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Effect of Covid on Hotel operations

Author:

CHEF AKSHAY KULKARNI HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT

effect-of-covid-on-hotel-operations

Has COVID–19 affected the hotel industry? I would be lying if I said no. This pandemic has had terrible consequences on the hotel industry with workforces being forced to sit at home on lengthy furloughs. A lot of hotels and businesses have fully shut, and the challenges of the industry make the headlines every few days. Newspapers have featured multiple articles in their columns, and we have thousands of videos being circulated about this pandemic and the effect it has had on hotels, and the people working there.

effect-of-covid-on-hotel-operations

Although I’ve written on this topic, I decided to pen another piece, this one sharing details of a few personal conversations I have had with colleagues and friends in the hospitality ecosystem.

Let’s begin at home, the City of Pearls – Hyderabad. When the initial lockdown was announced, it seemed like a short break. We all thought it would end soon, in a month or two. During this period, administrations and managements of hotels tried to retain all their employees as a goodwill gesture, but with no end in sight, hoteliers and managements were forced into making tough decisions. This worsened as there was no respite given by the government and, by now, paying rent and electricity without business meant savings were all but depleted. A lot of ventures succumbed to the survival pressure during these time and shut their doors. This is true not only for hotels, but restaurants, bars and breweries as well. Even the catering business took a huge hit as gatherings were banned. This same story is echoed by my hotelier friends all over the country. Bigger brands have tried to retain all their staff, and have it a little easier owing to their other business verticals. However, not everyone in the Indian hotel workforce works at these brands.

A past student of mine currently works as a catering manager for a chain of hotels in Vancouver, Canada, where the government has ensured permanent residents of the country working in the hospitality sector will be paid minimum wage for three months. This scheme is expected to extend for another three months if the same situation prevails. A lot of European countries and their respective governments have also ensured hospitality workers get taken care of during this pandemic – although, the Indian government has made no such guarantees increasing the uncertainty around our ecosystem.

While COVID-19 has definitely affected the hotel industry, becoming a hotel/kitchen professional is definitely not a dead end career. Human beings are social animals and when this pandemic passes, we will see hotels blooming back to normal business again. A few already have and COVID-19 has also given rise to a different sort of restaurant food business. My classmate during my hotel management studies, Chef Nirup Murthy, who currently runs the ‘Spice’ restaurant in Australia, said this during our conversation:

“In Australia, the virus situation is escalating with more cases every day. What is happening to the hotel industry is that more businesses are closing down. Hotels have had to let go of staff and some staff members even went on voluntary breaks. Since ‘Spice’ is my own kitchen, we were able to quickly change the way we operate. Now we take food orders over a phone and collect digital payments – a contactless process. Being an early mover here really changed our business. Where we had a 20-30% decrease in business during April and May, we’re seeing more business than in the pre-COVID days for June and July. The trend we observed was that people started perceiving eating out and ordering as a refreshing luxury. That’s why I think that small businesses are doing quite well during COVID-19 - especially takeaway restaurants.”

Recently, Sriram Kailasam, Managing Director, Banyan Tree Hotels, Thailand shared a CNBC interview of Mr. Ho Kwon Ping, the Executive Chairman of Banyan Tree hotels in Thailand. (https://youtu.be/BYI_aAZW-5s). With a smile on his face, Mr. Ping says “this crisis has hit harder than any others”, before continuing on to say that luckily our industry is in better shape than aviation and tourism.
But being luckier doesn’t mean tough decisions weren’t taken. Although the hotel chain was forced to lay off 20% of their active workforce, Banyan Tree Hotels created a portal to save all resumes for future employment. Mr. Ping added “these people will be the first to be recruited back when the situation becomes better, and we are even open to sharing their profiles with other companies for them to hire.”

COVID-19 has definitely brought about many changes in the ways a hotel operates. There is a new normal which has come into effect and this playbook is one which is continually evolving. The year 2020 has undoubtedly been a rough one, but all we can do right now is hope and pray for an early return in 2021. Stay safe and eat well.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2020 BrandCai

Comments

Sai kalyan on December 26, 2020:

Worthfull chef .

I wish the pandemic should end soon , and we should not be in this kind of situation in the future .

Hard days ........

Priya Bothra on December 26, 2020:

Well said Chef

Amazing article...

Madni chini on December 26, 2020:

Thankyou for sharing your insights chef, it was really helpful.Once a chef, always a chef! No doubt.

Sunisha K S on December 26, 2020:

Brilliant article Chef!

Thankyou for writing this article.

I am grateful that we have such a strong voice in our college.

This too shall pass

Stay safe.

Sivaraj T on December 26, 2020:

The article is very helpful for every hotelier in industry.

Hope from 2021 we can get back with a bang!

Samarth on December 26, 2020:

Amazing chef!!

Abhinav Ranjan on December 26, 2020:

Thank you chef for presenting this wonderful article.

Radhakrishna on December 26, 2020:

Wow!

Anusha Joshi on December 26, 2020:

Very well said chef

Shaun on December 26, 2020:

Thank you chef for your message in this article.... Let's hope that all industries are able to bounce back after this situation ends....

Shiladityadutta on December 26, 2020:

Worth Reading Chef.

Syed Ouzair Salman on December 26, 2020:

Thank you chef! for sharing ur views and detailed information of current situation of the hotels during pandemic

It's boost our minds for future activities , hopefully everything gets better soon !!!

Chokkapu Dasaradha Naidu on December 26, 2020:

Thank you chef for presenting this wonderful article.

I find that the article was very useful and interesting. As the pandemic has confronted the hospitality industry with an unprecedented challenge.

We hope that at least this new year will bring us a great change in this 2021

Nv DINESH on December 26, 2020:

I find this article very useful for me. This article clears all my questions which is in my mind related to our industry.

ABHISHEK AGARWAL on December 26, 2020:

This article is an eye-opener for current situation.

We will bounce back and we are praying for 2021 will be better.

Yoshita Thakur on December 26, 2020:

Thankyou for sharing your insights chef, it was really helpful.Once a chef, always a chef! No doubt.

Monika on December 26, 2020:

The article is the present situation but we are we will bounce back strong in near future soon

Shreya jaikanth on December 26, 2020:

The article illuminates the current situation thoroughly. Many thanks chef! Hoping to come back stronger and better in 2021.

Manish bajaj on December 26, 2020:

I find this article very useful for me. This article clears all my questions which is in my mind related to our industry.

Thank

Harsh yadav on December 26, 2020:

Thank you chef ! For letting us know the current situation about hospitality industry .

Abhijit Banik on December 26, 2020:

Fact of the matter said by chef akshay that human being is a social animal and we tend to socialize.. Thats completely true according human tendency.. Therefore as a culinary student i am postive about the current situation and i am sure will bounce back. Stay safe... Thanks chef for your inputs great help for fact and motivation..

Shivani Kulkarni on December 26, 2020:

Very well worded. Amazing article. ✨

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