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Permanent Pandemic Changes

Hoteliers Need To Move Forward By Accepting Some Of New COVID Rules

By Larry and Adam Mogelonsky | January 25, 2022

We aren’t fortune tellers and can’t say whether or not Omicron is the last spat of this now-years-long ordeal. What we can say is that many travel trends have been permanently altered, or at least accelerated, where even as COVID-19 fades in severity these aspects will remain.

First off, while it may not be the ideal situation, we have to accept that COVID-19 will continue to disrupt our normal activities in a variety of ways and that we must plan for unexpected. Also, consider that many travelers are gradually becoming numb to the incessant reporting on the matter, as well as are becoming more confident with the continued ramp-up of vaccine and booster numbers.

Travel will return; it’s just annoying to have to wait and constantly be putting out fires along the way. What can you do, though, to adjust to these ‘permanent’ trends?

Accepting that the virus is here to stay means that safety will be top of mind for many guests and that you must do your best to assuage concerns while still doing so in as automated a way as possible. This can include, but is not limited to:

  • Clear website and prearrival email safety communications;
  • All manner of ‘cleanliness theater’ to show that you are taking this seriously;
  • Contactless check-in and check-out as well as mobile keys, concierge and ordering systems;
  • Air purification systems (and mentioning these as they are often out of sight);
  • Hand-washing stations and phone cleaning stations;
  • Entrance temperature (or vaccination) status checkpoints;
  • Encouraging guests to compliment your efforts for third-party reviews.

This is perhaps an obvious first step. Next consider what you can do to better accommodate some of the other shifts from the pandemic that we’re seeing in the workplace—ones that were heretofore thought to be temporary but are likely permanent.

Think remote work opportunities for managers as well as better incentives for frontline staff (where the prospect of possible exposure and constantly wearing PPE has driven many away from the industry). Think permanently leaner teams, as well as appealing to hybrid travel, digital nomadism and extended stays. What are you doing to fight the rise of short-term rentals?

Every hotelier wants it to be 2019 again, but as two of the greatest songwriters of all time once said, “You can’t always get what you want.” COVID-19 is here to stay and hopefully so is your hotel; find a way to make it work. As we’ve seen from each asset management consulting assignment we undertake, every hotel has its own challenges, so no single solution exists for all hotels.

 

Credit
Larry and Adam Mogelonsky

Together, Adam and Larry Mogelonsky represent the world’s most published writing teams in hospitality, with over a decade’s worth of material online. As the partners of Hotel Mogel Consulting Ltd. a Toronto-based consulting practice, Larry focuses on hotel strategies and operations while Adam specializes in wellness planning, technology and marketing. Their experience encompasses properties worldwide, with a primary focus on luxury independent properties. Their work includes seven books “Are You an Ostrich or a Llama?” (2012), “Llamas Rule” (2013), “Hotel Llama” (2015), “The Llama is Inn” (2017), “The Hotel Mogel” (2018), “More Hotel Mogel” (2020), and “In Vino Veritas” (2022). You can reach them at adam@hotelmogel.com to discuss how they can help with business challenges.


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