2020 has put a strain on many industries and hospitality was one of the industries hardest hit. Hotels were quick to cut back on labor and reduced expenses. Improving efficiencies is what has enabled properties to stay afloat thus far, but hotels will need to reinvent themselves to survive this pandemic. Hotels around the country have already identified innovative ways to utilize their properties and resources to attract new customers and generate revenue.
The COVID pandemic brought the peak tourist season in Phoenix, AZ to a screeching halt. Halfway through the Major League Baseball spring training season all games and other annual events were cancelled. Resorts and hotels that were normally at capacity found rooms empty. One resort, The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, found a creative way to entertain the community and generate new revenue. The property set up a drive-in movie theater in their parking lot complete with a large inflatable screen, FM transmitter and concessions. The popular event was welcomed by everyone and it was a much-needed source of entertainment and revenue for the hotel. Creating new ways to safely entertain your guests and community can generate demand that would not otherwise exist.
Marketing is also an opportunity to reinvent your product. There is a new wave of people working from home and homeschooling, necessitating families to share their workspace. Hotels can be a helpful option for those who need quiet or a place to relax. Several of our properties have created local marketing campaigns promoting hotel rooms as private office space or relaxing retreats. Diversifying your market mix is another opportunity to increase occupancy. For example, properties in leisure markets may have previously turned down lower rate contract business, but in this current market it is important for properties to consider all segments of revenue and identify the essential services that are traveling.
Now is the time to utilize your team, friends, family and social media to brainstorm how hotels can meet the changing needs of guests! Traditionally hotels have provided travelers with a safe, clean and comfortable place to sleep. While these base principals will always be the core of hospitality it is crucial that hotels reinvent themselves to meet guests’ needs in this new normal.
While people are hesitant to travel, especially by air, most are yearning to getaway or staycation. The properties that will not only survive this pandemic, but come out ahead, are the ones that adapt, get creative and embrace this new environment with the same core hospitality principles the industry has offered for centuries.