– Fiona Daniels
The outbreak of COVID-19 is having a devastating impact on the world economy. It has affected all sectors but more so tourism. Roughly 70% of Caribbean countries’ GDP is generated from tourism; they are used to receiving multiple cruise ships, flights and thousands of visitors a day. With this coming to a stop, several tourist spots are vacant. Since January 2020, the hospitality industry has been facing multiple issues including a prolonged period of low-interest rates, wage stagnation, employee layoffs and even complete closures.
As we ride out this pandemic, there are steps that can be taken to live around the virus and reduce long-term damage. Here are some tips for recovery from the difficulties COVID-19 brings.
Hotels are now adopting technologies to use as an advantage as remote work makes the processes of even customer-based industries manageable, without being present. This is done through telecommunication with cloud-based Property Management Systems, that allows control of all operations at any time from anywhere. This software can go with mobile concierge apps and help engage guests with check-ins, meal and service orders and more. Hoteliers can transfer jobs relating to sales, business development, eCommerce, and Digital Marketing in this manner.
For boosted income, hoteliers can take steps to increase restaurant sales by inventing new marketing campaigns and finding effective means of limiting declines like offering specials or deals ( eg.two-for-one meals, etc). This will not only benefit guests with delivery to their rooms but also non-guests with pickup options – all with social distancing.
Hoteliers and employees can also receive assistance and financial support as many governments have deferred payments, cut taxes, launched business support grant funds and made low-interest working capital loans available to businesses.
With the virus being contagious, hoteliers can reconsider existing health and safety techniques, policies, and procedures. It is crucial to implement new and better safety measures to protect staff and visitors. Some include non-contact service and order deliveries, self-service pay systems or orders through mobile apps, suspension of unnecessary gatherings, hand-sanitizer distributions at entrances and exits and staff reductions.
Hoteliers should also closely monitor employees’ health conditions and take precautions through protocols to ensure that the illness does not spread.Testing, temperature checks and routine disinfecting of commonly used areas are encouraged.
Ensuring the accuracy of the information on the coronavirus is also key. Hoteliers should take special care to share verified information and not contribute to misinformating others. Only trusted and verified sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and similar should be used. This can also prevent scams and vulnerability to the leakage of sensitive data such as finances and health information on employees and customers. It is good to have a detailed course of action for operating costs, worker’s compensation and business interruption insurance coverages.
Break periods can be used for maintenance and renovation. Whether spontaneous or completing a Property Improvement Plan, there’s no better time to do this. Repairs can be conducted, inventory of maintenance supplies, deep cleaning and thorough safety checks can also be done.
Ultimately, taking the above steps and repurposing potential would give thousands of tourism sector workers confidence, as well as assist fiscally fragile nations. It would allow businesses to reopen sooner and operate in a manageable manner. Customers would feel safer going out to spend and this would get the domestic economy moving again.