COVID-19 has had an unprecedented effect on the hospitality industry, forcing many businesses in the sector to implement widespread survival-driven changes. Here are a few of the changes that Providence Hospitality and its clients have implemented during this period – lessons that we believe will be looked back on as the silver lining of this dark and difficult period, standing us in good stead for the future.

Lesson 1 –  Learn to control your costs

Severe reduction in hotel revenues due to travel restrictions forced us, as hospitality businesses, to look closely at each and every one of our expenses. Businesses have cut right back, trimmed off the fat wherever possible, implemented strict budgets and streamlined operations to optimise use of all of our assets and resources. Our businesses are leaner, more productive, more effective and more efficient than ever before as a result of this.

Lesson 2 – Flexibility is key

With fluid infection numbers and constantly changing travel restrictions, hospitality businesses have had to learn to adapt to fast changing conditions and varying demand levels in order to survive. Hotel prices are more dynamic than prior to the pandemic and high-tech geotargeting pricing strategies are being implemented by many hotels in order to maximise revenue earnings.

Booking terms and conditions have come under scrutiny during this period. Customers, burnt by fluctuating travel restrictions, now place far more emphasis on the flexibility of cancellations policies that they did prior to COVID. In order to restore booking confidence and start converting sales again, hospitality businesses have had to adjust their booking terms in order to be more in line with customer expectations than ever before.

Lesson 3 – The importance of a digital presence

There has been a huge acceleration in technological developments and digital marketing since the pandemic began. Lockdown restrictions forced businesses to start operating online, employees to start working remotely and customers to move out of the shopping malls and onto the internet. Businesses that lacked a strong digital presence before the pandemic were severely affected and were forced to improve their digital marketing and social media presence in order to survive. Hospitality businesses have also seen a huge spike in mobile and online bookings as well as growth in automated hospitality services, such as touchless check-ins and check-outs.

Lesson 4 – Up-skilling and multi-skilling

Forced to cut jobs in order to survive during the pandemic, hospitality businesses have far smaller workforces now than prior to the pandemic. Employees have had to upskill quickly and learn new skills to fill the gaps left in their workforces. Employers have also taken note of these gaps and are actively recruiting for multi-skilled employees.

Lesson 5 – Gratitude

The last two years have been tough on the hospitality industry. We’ve experienced rate cuts, we’ve seen longstanding businesses collapse and successful colleagues lose their jobs. All these hardships have changed our perspectives and have made us profoundly more grateful for the jobs we’ve managed to keep, the bookings that have converted and the clients that we’ve been able to welcome back to our hotels.