In countries around the world, millions of people – now fully-vaxxed and relaxed - are emerging from the stagnation of lockdown, and booking hotel rooms with a 'Roaring Twenties’ fervor. The U.S hotel industry recorded its best performance in 62 weeks at the end of May. Global occupancy reached 46% in April 2021 compared to 13% the year before.
After the most challenging period in recent history, hotels are enthusiastically doling out room keys like confetti. A year of evolving from fumbling with face masks to polished protocols has boosted hotelier’s confidence, and the results have been beyond admirable for an industry that felt the sting more than most.
But cost-saving initiatives, and health and safety measures impacting services like the much-loved hotel buffet, means the traveler experience won’t be the same as it was.
For example, the UK is experiencing a perfect storm of furloughs, a post-Brexit exodus, and a meteoric rise in bookings, leading to staffing shortages. None of this should put a damper on enthusiasm but it helps to prepare your travelers in advance, to ensure they get the best out of their first hotel stay.
We’re all in this together
If a company has not previously introduced a tool to solicit hotel reviews from travelers, encourage them to use tools such as CWT Hotel Reviews to help provide leading indicators to gaps in service levels that can be proactively addressed, helping hotels to adapt to the new normal faster.
Travel arrangers should stay in contact with partners who can help you to make sense of trends and opportunities. With the help of industry experts, you can identify evolving risks and opportunities as travel volumes return, adapting as the market evolves, listening to travelers’ feedback, and adjusting your hotel programs to suit. Program optimization will not be a once-a-year phenomenon anymore.
It’s critical that travel managers continue emphasizing the importance of booking in channel for duty-of-care reasons, but also so that companies can make progress on issues that were important for travelers pre-pandemic, such as sustainability, wellbeing and seamless travel experiences.
Read the fine print
Help your travelers avoid the disappointment of packing a swimsuit only to find the pool closed by advising them to review guidelines and amenities prior to booking. Ensuring travelers have the most up-to-date information will limit the amount of surprises and challenges during their travel.
It’s an exciting time for travelers, travel arrangers and hoteliers alike. A collaborative attitude, data-driven insight and effective communication with your travelers, will help usher the return and evolution of something we’ve all been longing for: A night away from our own four walls.
Blog author: Derek Sharp, SVP & Chief Operating Officer, RoomIt, CWT