Hospitality industry aims for consumer trust amid new safety standards
AS quarantine restrictions around the world begin to cautiously lift following the deep impact brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, the hospitality industry is working to restore consumer confidence and bring guests to their doors.
It is very much a leap into the great unknown though, in striving to strike a balance between a comfortable and welcoming place to stay without feeling like being in a hospital while trusting that every safety standard possible has been put in place, and the industry’s leaders are looking towards tourism first to reboot their businesses.
The hospitality industry is known for establishing a personalised and human connection for its guests, but the brave new, post-pandemic world demands a more socially distant manner, the absence of crowding in public spaces and plenty of space between guests and locals. The USA’s Cornell School of Hotel Administration Dean, Kate Walsh believes that the industry’s recovery hinges on conveying trust to bring guests back to their doors.
“The long and short of it is, at the moment, we don’t know what the tolerance level is from a guest expectation standpoint, said Kate Walsh. “What I think the AHLA (American Hotel and Lodging Association) and all the brands are doing is to say, ‘we want to convey trust that we are offering a safe product that will keep you safe’. That brand promise is going to be essential to building trust and bringing the traveller back.”
Industry owners and operators can expect to book in fewer people to keep their guests safe while initiating unprecedented cleaning protocols and staff training. Ireland’s Clann Hospitality Group Sales & Marketing Manager Andrew Greenslade has been part of a recovery initiative of building consumer trust towards eventual re-opening.
“With the extended downtime rigorous and deep cleaning has taken place and also it has given us time to reflect on our operational procedures,” said Andrew Greenslade. “Guests, our staff and locals in the vicinity of our properties need to feel safe and reassured that we can work with and welcome the number of visitors we have done previously. Whilst government directives still need to be clear we are looking at how we can adapt. Social distancing and a restriction on numbers are two of the main points which will be prominent when operating a hotel.”
What consumers can expect as confidence in their safety emerges is that tourism will lead the way in the hospitality industry, stay-cations dominating at first over business conferences and the mass gatherings they will bring.
As McKinsey & Company’s Global Managing Partner, Kevin Sneader said, “The future is not what it used to be.”