Steps Hotels can take to Reduce Business Impact of COVID-19

As expected, after a month of the COVID-19 spread, the hospitality industry is facing an unprecedented crisis through the coronavirus pandemic. Some experts describe it as the most challenging times the industry has ever encountered.

Group cancellation rates are soaring across a 90-120 day booking window for the US/North America, Asia Pacific and Europe regions. The highest cancellation rate is in Asia Pacific with 90%, while a 40% cancellation rate for events and meetings was reported by U.S./North America hotels, followed by Europe/UK with 53%.

Group Cancellations by region: 90-120 Day Booking Window (March 2020)

Region

Cancellation Rate

US

40%

Europe/UK

52%

Asia Pacific

90%

Hoteliers must have access to information, analyse and plan ahead when encountering challenging operating conditions, especially when facing a crisis like COVID-19. Looking at the search lead time on Google, we can see that travellers continue to show travel intent. They may not be booking as quickly, but they are looking towards future travel, with increased interest later in the year.

Source: Google Trends

This is a good sign for hotels, to plan and ensure they have everything it takes, from operating tools to marketing strategies, to generate revenue in the near future.

So, What Short Term Pro-active Steps can Hotels take to Reduce Group Business Impact of COVID-19?

It is fair to expect that recovery will follow the same path of the virus: Asia Pacific to Europe to U.S./North America. The situation will likely get worse before it gets better.

Hoteliers can brace themselves for group cancellations into Q2 and slowed new booking velocity for Q2/Q3. Hotel owners need to be prepared for the reduction in group business using “proactive” sales and marketing strategies focused on transient and smaller local meetings.

While it may seem like the hospitality industry is currently in trouble, there will likely be a boom in bookings and a rush of travellers when the coronavirus has passed. While hotel managers are at a current pause in business, now is a great time to prepare and consider an in-depth dive review of existing tools and more cost-efficient solutions.

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