Good news for the hospitality industry: PwC forecasts hotel occupancy rates will be at 55% this year, which is much higher than it was in 2020. Based on the pace of the vaccine rollouts and the easing of government travel restrictions, PwC predicts that it will take around four years before the situation can return to pre-COVID-19 levels.
The outlook may not be ideal, but signs of relief for hotels are beginning to show. We previously discussed the revenue challenges the UK’s hospitality industry continues to face as it struggles with the pandemic. Now, we’ll talk about the measures you can adopt if you’re planning to reopen your hotel this year. This is important for hoteliers to plan correctly their hotel reopening. Here are four tips you should consider:
Tips to consider for hotel reopening
Implement health and safety protocols
Health protocols in hotels should be emphasized to guests, as people will prioritize accommodations that show they are serious about health and safety. Posting information on disinfection and cleaning measures in all your rooms and facilities will reassure travellers who are concerned about their health.
While a study by University College London revealed a decline in the public’s pandemic protocol compliance, that doesn’t mean you should be negligent with your guests and staff. It’s still better to operate at a limited capacity for proper social distancing and ventilation. Reduce points of contact, disinfect all surfaces, and display local health protocols to prevent an outbreak.
Update your communication plan
In these uncertain times, a clear communication strategy is key to maintaining optics and encouraging travellers to choose your hotel. It’s important to be proactive; evaluate potential risks and keep in touch with public health authorities to get the latest updates on rules and regulations. You need to give your guests accurate information that doesn’t sugar coat reality.
According to an editorial from the Boston Hospital Review, ‘compassion, comfort, clarity, and credibility’ are the 4 C’s in your COVID-19 communication toolkit. Highlight these values in all your communication platforms: update your FAQ page, create videos on your health protocol compliance, and ensure guests are well-informed of the precautions you’re taking.
Automate your processes
Automation has been a buzzword across industries, but it’s become increasingly relevant now. As the hospitality industry lost a significant chunk of its labour last year, automation is the best way to make the lives of hoteliers and guests easier.
Indeed, a Verizon Connect report on automation talks about the four key benefits of automating processes: improved efficiency, better organization, deeper insights, and better visibility for managing operations – all of which help to avoid mistakes, missed opportunities, and poor service. Adopt automation for your hotel through mobile check-in and check-outs, contactless payments, and direct chat options for limited contact between guests and staff.
Make your policies flexible
Many competitors are offering promotions, discounts, and family packages right now in a panic. However, the current demand is not related to price; people who are travelling only when they must, will choose a hotel based on factors other than cheap accommodation.
While you should definitely review your rates and lower them, you should also consider your positioning and brand. Offer value-added packages like ‘Free Breakfast’ and promote guest-friendly, flexible cancellation policies. Rather than cancelling, you can encourage travellers to change their dates instead, which will help build customer loyalty.
Perform a Break-Even Analysis
We have covered this topic more in detail on a different article on How to do a hotel Break-even analysis
The best way to help the hotel industry recover is to bounce back with a stronger foundation. Take advantage of your free Catala Consulting revenue management audit today. Together, we can review your business, identify issues or opportunities, and get insights to boost your revenue.
Author: Alana Blake