The Covid-19 pandemic enters its third year. Hoteliers are no longer as worried about its impact as they were a year back. In fact, the views expressed at the recently held Americas Lodging Investment Summit in January suggested that the hotel sector is no longer waiting for pre-pandemic circumstances to reappear. Hoteliers are fully adapting to the new reality and they are aware of the fact that hospitality and travel may no longer remain the way it was before 2019. Most hoteliers have now decided to live with the pandemic and carry on with their business.
“It’s now endemic, it’s not a pandemic,” said Burba Hotel Network president Jeff Higley in his opening remarks at the Americas Lodging Investment Summit.
Hotels should stop complaining about the current situation and should become more adaptive and alert to the changing circumstances and needs of the market. Hospitality veterans and experts have to lead by example and guide the whole industry on how to best cope with the current reality. The experienced veterans need to think of getting the whole industry back on its feet.
The fact of the matter is that market conditions are improving worldwide. People have started to travel, travel demand has been steadily and sharply increasing.
“We’re getting through. People want to get together. Demand is coming back, rates are at record highs, capital is going back to the industry,” said Elie Maalouf of IHG Hotels & Resorts.
Some experts are of the view that this is the new ground that hotels must manoeuvre and operate in, and they should not expect a return of pre-pandemic conditions as expecting 2019 numbers or circumstances to return could be very foolish and naive.
It is well known that leisure demand has propelled the recovery of travel, while corporate travel remains significantly lower than pre-pandemic levels. Michael Grove, HotStats’ chief operations officer, believes the hotel guest mix has irreversibly shifted and will not be the same in 2019.
The president and CEO of hotel management business Aimbridge Hospitality, Michael Deitemeyer, said he was pleased by the demand for travel and how recent new pandemic developments seemed to be less disruptive than previously.
“There’s resiliency in that approach of thinking of [Covid] as endemic, and what that means, and how we’re going to live with it, and how we’re going to work going forward,” Deitemeyer said.