Hospitality is Here to Stay – Opinions from Around the World
Returning to normalcy.
That’s what everyone is waiting for. The question is when and how, rather than if. Will it be a new a normal or the one we’re all used to?
We sat down last week with Mircea Drăghici, Managing Director at EST Hospitality Consulting to talk about his vision of the industry’s path moving forward.
Taking pride in academic research, and knowing that external sources are just as valuable as internal ones, we found that other professionals across the industry share the same opinions and optimism with our experts.
Hilton CEO, Christopher Nassetta is confident the hotel industry will recover but he also acknowledges that it will take time as society adapts to lingering social distancing recommendations by governments and hotels spend more money to keep their buildings free of contamination.
At the moment, the hospitality industry needs more government financial help, but the Hilton CEO is positive that they will recover because we can “start to see early signs of that already”.
Hilton hotels around the world are working with governments to include their franchisees (small business owners that own and/or operate the chain’s hotels) in financial aid acts.
Adam Deflorian, is the founder and CEO of AZDS Interactive Group and member of the Forbes Council. He states that “upon pandemic recovery, travel demand will likely be higher than ever” and gave 5 reasons to support his opinion.
- Travel demand will likely be higher than ever because of people looking to get out of lock-down and to feel freedom and joy.
- More hotels will embrace digital, which will be a mainstay of their strategies going forward.
- Hoteliers have learned from past mistakes by maintaining rates (as opposed to the 2007-2009 financial crisis period when they lowered them after which they slowly had to build them back up) and by not cutting off sales & marketing staff which is essential even during this time.
- Local travel means survival. Promoting their local destinations, hotels have a lot to gain, due to long distance travel being deemed unsafe.
- Travel demand is rising in China. Other countries being a few months behind in terms of virus spread, it can be logically surmised that we can expect an increase in travel demand across the world as soon as other countries reach the phases China has reached.
Hospitality is a huge industry (1 of 25 US jobs) in constant need of professionals but it is also community focused.
It is a mainstay due to travel needs no matter the reason and a catalyst for local economies, with every $1 spent on lodging returning $4 to local businesses adjacent to the hotel.
Chip Rogers, AHLA (American Hotel Lodging Association) president and CEO said. “As an industry of people taking care of people, the hotel industry is uniquely positioned to support our communities by caring for the first responders who are on the front-lines of this public health crisis”.
Such initiatives have been taken in a lot of countries, including Romania. Several hotels have offered their rooms in cooperation with the government and local authorities for medical staff in need of lodging.
The most known example is that of entrepreneur Stefan Mandachi, who offered his hotel rooms for the “front-line” workers, meaning medical staff and local authority forces that have direct contact with the virus and in need of lodging due to aid deployments in cities more affected by the pandemic or in need of isolation space to not infect their loved ones.
Despite New York being the hardest hit state in the U.S.A., American news channel CBS New York informed that optimism reigns in New York’s hotel industry as some hotels have started booking rooms starting from July.
“Many hotels are now taking reservations for July and Governor Andrew Cuomo is beginning to look at how people are going to eventually return to work.”
Time will certainly tell whether these insights are well founded, however we know that we must trust the specialists in their respective domains, and that also applies to hospitality. Again, the one thing that seems certain and which we believe in, is that regardless how and what shape, hospitality is here to stay.