“The world has changed. The Covid -19 health crisis has redefined our priorities and affected our behaviour and consumer habits. We must think more like a community with solidarity. We have to work together to keep everyone safe.” - Lausanne Palace, Switzerland   

The hospitality industry has taken a huge hit this year, with all projected forecasts for 2020 scrapped at the start of quarter two. However, although occupancy has continued to drop from 42.6% to 37.9% growth is on the horizon with a predicted 57.3% increase in 2021 to 59.7%. RevPAR follows this pattern with a drop of 45.8% in 2020 to $46.98 but an increase of 57.5% in 2021 to $74.02. There is hope for better days around the corner, and as we reflect upon the last year, we have seen many inspiring examples of innovation, outreach and positivity from the hotel sector.  

“We’re trying to be creative,” said Gul Goknar Turkmenoglu the general manager of Intercontinental Times Square “and hope our ideas take off.” 

 

Hotels have stepped up the game as the heart of their communities 

Rosewood Raise

                                        Rosewood Raise Bangkok, staff team delivering hand sanitizer 

“While our hearts haven’t changed, the world around us has. So, we’re finding new ways to care for our communities. We’re a home for healthcare workers as they battle on the frontlines, we’re welcoming those without homes. Together with our loyalty members we are offering support, and we’ve switched on our lights of love to send a message of hope” states the InterContinental Hotel Group.  

Indeed, their sentiment has been seen across the hotel industry. In May, TWISPER Business welcomed the news of the Rosewood Raise from the Rosewood Hotel Group, a fund aimed at supporting struggling team members, medical staff and other frontline workers. 

“I have always believed that people are the beating heart of the hospitality industry,” says Sonia Cheng, CEO of Rosewood Hotel Group. “Through Rosewood Raise, we wish to stand in solidarity and with gratitude for our associates, and in support of the local communities that are so deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.”  

Raising a staggering $2 million in just two weeks the initiative also donates hotel rooms and prepares meals for essential and front-line workers. 

Hotels have been quick to employ digital transformation 

Edward Chatbot

                                          Edwardian Hotel Group, London 

Hotel Zetta in San Francisco has added multiple contactless technologies to its amenities: a voice-based guest engagement solution, a mobile check-in/mobile key program, and QR code technology for ordering and paying for room service and in-house dining.  

Various hotels across the globe, including the Lausanne Palace in Switzerland and Edwardian Hotels London have employed artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots or robots as contactless technologies.  

Hotels in the United States have recruited social distancing robot ambassadors. These digital assistants are loaded with requested items at the front desk, send a signal to the elevator to take it to its destination floor, and then call the hotel guest when they have arrived at their door. The robots are cleaned and sanitized after every delivery. 

Der Teufelhof Basel has embraced TWISPER Business Pro to save money and keep their customers engaged, pre-to-post visit. Using the 0% commission Booking Button, they have seen an increase in direct bookings through their preferred booking platforms. They have also been able to show their gratitude to their happy customers by automating the customized Thank You Message on TWISPER Business.  

 

Hotels have rethought their Loyalty Programs  

Anatara Veli

                                    Anantara Veli Resort, Maldives

At the beginning of quarter two, already predicting the impact of the pandemic, Hilton's Mark Weinstein immediately reassured the 100 million Hilton Honors members that their status would be automatically extended through 2020. This was recently extended, and more benefits were added through to 2021 to reassure customers and encourage their return.  

The Anantara Veli luxury resort in the Maldives has decided to launch a special package for its guests. The adults-only resort has decided to charge $30,000 a year which allows their loyal customers to stop by the resort whenever they desire. The price tag includes the use of one of the island’s two-person overwater bungalows, full breakfasts and unlimited transfers to and from the airport. All this is topped off with a 25 per cent reduction on all spa treatments and dining experiences. 

 

Hotels have repositioned their spaces to target different markets 

Gravity Haus Breck Hotel

                                           Gravity Hause Hotel, USA

Several hotels have pivoted their traditional room for a night operation into a room for the day. Noticing that 42% of individuals were now working from home, clever hotel marketers recognized this as a chance to create a “Work from Hotel” solution for those fed-up of their usual surroundings.  

Hotel Figueroa in Downtown LA launched their Work Perks program during the first lockdown, advertising “an executive writing desk and ample outlets to charge must-have devices.” They include complimentary use of their fitness center and wellness-apps on in-room iPads. 

“Remote working has been on the cusp of becoming the norm for years, and Covid has rapidly accelerated that trend. Vaccine or not, the traditional work environment will forever be changed, and co-working spaces like ours are well positioned to support the workforce,” Jim Deters, co-founder and CEO of Gravity Haus, which operates hotels in Vail and Breckenridge, Colorado. 

The notion of designating hotel rooms for day-use only certainly is not new; Yannis Moati founded an entire company on the concept back in 2015. That company, HotelsByDay, has grown to include more than 1,500 hotels and has seen a significant increase in the number of inquiries for day-use bookings since the pandemic began. 

"When you think about it, a hotel is a big box full of space... We hope this trend is a way for hotels to monetize the fact that [space] is something everybody seems to want right now, and they're looking for spaces they know are safe." 

One thing is certain, maintaining the customer experience and safety at the heart of operations has seen solid results for hotels around the world. Uncertainty has been met with innovation and digital transformation through technologies that enhance customer engagement. Hardship has been met by hotels pulling together with their staff and communities to provide support to those in need. We can look towards the future with confidence, knowing that while the pandemic will one day be a thing of the past, the heart of the industry will endure.  


TWISPER is on a mission to bring fairness and positivity back to the hospitality industry. During this unprecedented time, we hope to cast light on the grit, resilience and determination that are an inherent part of the industry. We know that these qualities will lead to recovery and restoration as we look to the future. Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to get the latest industry news and TWISPER announcements.