The need for product differentiation in hotels is readily clear these days, especially in the light of the COVID crisis which has rewritten the rules on where your customers will be coming from for the remainder of calendar year 2020.
With a vaccine far off, the balance of 2020 and some of 2021 will find us working under a powerful COVID cloud. Marketing is still needed, though, as it's the lifeblood for driving awareness and generating demand.
As the stay-at-home orders subsides and leisure travelers look to rediscover their own backyards, we cannot forget that numerous hotels around the world derive a healthy portion of their topline revenues from groups.
Imagine a quick mathematical scenario. Business drops 50% due to the lockdown earlier this year then you see a recovery of 50% of this number once the pandemic is over. Occupancy is back to normal, right? Not true; it is actually still down 25% from where it was before the drop.
After COVID-19 has subsided, the housekeeping department will be front and center of the new normal hotel experience. Anxious guests will seek out those properties that can give them peace of mind by guaranteeing their safety through heightened cleanliness procedures, and at the same time there may new regulations coming to mandate stricter sanitization protocols.
Getting back into operational shape following the pandemic shutdowns will require many new procedures for most every one of your departments. A chief worry is that it will be too much too fast for your managers and that this will either compromise service delivery or even demoralize team members leading to other problems down the road.
Part of the new normal after the coronavirus has died off will be a great reshuffling of customer behaviors including the reasons for why people choose one property or form of accommodation over another.
The challenges facing hotels in the post-COVID environment are massive. Old planning guidelines are irrelevant. For hotels in the luxury segment, where close contact with guests was almost literally mandated, it will be particularly pressing to find new ways to meet these time-honored standards.