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Once the Covid lockdown measures are almost completely gone, guests will still need assurance that hospitality properties have taken the necessary steps to ensure on-site safety, but these steps could be harmful to revenues.

Here’s how to balance with post-Covid measures.

Welcome to another edition of Hospitality Property School.
I am your instructor, Gerry MacPherson.
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Post-COVID Measures Intro

Guests largely choose the properties they intend to stay at based upon emotional factors.

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What this means is that when non-staycation travel starts to ramp back up, numerous guests will suffer from what is best defined as ‘post-coronavirus stress disorder’ (PCSD), and to alleviate PCSD or any other sanitization-related anxieties, hospitality properties will need to be scrupulous in their approach to both guest room and public area cleanliness.

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Other measures might include:

  • Asking to see guest Covid passports or positive test results

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  • Having all employees wear the appropriate PPE

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  • Putting hand sanitizer stations everywhere

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  • Extensive deep cleaning of every room after check-out

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  • Room occupancy buffers before the next check-in

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  • Taking visitors’ temperatures before entry

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  • Clearly marking off six-foot distances for waiting lines

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  • Erecting plastic barriers to cordon off certain areas

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  • Increasing the spacing between all dining tables, etc.
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Long after the pandemic has run its course, many of these Covid-specific safety protocols may switch from having a positive emotional effect – that is, relief, peace of mind and trust in the property – to a more negative effect reminding people all they have endured during this bizarre period.
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Smart hoteliers and innkeepers will have to take all the correct steps to ensure guest safety while keeping in mind that many of these steps are conditional in that guests won’t want to see any such reminders as the pandemic passes.

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Post-Covid measures to balance guest demands

High-end properties have been providing white-glove service and practising a respectful distance to their guests for decades. Modifying these practices to fit into your property could not only ensure a safe environment but improve the customer experience.
You need to look at this time as an opportunity for change, to implement fresh ideas and renew your services.
Let’s look at the possibilities.

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What the future will look like after the lockdown

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1. Cleanliness scores

In the past two decades, social media service scores and customer ranking of hospitality properties have had a major impact on how they are perceived by the public. Going forward, cleanliness will have more of an impact. Properties that have the highest cleanliness scores will be in higher demand by the public.

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2. Cleaning methods

The public and many governments will demand higher and more transparent cleaning standards. The idea that the same cloth can be used to clean several surfaces will not cut it anymore. The industry must do better, and perceptions need to change.

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3. Room certifications

Guests will be demanding clean rooms, so we have to come up with ways to guarantee that our rooms are germ-free. Once it becomes affordable for properties of all sizes, I can see the use of a UV robot to sanitize rooms similar to many hospitals. This type of service, properly marketed could justify a higher rate.

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4. Have clear SMART goals

For the past decade, experts in the technology industry have been using the term “exponential technology”. This refers to both the rapid improvements in cost and performance. For example, the power of a computer chip doubles nearly every 18 months. Plus there’s the exponential rate of adoption among users. For example, when the landline was invented, it took 75 years to gain 50 million users. The mobile phone reached the 50-million-user mark in just 12 years.
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated an already accelerated rate of tech adoption in the hospitality property industry. Smart capacities and services that were previously considered add-ons to the guest experience will quickly become part of the post-pandemic measures.

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5. GOPPAR index

The focus will shift from REVPAR index to GOPPAR (dividing the gross operating profit (GOP) by the number of available rooms in a property) index. Owners will demand greater transparency and the only way this can be delivered is by comparing the performance of your property to a competitive set. The future will demand more transparency and the properties that get in front of this will be rewarded.

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6. Financial leadership

The future belongs to the hospitality properties that drive financial leadership skills into all areas of the operation. Having leaders that know how to manage their payroll and expenses and flex those against business levels will be paramount to success.

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Do these make sense so far? Let me know in the comments.

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7. Expect a shift in brand loyalty

We will see consumer behaviour shifting the loyalty focus to individuals they know and trust. You have to give your property an individual, a person and a face that resonates with the local community your business is situated within and thereby the extended reach.

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8. Engage with your team

Engage in frank and open conversations with all stakeholders, suppliers, customers and third parties as part of your team. Engage them in your property’s story to generate new ideas to reinvent your property’s operating cycle.

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9. Communicate flexibility

o help instil traveller confidence and financial peace of mind, lodging providers should clearly communicate flexibility across all channels – from websites and advertising to traveller communications and on-property. This may include offering full refunds and cancellations or flexible reservation and date-change policies.

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10. Target the right traveller

Hoteliers and innkeepers should develop targeted offers or promotions that appeal to different generations. Although, pandemic travel has been driven by a variety of reasons, the leading ones being the change of scenery or to see family or friends, strategic travel is especially popular with younger generations and may inspire future trips. Additionally, younger generations are expected to be at the forefront of driving accommodation demand back to pre-pandemic levels, so lodging providers should consider their role in short-term marketing strategies and look at targeting other generations with longer-lead messaging or offers.  

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11. Reviews matter

As I referred to earlier, online reviews have long played a role in informing traveller decisions, but they will be even more important for future travel planning. According to a 2020 Expedia Group study, nearly three-quarters of travellers read reviews before booking a property and consider reviews about “room cleanliness” and “overall condition of the hotel” as the most influential. 

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What Post-Covid Measures After the Lockdown Will Look Like | Ep. #263

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If you are a member of the Hospitality Property School Group, about as a bonus, I am going to share the dos and don’ts of successful guest data collection.

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In conclusion

Leaders in the hospitality property sector have a duty upon them. The duty to bring about a change in the way property’s are staffed and operated all over the world. Now, I understand that each region may have its own nuances and commercial compulsions which may not allow for a one size fits all solution, but every property must critically look inwards and must transform into a leaner and fitter incarnation of itself.
One thing is for sure, this is our wake-up call and things are going to change BIG TIME.

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What Post Covid Measures are you considering for your property?
Let me know in the comments.

 

You will have access to this episode for the next six weeks and then it’s locked in the vault for Hospitality Property School Group members only.

To see all the other valuable material you’d have access to as a member of the Hospitality Property School Group, check out the short video in the episode post-show notes.

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What Post-Covid Measures After the Lockdown Will Look Like | Ep. #263

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In the next episode, I will talk about Building You Guests Trust.

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That’s it for today’s episode,

Until next time, have a fun day.

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Are you getting your weekly INNsider Tips? You can find the link in the show notes.

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TO READ OR LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE ON KEYSTONE HOSPITALITY PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT:

https://keystonehpd.com/what-post-covid-measures-after-the-lockdown-will-look-like-263

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Post COVID-19 Action Plan → KeystoneHPD.com/PostCovid19ActionPlan.

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Post COVID-19 Action Plan

KeystoneHPD.com/PostCovid19ActionPlan 

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