The hospitality industry has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. Properties around the world remain closed or are operating at less than full capacity, staff have been furloughed or let go, and customers are shifting their travel in the face of constantly evolving news about reopening and disease outbreaks.
But even if the current news seems dire, a growing feeling of resolve is starting to emerge among hospitality executives. That’s because even if business doesn’t immediately return to “normal,” those in the industry want to be ready to reopen as the process of recovery and consumer demand starts to pick up. But ensuring the recovery process goes smoothly will require intelligent guidance and a sensible strategy.
How quickly will consumer demand start to return? What cleaning procedures and protocols will be needed to make guests and staff feel safe? Could low-touch hotel technology help minimize the risks of infection? And how will hospitality distribution and booking procedures need to adapt for this new era?
It was with many of these questions in mind that Skift and Oracle Hospitality joined forces in the second quarter of 2020 to launch a research study exploring the strategies and procedures that would help inform and guide the industry’s recovery plans. The two organizations distributed the study to more than 1,800 hospitality leaders and more than 4,000 consumers around the world in order to understand their predictions and preferences regarding best practices for hospitality recovery.
The topics that were investigated include estimates of how soon hospitality demand would recover, questions about changes to on-property cleaning procedures, the use of technology to minimize in-person contact, changes to the employee experience, and how hospitality booking and distribution strategy might evolve in light of Covid-19. The research results were further supplemented by interviews with a variety of hospitality executives and links to recent news stories that help put the data into further context.
What does a successful hospitality recovery strategy look like? And when will it begin to pick up speed with consumers and industry stakeholders? There are no easy answers to these questions. But with the help of the collective wisdom shared in the report that follows, Skift and Oracle Hospitality hope to provide a framework for those in the industry to make smart decisions about what comes next.