World Panel
Viewpoint 4 March 2020

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

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Martin R. Smura
Chief Executive Officer of the Kempinski Group

First of all, the health and the safety of our guests and employees is our utmost priority. Health shall come first and we are taking all the necessary measures in our hotels to ensure a healthy and safe environment. We follow the strict guidance and recommendations of international, national and local public health authorities, including the World Health Organization, and implement precautionary measures, including the increased hygiene measures, as they apply.

Luxury hospitality relies very much on human interaction. When such an unpredictable international health crisis strikes, it forces any company to go even further in this respect and behave as a human organisation, stand by its people and guests, and act with empathy. This is what makes a difference. On this, I have to acknowledge our employees who are doing an incredible job to operate our hotels and maintain a high level of luxury service to our guests as well as supporting our colleagues despite very challenging circumstances.

While we are facing several cancellations – and we have adapted our cancellation policies in this respect - we are staying connected with our local markets, and are reaching our customers and business partners regularly to check how we can serve and support them the best way possible. Again, human interactions prevail.

This is a very fast-evolving situation with a little outlook on how the situation will evolve in the coming weeks. Flexibility and agility are critical. Crisis, be it economic, social, environmental or health, are to become the “new norm”, and we shall adapt our business model and practices to this new paradigm. 

Overall, it is paramount to not go into a panic mode, but rather see beyond the current challenges and start already getting ready for the recovery phase.

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