Is COVID-19 the big equalizer or simply a time to reset and start from zero?

In times like this it is good to sit back and take stock. Perhaps take the opportunity to reset the way we think and live, realise our vulnerability and ponder our mortality.

What started as just another virus outbreak has literally brought the world to a standstill and our beloved hospitality industry to its knees.

What has happened over the past two months has only served to highlight how exposed the hospitality industry is to what looked like a simple virus – another flu-like outbreak that could be ignored and pushed aside as trivial. How little did we know…

Today, the world is vastly different place to what we remember as recently as Christmas time. Most countries and their citizens are in a lock-down condition to contain the spread of the lethal virus and severe limitations have been placed on the free movement of people both locally and globally. Those basic freedoms we were so used to, gone.

Today, fear rules our life. Social distancing, frequent hand-washing, no hugs or handshakes – gone… When will normality be restored and life is brought back to an order we understand and have control over? Who knows…

Of course, many hospitality veterans or senior executives have seen something similar before (although not as severe) and the industry always bounced back. Airline strikes or collapses, military coups, economic depressions, SARS, MERS and the industry came back stronger than expected, but the current situation is clearly unprecedented (everyone’s word of the year).

People will always want to travel, eat out and have fun – nothing will really stop that, but these times are currently different. The younger generation is unlikely to remember what actually happened and how severe the situation was in a couple of months. It will be back to normal and to the fun times, maybe… Humans are resilient and bounce back at remarkable speed, but they will most likely be paying for it in their taxes for at least a generation.

In the hospitality industry, the impact has been rapid and severe. Business virtually came to a halt overnight and many businesses had little option other than to lay off staff and close up shop with immediate and devastating effect.

This does however give us plenty of time to rethink the way we do business and an unprecedented opportunity (there’s that word again) to restart the process once some sort of new normal returns. In the past, it is in times like this that we become innovative, open to new ideas and business practices we might not have considered previously.

While the fallout in its full extend from COVID-19 in our industry has yet to be seen for many months, is this the beginning of a clean out or just a readjustment of the market? The big equalizer or reason to start from zero?

We can only hope that the industry and our clients will appreciate the work we have done in the past and will continue to support the industry in the future when all this nightmarish situation can be filed, and a new chapter started.

And while in contemplation during this period, when many people are in isolation or sick, I have come across an Indian Proverb that sums up the situation perfectly!

“A healthy person has many wishes, but the sick person has only one.”

About the author

rsz_karl_faux_ccKarl Faux is a veteran Hotelier and Managing Partner with Elite Search – a leading hospitality recruitment firm.
For more information about Karl and Elite Search visit http://www.elitesearch.com.au and The Elite Hotelier http://www.elitehotelier.net

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