Industry Update
Opinion Article 4 May 2020

Staying Ahead Through Change

By Vijay Thacker, Managing Director Horwath HTL India

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The standstill enforced by the COVID-19 pandemic gives hotels the opportunities to move towards changes that will arise when hotels re-open. New learnings must be imbibed and actions purposefully directed.

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We have been Viralled, not Rivalled.

Vijay Thacker, Managing Director Horwath HTL India makes change recommendations - directly targeted for hotels in India, these also apply globally with local variations.

A Catalyst Event

Change is an incessant constant. The COVID-19 pandemics as an event, together with the response of humankind and the aftermath of the event, is undoubtedly a marker for a major change in many aspects of life, of methods of living and working, and of lifestyles.

The hotel sector to needs to incorporate many changes. In this article, I have made some suggestions for changes that have longer-term implications. The short and medium-term changes are many; some of these have also been briefly stated at the end.

Fundamental Cause

Most changes arise from competitive rivalry and the need to get ahead. In the present case, that is not so. Please recognize that we have been "Viralled and not Rivalled".

Our response must, therefore, put aside the damaging aspects of sectoral rivalry as we deal with the recovery from the impact of this viral. What does it mean ineffective reality?

To me, it means that the rate structure for the next 18-24 months should not be a 'Race to the Bottom'. Increasing rates is anti-gravitational and exceedingly painful, as we have seen in India in the last dozen years. Let us please learn a hard lesson from it and not create a rate war. Medium-term demand will not materially price elastic, with people travelling only when they must (for business or leisure or MICE); more so, they will choose their hotels based on factors other than mere price.

Vijay Thacker

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