Hotels & Vacation Rentals at COVID19 Unchartered Waters
The tourism industry is going through times of great uncertainty with no prediction possible. The coronavirus pandemic has shut down the local economies, with tourism destinations and accommodations empty at the start of what looked like a promising summer season in Europe.
Travel businesses struggling to survive, dealing with a massive wave of cancellations and refunds, investments in the industry failing and millions of unemployed holidaymakers around the globe.
Travel shock after tremendous tourism growth
Our team is based in Greece, a country which has seen continuous growth in tourism year after year. The economy is heavily dependent on tourism (1 in 5 jobs are in tourism).
The growth brought many benefits in the local economy of Greece with unemployment starting to decrease and innovative services starting to appear.
One can only imagine the scale of destruction in the economy, despite government pledges about securing employment and businesses. This is something that is not yet visible in the media but felt by many business owners and entrepreneurs in Greece’s tourism industry.
The COVID19 aftermath is massive. Government imposed shutdowns and cancellations worth billions of euros, businesses struggling to provide refunds and unemployment reaching unprecedented levels. Airlines and other international transport companies severely impacted and already some have not survived the crisis. The local transport industry has also suffered a major blow as a direct consequence.
So many travel & transport businesses shut with many not able to say if they will reopen, given the highly unlikely scenario of tourism returning to Greece this season.
At this time the greek government and governments in all countries where tourism is a major part of the economy are drawing up new rules on international arrivals and social distancing measures in hotels, restaurants and other places of interest. Whether travellers will want to visit destinations with such measures in place is far from certain.
There is even talk of extreme social distancing measures like installing plexiglass separators on organized beaches (can’t imagine how will that feel during heatwaves of more than 37-38 degrees Celsius.
The new facets of recreational travel
Logic implies what will possibly change in traveler behaviour. Apart from accommodation specific issues, travelers are also worried about flight, airport, and other transport hub conditions.
- Avoiding air travel & crowded airport hubs
- Inflight conditions
- Avoiding peak tourism periods
- Avoiding overcrowded destinations
- Requiring new standards and certifications on cleaning & sanitation
- Quick/automated check-ins with limited host interaction
Airlines are transforming, cutting costs, firing staff and even scraping older aircrafts in desperate attempts to survive. The entire tourism industry is following developments in order to establish what air travel will look like a few months from now.
Governments are trying to inject billions into rescuing plans just for airlines. They are one of the most essential backbones of the tourism industry and understandably the stakes are very high for everyone involved. Nothing can be predicted at this time. Will tourism remain an affordable commodity?
It’s back to the drawing board for surviving travel businesses
Truth is that there will not be a better time to improve your hotel or vacation rental business. The future may be uncertain at this time so going back to the drawing board to improve and financially sustain your business is critical. There are definite and less obvious plans of action.
The key concept everyone in the travel industry is currently thinking about is financial sustainability and profitability. Resources (human, financial) need to be realigned to the new reality to be able to get past the current crisis and prepare better for the future, however uncertain it may seem.
Traveler behaviour will definitely change for the next few years at least. Cleaning and sanitation are now key areas of improvement for hotels and vacation rentals. Major OTAs are already looking into ways to educate hosts on these issues and there have been several announcements already about new cleaning protocols.
Each accommodation has its own unique features, facilities and amenities which dictate the direction to be followed during and after the crisis. Obviously there is no “one-size fits all” solution.
GuestLikeLocal.com very important for future growth in hotel & vacation rental revenues and profit
GuestLikeLocal was developed to improve profitability based on highly valued recommendations hosts were making to their guests without earning anything in return. With lower revenues due to competition (before the coronavirus crisis) and even lower predicted post COVID19, the platform is a crucial tool to drive revenue & profitability growth.
Hosts can easily create a shop for their hotel or vacation rental property and integrate a link in guest communications. There are many issues to be settled once a guest makes a reservation. Arrival time, special requirements, payment & invoicing, cleaning & housekeeping are just a few. Hosts can’t upsell products and services easily and that’s where GuestLikeLocal.com comes in very handy.
The hosts can focus on their daily business and how to improve it, rather than upselling services.
On the other hand, guests rely heavily on host recommendations for in-destination experiences, transport help, restaurant recommendations and of course local products to try. By discovering multiple products and services which would have required tens if not hundreds of messages to be exchanged with the host, their experience is upgraded even before their arrival at the destination.