A look back on 2020... Lessons learned
— 12 C-Suite executives shared their view
Everyone agrees that 2020 has been the "annus horribilis" for the world and in particular the hotel industry. However, despite having to tackle unprecedented challenges, many companies grasped that the crisis also presented a unique opportunity to re-invent and re-imagine their business. In the long run, therefore, the pandemic may have some positive consequences as well as negative ones.
In response to the challenges of 2020, what is the single most important change that you implemented that you believe not only helped you get through the past year but that you also expect to maintain as part of your post-pandemic "new normal”?
CEO & Founder of TSH and a Student of Life
At The Student Hotel, we have remained open during the pandemic – albeit with fewer guests and restricted facilities. Because of our hybrid model and the flexibility this gives us, we can change the allocation of our rooms and re-designate hotel rooms to student accommodation. This has left us in a good place as things revert to a new normal. Even though it's been hard to work through lockdowns, our teams have done an amazing job to keep our guests happy, healthy, and safe and have continued to build a feeling of community, of connection, in every location.
We continue to offer a diverse (online) events programme including activities like mental wellbeing workshops, yoga sessions, Drag Queen Bingo nights, and e- learnings. At times, when COVID measures permitted, invites were extended to local neighbours to join in. That's why we still get great reviews from our guests and our NPS scores have been higher than ever.
Before the pandemic we were already focused on building a community vibe in our hotels. What we have taken from the pandemic is that we need to turn up the volume in making our spaces active and buzzy and places where it's just fun to hang out, also for neighbourhood locals. We are a place our community keeps coming back to; students come back as hotel guests, business travellers become co-working members and locals join our community events.
I believe that this community vibe and energy is going to be something that people really want to have and experience while they're travelling. I'd even say the pandemic has solidified us as more of a community platform than a hotel.