3 Major Impacts of Covid-19 on Hospitality Industry Post Pandemic
Updated: Feb 20, 2021
India’s hospitality infrastructure in terms of accommodation capacity has come under sharp focus during this pandemic downturn phase. The industry by a quirk of fate has come on to the centre stage of nationwide debate following the severity of the impact leading to gaining the worst affected industry status.
Perhaps this is an opportune moment to introspect and collectively urge the government to take the leap of faith in prioritizing travel, tourism, and hospitality as an infrastructure sector.
This article focuses on the impact of Covid-19 and the possible recovery roll-out of the Indian hotel Industry. The branded, chain and some luxury standalone hotels constitute 1.4 lakhs rooms which is only 5% of total rooms available. The rest 95% are Bed & Breakfast, Guest Houses and unbranded budget hotels. The hotel industry faces a loss of Rs. 620 crores (Business Line).
Safety as the New Luxury
The number one consideration post Covid-19 will be on health and safety which translates into hygiene and sanitation issues of the hotel. The key is to provide physical evidence of the hotel’s concern for health and safety.
This time, the checks and screening will have to be erected for health purposes. The security will check for fever with a remote thermometer, shower a light sanitizer mist, keep hand sanitizers at the reception, elevator lobbies and guest rooms. Ensure the circulation of fresh air in guest rooms and display indoor air quality. The guest room will have a sign mentioning “This room has been sanitized for your health and safety”.
All staff should continue to wear surgical gloves and masks to give confidence to the guests.
Self-service as far as possible should be encouraged to reduce human contact.
Liquidity Management Strategy
The second great consideration is liquidity for working capital. The Federation Of Associations in Indian Tourism Industry has already approached the PM for certain considerations to be given to the hospitality industry.
Support for the payment of salaries to employees for a year.
Twelve months moratorium on EMI’s, Bank Guarantees, Taxes, PF, ESI, etc.,
Concession in paying water and electricity charges.
Interest free loan for working capital.
Better payment plans post pandemic for repayment of loans.
The third consideration is to move more towards AI and other technology. Covid -19 has hastened the need to use technology to allow least contact with humans.
Self-check-in with codes given on the guest’s mobile to open assigned guest rooms.
Guest mobile apps should be able to connect to all buttons and switches in the room to avoid using fingers for touch. It would include controlling the room temperature, switching on lights, controlling the temperature of the shower, remote for the television etc.
Digital payments of bills and food and beverage at kiosks which will give out receipts much like the ATMs.
In short, the hospitality industry needs to switch into a higher gear when it comes to personalization, monetization and technological advancements and start asking itself what can be done to take their services to the next level, otherwise it might be too late!