World Panel
Viewpoint 4 March 2020

What is your take on the coronavirus and its impact on our industry?

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— 22 experts shared their view

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Marco Correiasupplier view
Partner & Co-Founder, T-Hotel Hospitality Knowledge

The COVID-19's impact on the hospitality sector will vary from very to extremely negative depending on the evolution of the epidemy through the northern hemisphere summer. First signs are profoundly concerning. Mass hysteria fueled by traditional and social media, large scale events (e.g., Geneva Autoshow and ITB Berlin) being canceled, a wave of cancellations in all segments even in countries with little to no record of COVID-19 cases. Large hotel groups are already revising their 2020 outlook negatively and, as in previous global crises, I won't be surprised that a freeze in investment and severe staff reduction will follow.

For hospitality technology, the impact will also be harmful in the short term; however, this unforeseen event brings opportunities. I see two as the most relevant:

For the first time, a global crisis encounters a mature and widespread ecosystem of computing power that fuels Big Data repositories and AI factories in our industry. I firmly believe that the revenue management system companies will not lose this opportunity to understand adverse and extreme fluctuations in demand, and the RMS will evolve to a new level of sophistication.

For years we have been speaking, developing and pushing for frictionless experiences that reduce human interaction and use technology instead. The push back has mainly come from the traditional hoteliers that fear to lose the human touch that has always been a vital component of the hospitality business. However, it highly likely that customers in the aftermath of this pandemic outbreak will welcome and prefer to check-in online, receive mobile keys on their phones and avoid all non-essential proximity and contact with hotel staff. Time will tell.

Last but not least, I quote the Monty Python's “Always look on the bright side of life”. “ If life seems jolly rotten. There's something you've forgotten..” What we risk to forget at this moment is that traveling is part of human nature and one of the most desired foods for our souls. One day the virus will go away and travel will return, strong, if not stronger, as before.

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