Predictions are that post Covid-19, the hospitality industry will see a fast recovery as people yearn to connect and socialise after, potentially months and months, of enforced isolation. It is also said that this recovery will most likely come from the domestic tourist first, rather than the international jetsetter, as countries try to drive economic growth without loosening border controls to the outside world.
We also assume that things will have changed in a post Corona virus world (how can the world ever be the same, at least in the short to medium term without a cure and fully vaccinated world population), but how will things change?
Will this brave new world be the same as the one we left or will it drive change and transformation? Will we be ‘reheating cold coffee,’ rehashed and used again or will we see innovation and new paradigms changing our industry?
Everyone and their dog seems to have an opinion on this, with zillions of articles on the internet, so to follow is my take on the immediate future of hospitality.
As soon as is practicable, survivors will be out in force trying to get business up and running as rapidly as possible. Good Sales & Marketing Directors are going to be a highly prized commodity and the inventive and skilled Digital Marketing Director is going to be worth his(her) weight in gold. After months of spending time in lock down there are going to be many companies who are suddenly converts to the online ecosystem and every good hotel company will make use of that development.
Digital communication will be raised to another level as a result of this period of isolation and many will finally learn how to communicate through this beautiful, yet sometimes abused new technology.
A good and easy to navigate website where potential clients can develop an appetite for everything you and your region offers will be more essential than ever, both now, so people can enjoy what they are missing in lockdown, and afterwards as all sectors and demographics embrace the new online world.
Making people feel-good by looking at your resorts with beautiful beaches, white sand and no-one around will be important. Enticing them to your fancy hotels or hipster restaurant by engaging them through your social media channels, essential. It is good for the soul to indulge in a little dreaming and long-term planning. What is better than planning a holiday or a trip to a place that offers to fulfill your desires and aspirations?
I worked in the hotel industry in the days when most food and beverage business was generated from the local market, rather than in-house guests, especially in the Middle East and Asia.
It may be vital that this is repeated with the hotel cashflow being kickstarted from this lucrative, and nowadays, underutilised segment. All it needs is a General Manager with vision, a creative Food & Beverage Manager and a Chef that is looking forward to returning to his kitchen and delivering the best in good, solid, (well marketed) quality food.
Once the F&B revenue gets going, it is time to market your rooms to the locals. Weekend or weekday stays promoted to the local or regional market to support the slow return of those corporates who have now got used to using Zoom or Webex. Working with local partners to give them a reason to stay will be more important than ever.
In this current downturn, using your time to bring all your social channels up to standard and ready to launch when socialising and travelling is free and easy again, will be all-important. Imagine the joy when you can actually talk to someone in person rather than on House Party, WhatsApp or Skype.
Throughout my career and working life I have always been blessed with a positive attitude and it has always helped to keep me going, looking forward, not back. History is past and we can learn from it, but we have to live for the future and that is what this time is all about.
Can I recommend passing on this positive message to your staff and get the ball rolling for what happens after all this mess is past and we can live the life we are used to again.
I think that this entire chapter could be compared to a computer breakdown. The software, (humans) had a virus, the virus got fixed (soon, we hope) we lost some information, but the hardware is still working and the repaired or newly installed software will get things back to normal. All we need now is the right time to reboot and go forward.
Times like this are challenging and will always sort the good from the mediocre, but our industry hasn’t really changed. What has changed is the way we approach the future and the term ‘prevention is better than cure’ is very much going to be on everyone’s mind going forward…
About the author
Karl 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