COVID-19 Recovery in the Hospitality Industry

During the lockdown over the last few weeks, I learned a several things about the destructive impact of this virus on our industry. We can already anticipate a very bumpy COVID-19 recovery in the hospitality industry!

Now I am trying to get my head around on HOW the hospitality industry can recover from this pandemic. SMEs represent most businesses overall and they are in the forefront of being affected. I believe that they must get some very specific support.

Our industry is heavily fragmented and serves so many different markets and customers who all have diverse expectations. Hospitality businesses had mastered to meet those expectations very well over the years. To a large extend they had perfected their customer service to meeting their customer’s needs. However, this pandemic has put a spanner in our industry, and we don’t know yet how this will pan out.

All I know is:

  • Hospitality and tourism businesses are hit badly, especially SMEs – many are in dire straights
  • Lots of support is offered by organisations (quangos et al..) and the governments
  • There are so many on-line forums and webinars available making it difficult to choose which ones to attend
  • Very long web-articles offer advice – some are confusing (don’t read them at night – you’ll have bad dreams)
  • Experts provided some interesting recovery scenarios: the “V”, “U” and “L” shape recovery. However, I am personally inclined to believe in the “W”, maybe even the “double W” recovery…
  • Nobody can tell anybody about when all this will end…

Are you any further forward with your understanding of this crisis? Or are you also rather confused and you don’t know what to do next?

Crisis management is out – contingency planning is in

Recovery? What recovery?

Staying “alive” is the top priority. There are so many challenges associated with COVID-19 for hospitality businesses – especially for SMEs:

  • You have a business which can’t do any business or just very little
  • Government support packages have been promised and can’t come soon enough (you are very lucky if you got help already); your banker is currently (maybe) your (best?) friend and your accountant is (seemingly) working hard for you
  • The timing of this outbreak is very inconvenient – you were about to get ready for the season – the “coffers” are empty – actually, less then empty
  • The emails from booked clients requesting refunds are mounting up. You get lots of supplier-invoices and reminders whilst trying to reduce your accounts-receivable
  • Most likely you have some serious refund issues with OTAs (is there a time when you don’t have any issues with them?)
  • Your fixed costs – and some variable costs are seriously affecting your working capital – if you have any
  • You are of course still aware of your statutory requirements; however, you can’t get your elevator or fire panel serviced because you can’t spend cash; also, you can’t get any disinfectant for your F&B outlets – so Health & Safety and Food Safety are not a serious priority
  • Occasionally you are thinking about your staff. You contemplate whether you will face more recruitment challenges once this thing is over – maybe there are many people looking for jobs (– that would be fab…)
  • Then, you wonder if you can get your existing staff “up to speed” again – why should they work for you if they get money sent to them by the government for not working at all?

After all that, you’ll then start thinking…what will happen when this mess is over – how will the COVID-19 Recovery in the hospitality industry look like?

The Hospitality Industry Recovery after COVID-19

Looking for the new normal

Some things will change immediately once COVID-19 is over – other things will change later – that is for sure!

But how will your business be affected? Will you still have the same customer base?

I am certain that you have started thinking about this and read up how a COVID-19 Recovery will affect hospitality businesses.

You’ll ask some more specific questions:

Customers will most likely be more “risk adverse” at first but want to “get out of their cabin” (if they don’t have fever! – no pun intended) – so where will they want to go, for how long, how will they travel and will they have money to spend?

You assume that customers will have higher expectations for better cleanliness and sanitisation – how can you manage that without disinfectants? Can you let your customers know that all is well with your business? Contemplating further – would it be prudent to send out some form of communication (newsletter?) with the message of absolute safety at your venue?

You anticipate that the first few waves of customers will have great expectations for a “positive memorable experience” – how can this be arranged? But then again there might be a few waves before this COVID-19 thing fizzles out…and the true recovery begins.

Assuming you manage to sort out your staffing issues, you wonder how you can get them even more customer focussed than before – how can you maximise your staff training? Further, you wonder how you can give your staff a feeling of better job safety?

And finally, you may think about what kind of technological support you can acquire to streamline your business for the future, to become more efficient and productive, adapting to all those changes whilst saving costs and increasing revenues –

… so much to think about, so few answers and all this uncertainty!

My answer is simple: use a partner – an external business advisor!

Partner to support hospitality businesses affected by COVID-19

I offer a service which will guide you through all this and much more. This service seeks to help SMEs.

My idea (and this was tested and found to be working!!) is to have a Skype/Zoom chat with you – to go through YOUR specific issues. You will see that just talking and addressing the problems can help.

You and I will discuss YOUR plans for the COVID-19 Recovery. If you haven’t got a plan yet, I’ll help you to set one up. We may look at different plans to focus on a variety of scenarios because at this stage, I believe there will be different re-opening scenarios. Therefore, you must look at a variety of options.

As a partner, I’ll be your advisor and motivator to face up to the new challenges and to move forward. At the end YOU must make decisions based on YOUR business – not anybody else’s (or follow the many on-line solutions you get web-fed every day).

Contact me to discuss this further – let’s talk, you’ve got nothing to lose?