Hotel Industry in Face of a Pandemic
There is upheaval and a resultant evolution that one can expect for many industries worldwide while the onslaught of the pandemic COVID-19 wanes. The same can be expected much of the hospitality industry. Business in many countries has been brought to its knees with the social distancing norms in place and people staying away from eating out, bar hopping or feasting together.
However, in face of all this, what can be expected out of hospitality industry? A lot of articles and studies popping on social media, LinkedIn and other news point towards a brand cannibalism - Hotel brands would extend out to more and more categories of customers through their sub brand expansion, of course with the risk of losing some of the customers within the sub brands. However, there are others who see a lot of mergers and acquisitions (or as some say, there are no mergers, only acquisitions).
But that said, what happens to be a point much discussed in all circles is the brand affinity would increase amongst people. With an increased hygiene consciousness amongst many, guests would tend to drift towards brands they trust, or which have more credibility in market, expecting then to uphold their hygiene standards to creating a safe experience. Some also see social distancing spilling into the next year too by when we expect this pandemic to have put to rest. While people will gradually start their travel across the globe owing to work or pleasure, as per some observations by hoteliers, travellers might like to keep the social distancing norms alive – if only for a couple of more months. Hence, maybe a hotel further from the city crowd might be opted over one in the heart of the city. Maybe the homestay concept might start getting less favoured and maybe not.
Over all, most of these are speculation, albeit, are based on studies by names who weigh in the hotel industry but we can’t deny the fact that a trend analysis cannot be done for the current situation as it is almost unparallel and the SARS outbreak is much trivial before the COVID-19 situation. However, the way forward is certainly on basis of understanding the changing patterns in customer behaviour and the ability to adapt and thrive with elegance.