The effects that this pandemic has brought with it are more than notorious: from depopulated airports to intact rooms; cancellation of reservations; interrupted vacation plans; deferred flights and, of course, hundreds and hundreds of jobs at risk of extinction, as has already been seen with many other tourism jobs, not only in Mexico but in the world.
From the first appearance of the coronavirus until now, experts in the tourism field have not stopped speculating and measuring what the balance could be, at a monetary level, at the end of 2020.
At the end of February, Gloria Guevara, president of the World Travel and Tourism Council, in an interview for the news portal The world, spoke of the global impact of COVID-19 on tourism; He said that if only China stopped traveling, it would deprive the world of no less than $ 22 billion. This information has been repeated by Guevara after days and in different media: it is calculations made between WTTC and Oxford Economics, based on the experience of the SARS or H1N1 crises.
But as the virus travels, the news is also getting old and out of date in a matter of days. More recently, the ravages of the outbreak have come to be equated with the terrorist attacks of September 11, a defining date, no doubt: only for airlines, in 2001, revenues decreased by 7% ($ 23 billion), while in 2020 they could fall to a 20% (between $ 63 billion and $ 113 billion). These data have been issued by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
What changes are speculated after COVID-19?
Surely there will be some reluctance on the part of people, which perhaps, at first, makes them not feel so safe about traveling for pleasure and staying in hotels. But experts say that, unlike the options offered by Airbnb, Hotels will earn confidence points if they follow the correct cleaning measures that inspire security in their guests. Another significant change will be the drop in prices to the public, at least as the confidence of travelers is restored and they decide to leave, not only for work or necessity, but for pleasure; the rest of the adjustments must be generated by the hotel industry itself. And the best part: you can start now.
Towards a post-COVID-19 future
Although it is worrying to further accentuate the health, economic and fear crisis that we are experiencing today, it is important that the hotel industry stay well informed to take due precautions and unleash their creativity.
But first it is necessary to understand that this is something transitory. Action must be taken to raise better scenarios for the future, and trust that that future will come in the short term.
How to develop creative strategies?
We encourage hotels to prevent risks, but also to create strategies with a view to a near and healthy future, in which we can see in perspective (and with one hand on our hips) the before and after of COVID-19.
Be flexible on change and cancellation policies
Flexibility is a show of solidarity with your clients. Many hotels, including airlines, have already taken steps to eliminate or reduce charges for changes or cancellations in reservations.
The elimination of penalties, at this time, is a sign of understanding and support for guests, even a way to retain your customers, especially when a large part of the governments have closed borders.
Offers benefits that customers can get after the crisis
It offers outstanding offers that can be obtained now and enjoyed later. This past April 4, GuruHotel launched the campaign Save Indie Hotels, an initiative that seeks to support independent Mexican hotels and the health sector, through the online marketing of gift cards. Thus, anyone interested in taking a break can enjoy a stay with their family and loved ones once the crisis is over. These cards can be exchanged during 2021.
Given that the impact that the coronavirus outbreak is leaving is unprecedented, many of the changes and solutions that the hotel industry will experience will obtain their own name as time progresses. The truth is the hotel sector is not going to disappear, it will only transform.
We know that, for now, 'tourism' and 'social distancing' are not compatible words. But if we see this crisis as a prelude to new ways to build a stronger community and create a closer relationship between companies and customers, then we will have gained a lot.