Companies across industries create five-year and ten-year plans as future goals to accomplish. This helps them to remain focused and adhere to these plans even in the times of chaos. Before the pandemic of COVID-19 was upon us, all sectors, including the hospitality industry, might have had their plans in place to look out for their next five years in the industry. Now that the pandemic has taken place, hotels may have to rethink the way they operate businesses.
Going forward, the future 5-year plans may not be as simple as it may have been in the past. Apart from taking into account the changes pertaining to operational and management systems, hotels have to prioritize the health and well-being of their guests and staff, if they aim to stay at the top of the mind of their potential guests.
Let's take a look at how the next 5 years of hospitality may unfold.
Sustainability One of the key changes that people around the world witnessed during the pandemic were it’s positive effects on our environment and nature as a whole. Some of these changes include the decrease in the level of pollution leading to being able to breathe fresh air.
Maintaining these changes will remain a prime concern, even in the future, since we are beginning a new normal phase. This is a phase when a previously unfamiliar situation of living as we did during the pandemic will become a way of life going forward. Millennials, as the guests of today and a part of the future working teams at these properties, will demand that they are run on the principle of sustainability. A report by Deloitte states that millennials find it hard to trust businesses that do not have a positive impact on society. This means that hotels will have to eliminate the usage of single-use plastics, monitor the usage of water, find an alternative for disposal of garbage, and so on.
In accordance to the LEED rating system, you can maintain sustainability in terms of Indoor Environment Quality (IEQ) by making use of the below tips: Make use of daylight, saving electricity wherever possible. Convert guest rooms into smart rooms by installing temperature and ventilation control. Provide guests with operable windows and lighting controls.
Global Expansion Plans With countries imposing lockdowns and a halt on international travel, the current focus of hotels is to cater to their domestic market. However, once the lockdown is lifted people will begin to travel around the globe. Hotels must begin planning for events and increasing their reach and market to international crowds as well. Since the industry would be having a fresh beginning of sorts, it is time to include a global expansion strategy in the next five-year plan.
Hygienic Spaces The post-COVID scenario includes all sectors to look after hygiene and sanitization, not as an afterthought but to be the most crucial criteria when opening up for businesses. Regular health-checkups, stringent measures taken for the well being of the staff and guests of the hotels, and changes in the internal operations of the hotel need to be on the top of the list of priorities. It will take a while before the virus is eradicated from our lives, even after the cure or vaccine is discovered for the same. So, for the next two years, at least, and perhaps even after that, it is imperative that health check-up routines are being followed as we have entered a period of “New Normal.”
Steady Recovery In the past quarter of the year, the hospitality and tourism industry has taken quite a hit with the lockdowns that transpired around the world. According to a report by the AHLA, the pandemic has caused 70% of employees to be laid off. In these desperate times, where the workers intend to come back to work but cannot, these industries are to get back on their feet stronger and better than before. The industries were proud to be employing a huge chunk of the population, which unfortunately isn’t the case anymore. Even though the time taken to get back to normal may not go up to 5 years, it surely will need a while to get over the effects of the pandemic on the loss of jobs within the sector.
AI and Automation With social distancing becoming a norm around the world, it is only a matter of time before people overcome the fear of getting out of the house. In the future, it would be beneficial for hotels to adapt to AI and automation within the hotels to promote social distancing and less physical contact. The presence of self check-in and check-out counters, IoT, Chatbots, cloud-based property management systems, blockchains, etc will only grow manifold in the next five years. Certain software like WrkSpot can come in handy since they merge AI with IoT, so turn properties into smart hotels.
Conclusion The hospitality, travel and tourism industries have sure taken a hit in the last quarter of the year that may have eroded their efforts of the last 5 years. However, it is not too late to get back with altered plans that are focused on a stronger comeback and later, a stronghold in the industry. Slow and steady steps while focusing on customization of choices for guests is what would help hotels stand out among the crowd.