COVID-19 has affected every sector across the globe, and the hotel industry is among the hardest hit.
Investors are providing similar views of hotel companies’ prospects, as seen in the underperformance of US lodging real estate investment trusts (REITs).
Like so many industries, hospitality will also see both subtle and substantial shifts in the post-pandemic era. Some are already apparent today.
In this article, we will examine a set of recovery scenarios for US hotels, including the differing return and recovery timelines for hotels ranging from luxury to economy segment.
On the consumer side, we will look at what guests say will make them feel safe when traveling, including contactless check-ins and check-outs, and an added emphasis on hygiene.
And we will review the factors affecting the initial return of travel in the domestic business and leisure segments.
COVID-19 is a challenge to both our lives and livelihoods. The crisis is unprecedented and moving quickly, yet still deeply uncertain.
On the hotel front, we analyzed the long-term historical relationship between industry performance and economic data.
There is variation across chain scales (from luxury to economy), but we found the strongest relationship between changes in revenue per available room (RevPAR) and the unemployment rate.
Travel will return. But the recovery will likely take longer than in other industries and will vary across segments.
Business and leisure travel will return at different paces, as will domestic and international travel.
What’s certain is that the next normal will be marked by structural shifts, especially around customer expectations for hygiene and flexibility.
Companies say they plan to turn off their travel restrictions in phases, and are developing decision-making processes and more agile travel policies to account for safety before authorizing travel.
Client-facing visits such as site visits and sales calls are likely to return first.
Day trips and self-drive travel are likely to return earlier since physical-distancing measures, exposure, and risk will be more manageable. Conferences and industry events will likely be the last to return.
In leisure, we expect that travel to visit friends and relatives will return first, likely by car.
While some people who would normally be traveling for pleasure are now staying at home, the same is not true of business travelers.
While some business travel has slowed, there is still the need for corporate travel.
Some might be traveling to work in a new location, while others might need to have a face to face meeting or provide an inspection of a facility.
They need places to stay, and you can market directly to this group.
As mentioned, having a property management system can make a big difference in how you are running your hotel. This was true before the pandemic, and it is even truer now. Let’s look at a few of the major benefits of using QloApps.
One of the first benefits is the ability to connect with many of the biggest and best online travel agent sites in the world. These OTAs have become an important part of the hotel business over the last decade or so. These sites compile information from a wide range of hotels across the world and put the information and the ability to book on an easy-to-use website.
Many people today are using these types of sites when they are booking travel. Being a part of these channels provides another way for people to discover your hotel. Hotelogix has a channel manager, so you can see how well each of those sites is doing for you, and so you can control how you are participating with those sites.
As helpful as those OTAs might be, they are taking a portion of your profits when you work with them.
While you do not want to get rid of those channels, you do want to make it possible to let customers book right through your website.
QloApps has a web booking engine that will integrate with your website to increase the number of direct hotel bookings you are getting. This means that you will be making the full profit.
Web Booking Engine 2.0 helps to improve the booking process for the hotel and for visitors. Some of the top features of the new engine include:
- Improve direct booking ability
- Ability to offer discounts, promo codes, deals, and other add-on services
- Multi-currency support
- Multi-language support
- Visual calendar to check the hotel’s availability
- Multi-room bookings
- Best available rate recommendations
- You can personalize booking consoles for guests, corporate entities, and travel agents to easily manage their accounts
- Better options for upselling and extra services
- Customize reservation and confirmation emails
- Make the booking and cancellation policies clear
- The single-screen platform is responsive and can be integrated easily into the hotel’s website
Your online reputation is always important and now is no different. You want to ensure that you aren’t getting false reviews about your hotel’s issues with the cleanliness of social distancing.
Hotelogix ensures that you have the capability to track, monitor, and stay on top of your online reputation.
You can increase your reviews on online platforms, which will help with your online reputation.
The system will also allow you to analyze your online review data, department performance, and trends through a range of reports.
This information helps you find and fix any problems or weak areas of the hotel. You can read and reply to what your guests are saying regarding your hotel on social media and review sites, as well as through OTAs.
This allows you to know where you stand and get ahead of the curve if there is problems. Best of all, with Hotelogix and Repup, it all happens seamlessly from a single dashboard.
Hotelogix also has an array of revenue management tools. This helps to ensure your hotel can bring in the revenue you need and deserve.
Again, this is important regardless of COVID-19, but when every dollar truly counts, as it does right now, having proper tools is essential.
Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of Hotelogix in today’s world is providing safety for your guests. Many travelers are looking for contactless check-in and check-out services.
QloApps makes it possible for your guests to bypass the front desk. They can check-in remotely and head right to their rooms.
They can choose their room, access the room, and check-out while having minimal contact with other people.
This is a massive advantage, and you can be sure it is something that customers will search for when booking a hotel.
The staff can be trained and certified with ACE for the use of contactless tech in the hotel. The optical character recognition scanner will help when guests are checking into the hotel.
With QloApps, it is possible to provide contactless sales, automate invoicing, process payments in real-time, and process refunds.
All without the need to be in close contact with the guests and without them needing to stand in a line.
Although this year might seem bleak for many hotel operators, it is not the end of the hotel industry.
People still have a need to travel now, and they will travel in larger numbers in the future.
Right now, it’s about getting through a tough time. With the tips above, it will be easier to get through and make it in a post COVID world.
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