21 Jul Post Covid 19 Hotel Practices
Recent disruptions in hotel occupancies and rates due to the Covid 19 pandemic have caused many limited and select service hotels to suspend daily housekeeping and, where applicable, hot breakfasts. In many cases housekeeping is an Opt-in elective. With the recovery, in some cases occupancy and rate have improved to near or are exceeding pre pandemic levels. It is not uncommon for hotel companies and some franchisees to capitalize on these trends to increase their NOI. The last year has been extremely hard on the industry and it is understandable that owners and hotel companies would seek to repair their balance sheets. Nevertheless, as normal travel resumes, and demand increases so will competition as well as customers’ expectations.
While few patrons choose lodging based on breakfast offerings, many check reviews and comments associated with cleanliness and service as an integral part of the booking process. The industry is in uncharted water however, increasing near term financial performance may be counter- productive. Unfavorable reviews and dissatisfied customers and their online presence are long lasting and may have a negative impact on the long-term health of the asset.
Ray Kroc understood that cleanliness in the hospitality industry often influences patrons’ attitudes over the quality of the primary offering of the business. McDonalds is synonymous with cleanliness and product consistency. I worked for Steve Craig who owns numerous factory outlet malls and who is a an extremely successful retail operator. While he is focused on the overall cleanliness of his centers, he is particularly careful to make sure his outlet malls have bathroom facilities with fresh flowers, full stall doors, stone surfaces, and are the equivalent of a five-star hotel’s facilities. He has full time cleaners whose sole job is to make sure the bathrooms are cleaned regularly.
It is almost a certainty that hotel performance will revert to the long-term mean. Cutting budgets that affect the cleanliness and important services that differentiate your property or properties over your competitors should be evaluated and re-evaluated on a regular basis. Staying ahead of the curve will be critical. As the Romans used to say “ Periculum In Mora” (danger in delay).