Industry Update
External Article20 October 2021

Hotels Ponder a Puzzling Future

Across the industry, the pandemic forced changes that may have to become permanent if the industry is to fully rebound.

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nytimes.com external

As travel picks up amid signs the pandemic is waning, the hotel industry hopes its fortunes will rise too. But so far, it’s not clear when that moment will arrive — or whether some of the changes they have had to make will become permanent.

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Hotels have struggled with labor shortages, for example, that have forced some to close completely and others to scale back services — like daily cleaning of guest rooms and restaurant hours.

Given the uncertainty about whether those workers will ever return, one industry expert predicts robots will take over some of the tasks once done by workers who have found better paying jobs elsewhere.

Hotels are also experimenting with ways to boost revenue — for instance, charging extra for some services, scaling back reward programs and adding amenities to attract longer-term guests free to “work from anywhere.”

The impact of the pandemic on the industry has been uneven at best, with U.S. cities like New York among the hardest hit. One glimmer of hope: the Biden Administration announced it will open U.S. borders in November to vaccinated travelers from certain countries, including Canada and Mexico.

In China, travel has been greatly affected by Covid-related lockdowns, and Africa’s low vaccination rates have depressed international travel there, said Jan Freitag, national director for hospitality market analytics at CoStar Group.

Read the full article at nytimes.com

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