Savvy hoteliers are increasing cancellation flexibility though still encouraging rebooking, and they're looking to the future to survive the economic disaster prompted by the coronavirus pandemic. "We are focusing our teams on Q3 and Q4 to make up for as much revenue and profit as we can once this (hopefully) is behind us," Prism Hotels & Resorts' Allison Handy says.
As travelers stay at home due to the coronavirus, hotels both large and small have shuttered or curtailed operations. Individual hotel operators, many of them franchisees, are at risk because they hold much of the $350 billion in mortgages and other loans owned by the industry.
Loyalty programs -- which writer Christopher Elliott calls "sophisticated, soulless marketing programs" -- may have a new look in the post-coronavirus world as frequent travelers revolt against companies that aren't providing the preferred treatment they've promised. "Guests vote with their feet; they'll walk in the direction of the hotel that treated them right and away from the one that didn't let them out of the reservation," frequent traveler Andy Abramson says.
Customer service chat queues with a seven-hour wait, hang-ups and refund refusals are par for the course for travelers trying to handle their own travel struggles during the coronavirus outbreak. Those with travel advisers, however, are experiencing far less stress -- along with quick help, creative solutions and plans for future trips.
Iberostar Selection Bavaro in the Dominican Republic renovated at the end of last year to create a five-star hotel within a hotel with a focus on responsible tourism. Its Wave of Change program has a coral lab on-site, offers children lessons about sustainability, eliminates single-use plastic and provides more plant-based food choices.
Hong Kong hotels are enjoying a surge in bookings as large numbers of citizens return from abroad and seek alternatives to self-quarantining in crowded neighborhoods and apartment buildings. A four-star hotel on Hong Kong Island that fell to 15% occupancy at the start of the coronavirus outbreak there now reports 60% occupancy.
Indian-American hoteliers have made more than 6,000 rooms in about 700 hotels available free to students from India who've been left stranded by pandemic-related travel restrictions. Free meals are included at many locations in the response spearheaded by community leaders and the Asian American Hotel Owners Association.
The always-crowded Walt Disney World near Orlando, Fla., looks eerie in aerial photos taken during the coronavirus-related closure. The company's four theme parks, water parks, hotels and more have been closed since March 16 to help prevent the spread of the virus.
ILHA recently concluded a Q&A with Svetoslav Manolev, Head Sommelier at Flemings Mayfair, the first Bulgarian to have been awarded the top honor of Master Sommelier by The Court of Master Sommeliers. Read more here.
As hospitality managers, decision-makers and influencers, we keep hearing about the "future of work," Robert Reitknecht writes. This can feel like an ominous presence looming over us, but it's not as daunting as it seems. In fact, some of the most powerful forces driving this "future of work" are the simplest. Times are changing, yet in many ways they aren't. With that, here are the four core pillars of what the "future of work" will look like and how hospitality leaders can adapt. Read more here.
Courage has nothing to do with our determination to be great. It has to do with what we decide in that moment when we are called upon to be more.
Rita Dove, poet, writer, Pulitzer Prize winner, US poet laureate March is Women's History Month