What changes can we expect from the hotel industry once it opens back up?
Fear not globetrotters; travel won’t be gone forever. As borders begin to open, flights take off and the industry begins to wake from its slumber, travellers across the country are beginning to perk up with anticipation.
But the world of travel we return to won’t be the same as the one we left behind. Hotels are adapting to the changing needs of guests. Some now offer ‘day stays’, which allow guests to enjoy some peace and quiet while they work ‘from home’. Many hotel kitchens are offering takeaway food services, and some have even opened their rooms to exhausted medical staff.
These are the changes we can expect to see in the hotel industry.
Book now, or forever hold your perks
While the uncertainty surrounding the slowly lifting lockdown laws makes it a difficult time to book plane tickets, many hotels are offering unprecedented cancellation policies.
Many hotels are offering flexible bookings and cancellation policies. In order to attract bookings and keep their staff employed, some hotels are also offering additional perks such as an additional free night’s stay or a complimentary massage. Some hotels are even pausing the expiry dates on loyalty points, making loyalty programs more flexible for patrons.
However, we shouldn’t expect to see dramatic rate cuts or discounts, says Fodor’s Travel, considering hotels have been hit hard during the pandemic and need to pay their staff.
Many hotels are using this guest-free time to tackle projects that would otherwise be pushed to the backburner. You can expect to see a number of changes when you revisit your favourite hotels. This may include new menus, websites, and smoother procedures with retrained staff.
More obviously, you may notice physical renovations or redecorations. The need to maintain social distancing will likely see some hotels expand their lobbies and shared spaces, or even build more lifts.
Keeping the distance
Patrons are expected to opt for remote hotels, with access to fresh air and wilderness over large, potentially crowded hotels. This will likely prompt many travellers to seek out lesser-known accommodation, steering clear of larger, centrally located hotels. This desire to remain isolated from other guests may also lead to an increase in condominium-style accommodation, hotel buyouts or even the booking of entire islands – for those who can afford it.
Cracking down on cleanliness
One of the more obvious changes to take place in the hotel industry post-COVID will be the heightened focus on cleanliness. Accommodation providers are expected to introduce stringent cleaning protocols to ease the concerns of guests.
In practice you can expect to see hand sanitiser dispensers in lobbies, public areas and restaurants, as well as the removal of unnecessary items from rooms. This may include things in the mini bar, extra blankets and decorative pillows, in order to make spaces easier to sanitise. Unfortunately, for the environment, we may also see a rise in single-use products.
Founder and CEO of Boutique Lifestyle Leaders Association Frances Kiradjian even suspects that the need for increased and more rigorously monitored sanitisation of hotels may lead to the creation of new sanitisation authorities.
What other changes would you like to see in the hotel industry? When would you next consider staying at a hotel?
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