NATIONAL REPORT—The U.S. hospitality industry is one of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, with hotels having already lost more than $29 billion in room revenue and 7.7 million jobs since the issue began escalating in mid-February, according to the American Hotel and Lodging Association. The industry is facing one of the toughest periods in history—occupancies are down to zero for many hotels, tourist arrivals have dropped, and mass gatherings have either been canceled or postponed. But, just like the many other challenges that the hospitality industry has faced—such as the SARS virus of 2003, 9/11, and the 2008 market crash—COVID-19 will also pass. If you own or manage a green hospitality business, now is the time to focus on finding ways to keep your business afloat during this tough period.
Take Measures to Protect Your Employees & Visitors
If you want to give customers the confidence to visit your hotel once the lockdown is over, you must put in place measures to prevent the introduction and spread of the virus in the hotel. You can start by ensuring that all members of staff have the necessary personal protective equipment, including face masks, hand sanitizers and disposable gloves. You can also provide the same to customers in their welcome packages, showing your commitment to their safety from the get-go. Make adjustments to your reception, meeting rooms, dining rooms, and other areas to ensure that everyone is maintaining social distance. You can also make changes to your cleaning protocols, such as doing it more often, using anti-viral cleaning agents on all hard surfaces, and mounting hand sanitizer dispensers in high-touch areas. Whichever measures you take, make sure you let your customers know about it through your marketing campaigns and on your website.
Make Sure You are Covered
With the effects of the pandemic in mind, it might be a good idea to reevaluate your insurance policies to ensure that you are covered against losses caused by COVID-19. You may think that business interruption coverage is enough to cover the losses you incur during this period, but some clauses within your policy could disqualify you. For example, it’s a good idea to have a “civil authority” coverage in your policy to ensure that you are covered should you lose any income as a result of government directives that restrict access to your hotel. You also want to ensure that there are no exclusions in your policy that could disqualify your claim. You can also get workers’ compensation insurance coverage for hospitality businesses to ensure that your employees are covered should they get the virus while working.
Find New Revenue Streams
Rather than relying heavily on a particular business or geographical segment, you can find ways to diversify your business and optimize revenue conversion from all possible revenue streams to improve your bottom line. For example, you can consider offering special rates for anyone who wants to self-isolate in a comfortable place away from family or friends. You can also make your rooms work-friendly, with good desks, seating, lighting and WiFi to make them safe working environments for those who are unable to work in their homes.
Even if it may take months or years to get back to normal, the resilience of the hospitality industry will help it rebound and even grow stronger than it was before COVID-19. What will determine whether or not your green hospitality business will live to see that day are the measures you put in place now to safeguard it and ensure a smooth transition to the post-COVID-19 future.