How Hotels are Reinventing Post-COVID

Post-COVID Upgrade: How Hotels are Reinventing Themselves to Adapt to the New Normal

 

In a time when almost every industry is affected by the pandemic, businesses are being pushed to pivot and refocus their operations and offers. The hospitality industry, one of the hardest-hit sectors, is being forced to adapt the way they cater to customers, while finding a way to maintain revenue in such uncertain times.

This article will put into perspective the actions hotel chains are taking to reinvent themselves and the butterfly effect it will have on clients.

Renovations to combat the virus

Many hotel businesses have closed their doors, some temporarily and others permanently. However, some are utilizing this time to refurbish and renovate their rooms.

Matt Rubie, General Manager of Australia-based Fraser Hospitality Group, believes that the current low demand for hotel rooms will give them a chance to undertake refurbishments that would normally be disruptive to operations and their guests’ experience.

While some groups are upgrading their spaces, other businesses are using this time to change their layouts in a way that will be suitable for the post-COVID world. Creating rooms with greater spatial layouts and generally restructuring their hotel to put guests’ worries to rest and promote social distancing have become a priority.

Hong Kong-based Marco Polo Prince Hotel, is looking forward to adding a “negative pressure” floor similar to the isolation technique used by hospitals. This will help prevent contamination as they help ensure that the pathogens are contained.

A safer customer experience

When it comes to guest safety, hotels are considering temporarily removing some of the amenities one would expect from a typical stay. The Four Seasons Hotel in New York City is currently serving as a “guinea pig” when it comes to changes in the hospitality sector.

As hotels all over the country test changes that will be the new normal, one drastic measure they have taken is to remove minibars and the breakfast buffet. Room service has also been discontinued, while the restaurants, bars and coffee stations remain closed indefinitely offering pre-made boxed meals instead. While the traditional amenities of the hotel may be put on hold, it is just one of the efforts put in place to reduce touchpoints within the property.

In addition to the changes in customer dining, cleaning protocols have also changed. Limiting in-room housekeeping during a guest’s stay in another way to lessen contact. The Four Seasons also simplified the contents of the room so that germs will be less likely to spread.

Overall, decreasing touchpoints and limiting human interaction is the current priority of hotels. While this may go against the welcoming and accommodating nature of hotels, it is a necessary adjustment for both guest and staff safety.

Catering to a different market

McKinsey & Company’s recent research found that recovery to pre-COVID operation and revenue levels could take until 2023. While hotels continue to change and adapt to help ease worries, the fact remains the hotel industry everyone is used to is still years away.

One possible strategy to consider is to shift or narrow down the target market. Millennials, in particular, are more likely to begin traveling once restrictions are lifted as an article by the New York Post shows.

The fearlessness of the younger generation makes them eager to go back to travel once the threat of COVID-19 ends, especially when it means that they can save on airfares and accommodation prices. Additionally, they are more adept at technology and find no difficulties in taking advantage of a mobile-centered guest experience.

Changing hotel offers is also another way the industry is reinventing itself. Australian-based, Frasers Hospitality Group is looking to explore offering furnished flexible 12-month leases.  In an article by Homelike, a marketplace for apartment rentals, they listed the reasons why furnished apartments will thrive more than hotels during the pandemic. Along with being cheaper, they pointed out that long-term rentals give people access to their own kitchen while lessening constant exposure to larger groups of people.

One hotel company called Domio proves this by thriving during the Coronavirus lockdown. They saw an increase in hotel night stays from four to 11 in their properties, with guests booking an average of 25 nights through the mobile app.

As the Coronavirus count increases day by day, hotel businesses, both new and established, will need to shift from their traditional system if they plan to continue operations. From stricter safety protocols to revising company strategies, the hospitality industry is continually finding opportunities to adapt and upgrade in their own way.

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