by Siyabulela Kosani
The COVID-19 pandemic took the world by storm, its effects changed the travel ecosystem hub forever, taking millions of lives and livelihoods. One of the hardest hit industries that will still take years to recover post-pandemic is the hotel industry. The hospitality industry took a hard hit, as decisions had to be made to shut down hotels, restaurants, theme parks, cinemas, not to mention the entire disruptive effect and impact on worldwide tourism. While some hotels shut down during covid, some hotels worked with certain hospitals and the government and made their venues available for hospital beds and hospital employees. Hotels are still struggling to keep their doors open and are unable to rehire all their staff, let alone their mortgage payments due to the historic drop in travel demand.
Covid-19 created challenges that impact almost every part of a hotel’s operations. The travel restrictions and regional lockdowns caused a huge impact in the decline of revenue, as a result of massive hotel reservations & flight cancellations, tours, events, room occupancy levels, employment, the food and beverage industry and overall cash flow management.
According to (Dogra, Sukrit. ) “The hospitality industry accounts for 10% of the global GDP. All businesses, regardless of size, are facing serious challenges, especially those in the aviation, tourism and hospitality industries, with a real threat of significant declines in revenue, insolvencies and job losses in specific sectors. Sustaining business operations will be particularly difficult for small and medium enterprises.” With these immense challenges the hotel industry faces, hotels must adapt and enforce survival strategies against Covid.
Hotel managers can look into exploring the C.O.V.I.D: Cost-cutting, Orderliness, Virtualization, Integration and Domestication survival strategies. (Mensah, Ishmael).
Managers can train their staff to multitask, because of reduced workload in all departments due to the low occupancy levels as other ways of implementing cost-cutting measures to help reduce costs. Hotels can also ensure orderliness by demonstrating a strong commitment to providing services under strict hygienic standards in order to reassure customer confidence. Hotels can hire qualified digital marketers to make sure they are virtually active on all their social media outlets to still engage with their customers with regular updates and the use of IA as means of temperature checking and the use of robots to sanitize and disinfect guestrooms and other public areas to help avoid the spread of the virus amongst human contact.
Hotels should integrate with each other and embark on common programmes by working with other stakeholders to develop recovery strategies for their industry.
With the airports and borders being closed due to the pandemic, the tourism inbound market was affected immensely. Hotels have to restructure, especially luxury and upscale hotels and resorts that traditionally cater for the inbound market, by redirecting their marketing strategies towards the domestic market. They could implement this by creating discounted packages and repackage their products.
Covid-19 took a lot of what was once considered normal to us, we can choose to use this time to re-evaluate the hotel industry business model as a whole, train and up skill employees and try to develop new products to become more flexible and look for new opportunities such as enrolling their marketing team with International Institute of Digital Marketing™ to assist them by enhancing their skills, becoming licensed digital marketing experts in their field and learn the basics for Key Social Platforms for Digital Marketing, through online digital training courses and helping to build their hotel’s brands through exposure on multiple platforms. The opportunities to grow and expand your brand awareness are endless with digital marketing and the hotel industry need to invest in that in order to remain relatable in today’s ever evolving competitive market.
Deloitte. “Hospitality Impact of COVID19.” https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/nl/Documents/consumer-business/deloitte-nl-consumer-hospitality-covid-19.pdf.