As the COVID-19 novel coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on the global travel & hospitality industry, the journey to your hotel’s recovery must begin now.
Visit our COVID-19 hotel industry guidance hub for all the latest insights and information from IDeaS.
Concerns relating to the spread of COVID-19 and large-scale travel restrictions are having a direct impact on hoteliers across the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region and worldwide. Markets that source a large portion of their guests from mainland China are being most affected by the current travel restrictions, and hoteliers across APAC, and now globally, are understandably concerned. So, what should hoteliers consider when seeking to address the business challenges posed by the spread of COVID-19?
Here are some recommendations and guidance from IDeaS’ industry experts on how to proactively prepare for your hotel’s recovery across your organization and how to leverage your advanced RMS as effectively as possible:
Meetings & Events
From Singapore to San Francisco, Melbourne to Barcelona, major conferences around the world have already been cancelled in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak. ITB Berlin is just one of the latest instances, closing its doors for the first time in over 50 years, and several European countries have placed an outright ban on large gatherings.
The recovery time for convention hotels with a large meetings & events (M&E) business segment will likely last much longer than other hotel types. For upcoming M&E bookings jeopardized by the current situation, liaise with the event organizer to postpone the event and avoid as many outright cancellations as possible. It’s also important, now more than ever, to understand and promote your most profitable room configurations and event types to maximize your M&E revenues.
Convention hotels hit hardest may even explore expanding into new markets, such as office buildings or small enterprises in the area without a staff cafeteria, to provide food delivery and catering. This can help to promote your hotel’s reputation, increase total revenue by fully using the resources as well as release some cash-flow pressure.
During this outbreak, revenue managers should regularly update hotel occupancy forecasts and provide them to the operations department for proper staffing accommodations. The revenue manager must also maintain close communication with the front desk and housekeeping department to make reasonable arrangements for the use of rooms so the hotel can carry out energy control, saving energy by shutting down entire floors or wings.
To keep up with increasing public attention on a health and safety, hotels need to focus on more details of their health services, including guest-room hand sanitizers, fresh-air systems, display of indoor air quality, high-quality bedding, nourishing, organic food supplies, airport transportation vehicles in a clean and disinfected condition, etc., to improve service quality and guest satisfaction.
Keep a close eye on your hotel’s revenue budget and forecast and make calculated adjustments as needed. Financial forecasting must focus more on controlling things like energy and labor expenses. This process requires collaboration from all departments. In terms of labor cost, try to clear out staff overtime and encourage employees to take annual leave and/or schedule mandatory training sessions during periods of low demand. Continue to carefully maintain cash flow. In times of economic crisis and major emergencies, most small and medium-sized enterprises will fail to survive due to cash-flow disruption.
Over the past month, you’ve probably observed the slow-down of revenue pickups and new reservations. Despite the alarming implications of this trend, you must stay firm with your pricing strategy and avoid making drastic changes. Sometimes, hoteliers have the tendency to panic, drop price or offer large discount promotions. However, lowering prices will not stimulate demand in this situation. Hoteliers must adjust price sensibly. An advanced revenue management system will help you to make the best decisions on pricing changes and promotions.
Here are some key tips for leveraging your IDeaS RMS during periods of demand disruption:
- Proactively and thoughtfully adjust demand in your RMS in accordance with the level of impact you observe in your local market.
- Avoid making gut-instinct or emotional decisions and focus on analytical strategic approaches to pricing.
- Do not rush into any discounting practices or third-party channel agreements without first consulting your RMS.
- Continue to carefully monitor and adjust any demand overrides implemented and pay close attention to your competitive market position constraints.
- If you are unsure of the specific period of impact, adjust only the dates you are confident you can expect the most significant impacts.
- Actively monitor demand overrides and how the demand materializes; adjust as necessary as the event evolves.
- Mark the affected period as a special event covering the period that has significantly impacted demand.
- Pay close attention to your Competitive Market Position Constraints (CMPC) and exclude competitors driving down pricing or displaying erratic pricing behavior.
- In the unfortunate circumstance a property will be closed entirely, please follow the standard process for handling closures, including ensuring all inventory is placed “Out of Order.”
We encourage our clients to reach out to their client relationship manager with any questions or concerns. Stay strong. Stay calm. Stay smart. Stay healthy.
Register for Our Upcoming Webinar
Join IDeaS and STR for a joint webinar on Tuesday, March 10 sharing key regional and global impacts from the COVID-19 outbreak. STR will share recently compiled travel data in critical local, regional and global markets to help inform your strategy, and IDeaS will provide important tips to ensure you prepare, react and proactively manage any disruptive demand patterns impacting your hotel.
Sign up now for “COVID-19: Key Market Impacts and Tips to Optimize in Times of Demand Disruption.”