Coronavirus and the resulting shutdowns around the world have negatively impacted many businesses, but this especially so for the hospitality industry. With travel bans, restrictions on gatherings, and other measures taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the United Nations’ World Tourism Organisation predicted in March 2020 that international tourism would be down 20 to 30% in 2020.
Experts say four out of every 10 hotel employees were laid-off during the pandemic, and while there is some optimism for its return and the 2021 season – as revealed by hotel experts in Planday’s Global Hotel Summit – this can vary across markets.
With multiple vaccines for the virus already being gradually distributed in many countries, some are beginning to wonder when life might begin to return to normal.
Here are the four tips you need to safely manage the return to a “new normal” in hospitality this year.
Returning to the “New Normal”
Experts agree that safety procedures – such as mask mandates – will continue throughout 2021. But travel numbers through the end of 2020 have shown people are ready to return to some of the regularity of pre-pandemic life in some markets.
As we begin to travel more, dine out again, and enjoy time visiting museums, theme parks, and other tourist attractions, the hospitality industry will need new strategies and tools as COVID-19 continues to shape what the future will look like for us all.
To create a welcome and safe atmosphere, the new standard will undoubtedly include the need for extra sanitation and appropriately staffed businesses. The feeling of safety and cleanliness is of paramount importance, especially in the hospitality industry.
So as you prepare your business for a new year and a new-look marketplace, here are some strategies you may include:
- Streamlined and socially distant check-in measures
- Staff wearing masks, gloves, and other personal protective equipment (PPE) long-term
- Staff scheduling that allows for frequent cleaning and excellent customer service
- Happy and healthy staff that are ready to provide the best service possible
Preparing for More Business
If your company – like most in the hospitality industry – had to furlough staff during the pandemic, you’ll likely need to hire new staff in preparation of returning to “business as unusual”. Having the right solution to keep your staff schedule in order will be crucial to doing this successfully.
In many places around the world, social distancing rules and regulations in the hospitality industry aren’t going away anytime soon. This means restaurants, museums, theme parks, and other entertainment businesses (just to name a few) will need to continue to be creative with the way they handle any increase in business – while also keeping their guests as safe as possible.
Outdoor seating and activity areas, sanitation stations, and reservation systems to reduce crowds, have all been implemented in many areas of hospitality. These features will continue to be useful as more people return to their favourite activities.
A great way to keep guests and employees safe is to reduce the amount of interaction they have with each other while simultaneously reducing high-touch point surfaces.
Many restaurants have implemented digital menus during COVID-19 and hotels are beginning to use doors that unlock with smartphones (rather than keys or keycards).
Technology is the way of the future and the hospitality industry is no different. From being able to choose your hotel room at check-in, to reserving your seat on a flight, or having menu options right on your phone, going digital allows for a smoother guest experience and improved safety.
Using technology, instead of people, for reception and concierge services is a big change for hospitality businesses. But doing so will:
- Allow for greater control over the guest experience
- Create a lower overhead and smaller staff
- Provide more flexibility with options and offer services guests can do themselves
These benefits are helpful as we prepare to move into the new normal in 2021.
Make Smarter Hospitality Decisions Today
At Planday, we’re changing the way shift-based businesses operate by offering new solutions for how managers and employees fundamentally interact with each other.
Don’t waste any time trying to find the best staff schedule for your business. With scheduling templates and an intuitive design, our efficient communication solution gets your team on the same page. Your staff can set their availability, swap shifts, and bid for open ones – all while you retain oversight and control.
As we move towards the new normal, set yourself up with a free 30-day trial of our staff management software – thereby providing your staff with the flexibility they need and giving yourself peace of mind knowing your business is positioned to succeed.