservations;
- installing Big Data Analytics into the existing website of the hotel or their web-based reservation application to gauge customer behavior and offer customized services/products;
- installing Revenue Management Software to predict room occupancy rate and estimated sales revenue target;
- installing self-monitoring gadgets for checking optimal body temperature and appliances for maintaining hygiene
With these remarkable strategies, this ancient customer-centric industry will soon begin to re-generate profits in the pandemic.