Opening up to the new normal world
The impact of COVID-19 on businesses has been unprecedented. Occupancies continue to be in single digit numbers. The year 2020 was promising to be a good year for hotels until disaster struck and the promise was completely washed away in its wake. The continued losses in the sector despite Unlock 1.0, run into several crores and these are mounting.
We expect the pickup to be moderate if not slow for the coming few months, even after the lockdown has been lifted. It is natural for people to continue exercising caution until the crisis is truly behind us. F&B sales also continue to be impacted as restrictions on MICE and banquet events may continue for some more time. Almost every hotel, without exception is bearing the brunt.
Domestic and International travel needs to truly open up before we start seeing sustainable business coming through. We do expect domestic business to first bounce back, albeit cautiously, considering that international markets may take a while to regain confidence in trans-border travel. It is likely to be the rooms and related services that will revive first, followed by MICE and banquets.
COVID-19 has left a lasting impression on mankind. While it may take us the rest of the year and maybe a part of the next year before we start seeing a turnaround in business, it has also given us valuable lessons that are going to change the way we work in the future. We have seen a sudden collapse of business and the challenge before us is having to deal with compromised experience for guests and managing expectations of our associates, in these uncertain times.
The bright side is you look at better ways of running the business. Like leaner operations to maximise profits and greatly improved operating standards aimed at higher levels of guest satisfaction.
I am not sure if there are more than a handful of people across the world who may have witnessed a crisis of this magnitude in their lives. This is unprecedented! Not just the Coronavirus pandemic but the economic pandemic that has left a much larger impact on us. Businesses across the planet have literally shutdown, leaving millions unemployed and the economy crippled. It is going to take sometime and a humungous effort to get our bearings back.
There is also a flipside to the whole scenario. We have learnt to appreciate life more than what we used to, from a different perspective. Our earth has become a lot cleaner with a noticeable improvement in air quality. One can actually see stars in the sky. It has also brought us much closer as ‘one world’. Coronavirus has shown us that there are no borders and that everyone is equal.
We have also realised that not all chores that we till date deemed critical or important, really are so. Also, the realisation that we can achieve a lot more by doing a lot less, is more profound now than ever. It’s just that we need to filter out the chaff from real grain.
We have learnt to do more with less!