HOSPITALITY IMPACTS AND CRITICAL MUST-DO’S FOR OPENING UP AND POST COVID-19!
Peter Greenberg: Internationally renowned travel consultant and Emmy award winning investigative journalist is an author, produces “The Travel Detective Show” and “Eye on Travel” as well as being a regular contributor to CBS and PBS. (Check him out thru the internet.)
Peter provided a great update regarding travel and tourism with his very recent webinar presentation to Skål. Skål International was started in 1934 and is an international hospitality organization to which I belong.
I have focused on the highlights of his talk and categorized each sector. First, the ‘Bad News’ followed by his ‘Good News’ section. He did say a lot more than I can cover in this update.
Mr. Greenberg made this interesting observation:
Everything shut down almost instantly – Everything will reopen carefully and slowly.
People/consumers will come back but with an abundance of fear and caution.
Hotels and Motels
Bad News: The guest wants a guarantee that he or she will be safe. This will mean the likelihood of reduced capacity from the point that rooms will have to be left vacant for a day before the cleaning person goes in.
They will also want reassurances that the staff is healthy to ensure the safety of guests. And like airlines, the loyalty programs will be more heavily promoted to get the guests to return. (Good for the public. Mixed blessing for the hotelier.)
Good News: Room Rates will not be set in the same way they were before COVID-19. People will not buy on price. Rather, they will buy on trust. In other words, guests will be prepared to pay more for the reassurance that the property is SANITIZED and SAFE.
The large flagship hotels have all set up and are promoting new cleaning protocols. Hilton has announced a “Clean Stay” program in partnership with Lysol and the Mayo Clinic. Marriott has initiated the Global Cleanliness Council. Wyndham says “Count on Us”. Choice has “Commitment to Clean”. The other flags will or already have done the same. All hotels are being super careful and super clean!!
This is Critical!
Every hotel owner should have this information on their website and on-line booking agencies.
Perhaps the best news for those of us in rural towns and the prairies? Road travel will pick up, especially within a 300-mile radius of a destination. This is a relatively easy 6-7 hour one day drive.
Family trips or just “Let’s get away for a couple of days” vacations will be popular. And, because these cleaning protocols will be much more trusted with hotels and motels, there will be an uptick in reservations that might have gone to AirBnB. Owners of properties booked through AirBnB and similar rental agencies may not necessarily follow cleaning protocols and will not be generally trusted as much at this time.
Finally, travellers in the US and Canada will vacation within country due to concerns about getting out of the country and then not being allowed back in if showing symptoms of COVID-19.
If returning travelers still face 14 day quarantine requirements, that will also influence international travel restrictions.
Restaurants and Pubs
Bad News: The restructuring of seating will be dramatically changed due to spacing. Greenberg suggests mid-range dining establishments will be severely affected as tables will be significantly spread out.
2x2 / 2x2 / 2x2 seating will be out. Large rectangles for 4 and circular tables for 6 to ensure enough social distancing. Because of this reduced capacity it follows that revenue will be reduced substantially. The cost of meals could rise by as much as 30-40%.
Of special note, Greenburg forecast that restrooms, which are often close to the kitchen, will no longer be allowed to be there. He suggests bathrooms will be near the entry enabling guests to wash their hands upon entering the restaurants. Buffets will be out!
Good News: Many people, particularly millennials, love to dine out and gather for wine and cheese, beer tasting, tapas and similar events. They enjoy various drinks while in social settings watching sports on TV, live music entertainment or just to visit.
Peter suggests guests will come back in droves and fast food outlets and the high-end dining establishments will survive and move forward.
However, marketing has to change from the kinds of promotions that the industry was known for. Creative content will focus on “discover how sanitized we are” messaging to the public.
Overall the focus will be on, “What are you doing to keep my friends, loved ones and me safe?”
Bad News: Travel is down 95%. Thousands of planes are parked and many won’t be brought back into service.
A number of LCC’s (low cost carriers) may well go out of business. The greatest concern of travellers is knowing whether they may have problems getting home.
Good News: To bring consumers back, the airlines will actively open up their frequent flyer loyalty programs. In recent years they have upped the number of miles for points redemption because their planes were operating near full capacity (98%).
Because of customer anxiety, lowering the qualifying points to fly will lure passengers into the air again. Greenburg noted there are 23 Trillion unredeemed air miles in their various forms.
Flights will be cheap. A recent flight from Fort Lauderdale – LA return flight? $38 bucks with only 8 people onboard!
Wrapping it Up
- Travel Insurance will undergo a major clarification. Apparently quite a few “cancellation” insurance policies did not cover pandemics. It was in the fine print on page 5! Who reads that?
- The public will demand much more clarity and transparency.
- Deposit money in escrow. Booking agencies and/or airline and/or cruise lines will not be allowed to require deposits that they can spend until they deliver the service. Our travel money will be much more secure.
Under the heading, Tim’s Hotel-Motel News Bits on my website, I provide these Blog News Pieces on a periodic basis to provide relevant, useful and interesting information to the Hotel-Motel Hospitality industry.
Tim Anderson – Hotel and Motel Specialist & Hotel Co-Owner
Licensed Real Estate Associate – Royal LePage Commercial
403-862-4179 Email: email@example.com
Posted by Tim Anderson
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