The relationship between the owners and operators of hotels has traditionally been fraught because the two sides often have goals and philosophies that don’t fully overlap. The pandemic forced operators to align closely with operators in a battle to survive the plunge in demand. Working closely together, ties between the two sides warmed up. The post-pandemic boom in demand has boosted moods, too.
Yet as time goes on, the relationship between owners and operators faces the old strains once again.
Many operators, for example, are eager to return to pre-pandemic employment levels. They’ve been exhausted by rounds of layoffs and having had reduced staff to cope with a surge in demand. Yet operators — keeping their eye on operating margins as inflation rises — want to hold the line on budgets. At many properties, 85 percent is the new 100 percent when it comes to staffing.
As Skift’s senior hospitality editor, I recently chatted about this evolving relationship with Robin Trimingham, host of The Innovative Hotelier Podcast by Hotels Magazine. We talked about how economic uncertainty, pressure on independent hotels from global brands, and technology changes are stressing owner-operator relationships. We also talked optimistically about how a new cooperation model could enable hotel companies to thrive.