It’s needless to say that the hotel and hospitality industry has been one of the most adversely impacted sectors due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
As most of our operational world has changed like never before the hotel industry too has had to implement some stark changes in its day-to-day operations.
With non-existent corporate travel, dwindling occupancy rates, fledgling restaurant sales the hotel industry is at its nadir.
Just to give you an idea on the industry as a whole a new research by McKinsey and Company suggests that for the US hotel industry to get back to pre-covid levels it could take till 2023 or later.
‘The tourism and hospitality sector in India created 4.21 crore jobs i.e. 8.1% of the total employment in the country. And now with the Covid-19 pandemic this sector has taken a huge fall’ said Dr S Prasanth, President of the Hotels and Restaurant Association of Andhra Pradesh (HRAAP) and GM, Daspalla Hotel speaking at the Vizag Industrial Scan and HRAAP organized webinar The New Hotelier which saw 150 registrations.
As per Dr Prasanth there are about 4500 registered restaurants in AP and he says that a sizeable number of that will not be able to start operating and those who do restart will start with 60% capacity.
‘The last four months have been a big shock to the hotel and restaurant industry’ said Mr PavanKartheek, General Manager of Keys Select hotel (managed by Lemon Tree) and Vice President, HRAAP.
‘Covid-19 has changed everything. Your next restaurant is going to be very different compared to the one you were used to pre covid’ days stated Dr Prasanth.
Vizag with a diverse set of people has a slew of hotels catering to a wide mix of guests. Over the last five years Vizag has also become a significant destination for weddings, MICE events apart from the regular corporate and leisure travellers.
“Hotels are spending a lot of money on keeping its guests and staff safe. From sanitizers to PPE kits we are making sure all safety measures and protocols are being adhered to”
President – HRAAP & GM Daspalla Hotel
‘In terms of business I would say Vizag has a mixture of corporates, leisure-tourists, destination weddings, conferences conventions etc. All these categories feed into the hotels in the city’ said Mr JaydeepBiswas of The Park Hotel.
In terms of split Jaydeep puts the figure to be 65% corporates and 35% to be tourists, destination weddings etc.
And with the aviation sector being equally hit by the Covid-19 pandemic corporate travel has literally come to a standstill.
‘The hotel and airline industry have been adversely affected. We both need travellers for our respective businesses’ said Green Park’s General Manager, Mr. Ramakrishna and emphasised that till air travel revives occupancy rates will be low. Among the different streams of revenue for the hotel industry the MICE segment is probably the most severely hit. With Government’s social distancing norms and other precautionary measures in place meetings, incentives, conferences exhibitions have few takers.
‘The MICE segment has been majorly affected. Largely impacted due to travel restrictions and social distancing norms, many of our meetings have got cancelled or postponed till next year’ said Ms Lakshmi Sridhar of Novotel. With all this gloom and doom the industry however is not taking it lying down. There are a slew of measures that the industry has implemented to assure its guests and staff of utmost safety.
‘Hotels have responded to this challenge with a lot of changes and activities’ said ITC’s Mr Rajesh Nath.
As most of the hotels have come out with their respective safety protocols and processes so has ITC. In fact it’s gone a step further. ‘We at ITC will be the first hotel chain to get NABH accreditation so far used only for hospitals’ said ITC’s Mr Nath.
This goes to show how seriously hotels are taking their hygiene and sanitization efforts. Rigorous Sanitization and an enhanced focus on hygiene levels has become the norm.
As hotels hope for a quick revival Mr Jaydeep of The Park opines that leisure travel will bounce back earlier than corporate travel. He also urges guests to cooperate and appreciate the efforts hoteliers are taking to keep them safe.