Tourist destinations and hotels have talked for many years about offering guests an unrivalled experience. Hotels are not simply about the product, but also the local knowledge and expertise that makes them stand out. Furthermore, the service they offer (especially on the luxury side) is very hands on and ensures guests are made to feel like royalty.
And suddenly all this has changed; certainly for now and perhaps semi permanently. Due to the current unprecedented situation, hotels and destinations have to become COVID19 compliant. This is clearly understandable and will give future guests the confidence that it is safe and hygienic to stay there. Therefore, there may be automatic check in, restaurants wont be open, you will barely see other guests or staff, swimming pools will be closed, rooms wont be cleaned during the stay, beaches will be heavily policed and local restaurants will not be available.
All are sensible and good solutions to the hygiene problem and if guests HAVE to stay then this will help to solve this side of the problem. But who will initially want to stay somewhere like this? Why would I go on a summer holiday and stay in a resort when I can’t do many of the things I and my family love to do? Why would I travel on business and not be able to relax, enjoy the experience and meet other guests etc? The answer is that I will look to save my money, stay local or do my meetings online.
My objective here is not to be pessimistic and critical. However, I think that many hotel operators, tourist destinations and indeed restaurants must think about the experience because ultimately we have a choice whether to travel and we want to enjoy ourselves.
From a commercial perspective, leaders must think about the NEW type of experience. How can I go on holiday or business and still enjoy it? We are, after all, in the leisure and hospitality industry which should offer guests the opportunity to relax, unwind and enjoy.
Perhaps it is easy for me to say but what realistically can be done? Some of my initial and general thoughts below:
- Be transparent and honest with guests. Tell them what is open and what they can do and don’t rely on keeping quiet and hoping for the best. Today, guests will presume that things will be closed.
- Concentrate on in room experience. How can this improve, perhaps by offering better electronic services.
- Offer more virtual or phone assistance via the concierge or other departments.
- Create partnerships with local restaurateurs and vendors to offer guests a local experience that can be delivered in their room even if perhaps they can’t eat in the restaurant itself.
- Create new itineraries and experiences that people can enjoy away from the crowds. Perhaps not new to you but guests will be more interested now than ever in these.
- Offer local guiding so that people can explore the local area in their family groups and keep within social distancing regulations.
- Develop innovative sporting solutions, such as football coaching for kids in very small groups, more table tennis, mini golf, go karting etc.
- Take families and guests to more secluded beaches or parts of your destination that will give them a sense of enjoyment, freedom and confidence.
Sure, it will not be easy but now is the type for leaders to think ‘out of the box.’ Create partnerships with local companies who will be very keen to be back in business.
Ultimately, it will be about being collaborative, proactive and positive and then guests might CHOOSE to come back and your business will start to recover.
Please let me know your thoughts below and reshare.
00 447578 462562