For many, supply chain issues mean something like the grocery store is out of oat milk, so you’re stuck with soy instead. For hotels — an industry already hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic — supply chain issues are causing even bigger problems.
Vimal Patel knows this all too well. Patel is CEO of QHotels Management, which operates franchises of hotel brands, including some Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn and Best Western properties. Lately, he’s scrambling to find towels, shampoos, notepads and other supplies his hotels run through (and run out of) due to supply chain problems.
“Ever since the pandemic, serving paper products like plates and napkins, as well as food itself, has become a huge problem — and a customer service challenge,” he says. “Guests often don’t understand why a product is unavailable.”
Things got heated at one of his hotels, which advertises 12-ounce cups of coffee.
“We could only find 8-ounce cups, and we couldn’t find any lids,” Patel says. “We had to use a substandard cup, because that’s all we could get. That was deeply upsetting to some customers.”
For weary travelers seeking to caffeinate, lidless coffee might feel like a reason to leave a one-star review, especially for unpracticed travelers who might not be accustomed to the myriad COVID-related travel changes. But here’s why there’s no point in crying over spilled milk.
How supply chain issues affect your hotel stay
Deliveries can take an unpredictably long time
Most of Patel’s properties are franchises of larger brands and require conforming to brand standards. Patel typically orders items from an approved vendor, which previously took about 48 hours to arrive.
“Now, it can take months,” he says. “You’re lucky to get it within three weeks.”