While the hospitality industry took a big hit during the pandemic shutdown, there are areas of brightness for owners and operators to explore. Many hotel experts forecast a two-year slowdown in business until a full economic recovery takes place. During that time, hoteliers have the opportunity to renovate and rethink business models to be more digital and “touch-free.”
Renovation Toward Safer Environments
COVID-19 has become a wake-up call for all public places to rethink how to become safer environments for patrons. A major lesson learned from the pandemic is that businesses must be more prepared to deal with disasters that can endanger customers.
One of the ways hotels are starting to rethink lobbies and dining areas is to work with innovative AEC consultants, who oversee architectural, engineering, and construction projects. These experts help demystify steps toward modernization, particularly to go more digital. It’s no secret the path toward business survival this decade will closely involve companies developing more digital infrastructures.
AEC experts can point a hotel to a more sustainable direction by making the property more eco-friendly and responsive to guest needs through real-time digital solutions. Supplying each room with connectivity to the front desk helps promote a “touch-free” environment in the lobby and dining area.
Top hospitality organizations expect hotels to face financial challenges for years. Although there may be an uptick in hotel foreclosures in the near future, a viable option for distressed properties is to convert them into specialized living areas such as student housing.
Updating Operational Procedures
Another major challenge for hotels is to update operational procedures to emphasize social distancing. Hotel managers should expect these changes to be permanent, so they can be better prepared for the next disaster involving communicable diseases. Changes will affect various areas of hotel operation, including how guests check-in and check-out, how housekeepers clean rooms, and how amenities are accessed.
Cleanliness will be a primary theme for hotels to win back loyal guests. Now that it’s clear the pandemic has directly impacted places that facilitate global travel, hotels must take the initiative to prove they offer safe environments. So during the pandemic, many hotels will explore renovation, but once the crisis has subsided, cleanliness will play a major role in the competition.
Managers will need to weigh safety over profitability, such as with buffets. Although buffets can be very profitable, they also open the door to spreading infection. Some hotels are shifting to prepackaged room service as a solution to preventing infections while still delivering guest satisfaction.
As for checking in, a digital solution is to allow the guest to access a keycard through their smartphone that unlocks the hotel room door. The keycard is part of a mobile app the guest downloads when booking the room. This app integrates with other hotel functions, such as ordering food and making room service requests. Hotels are increasingly moving toward innovative solutions that contribute to touchless environments.
Balancing Scient with Friendliness
A further challenge for hotels in the pandemic era is to maintain friendly communication with guests while increasing safety rules and standards. As rooms get more digital, there’s a growing risk of the hotel seeming less human. In that sense, hotels must make an extra effort to create a more personalized experience.
The future of hotels has economic uncertainties, but it’s clear hotels need to take time to evolve with new social and regulatory conditions. For assistance with your hotel remodeling needs, contact Nikki Fox, Nikki@ParkwestGC.com, at Parkwest General Contractors. Our experienced team is ready to help improve your hotel property.