COVID-19: India impact | Will Airbnb survive?

How India hotels, tourism are impacted 

Horwath HTL India has conducted a sentiment survey of Indian hotel industry leaders and hotel managers to understand the depth of the impact of COVID-19 crisis, mitigating measures applied to limit the fallout and the areas requiring supportive measures. Key takeaways include:

•   32% of the respondents feel that impact will last for more than six months, while 33% feel the impact will last only for three months

•   A majority of respondents think that impact is “much worse” than any other major crisis

•   87% believe that the occupancy impact for H1 2020 will be greater than a 30% decline, compared with H1 2019; 56% of respondents expect ADR decline of between 10% to 30%

•   85% of respondents expect total revenue to drop by over 30%

•   The majority of respondents think domestic business and leisure travel is likely to hold up; significant fall is expected in foreign business and leisure travel

•   To tackle COVID-19 in the immediate term, respondents believe that most important will be to undertake cost control measures and ensure guest and staff safety

•   GST waiver, tax rebates, loan moratorium are among top three elements identified as support from government/authorities

Additionally, India’s tourism sector may lose ?5 trillion (US$66 billion) due to the pandemic, writes Live Mint. In New Delhi, the coronavirus pandemic would have a debilitating impact on India’s tourism sector. Of the total losses, the organized sector in the industry — branded hotels, tour operators, travel agencies — may be hit the hardest.

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What does Airbnb look like post-virus?

Homesharing company Airbnb already has missed its chance this year for an initial public offering and has racked up millions in losses, including a US$250 million payout to landlords for reservations cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The once-touted disruptor is seeing a collapse in bookings, as hosts who once relied on income-generating properties to pay bills are now seeing a huge drop in business, writes The Guardian. In a bid to save US$800 million, the company has suspended all marketing activity for 2020 and given executives a 50% pay cut.

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How to transform a hotel room to help COVID-19 patients

As hospitals around the country prepare for an increased number of coronavirus patients and potential bed shortages, hotel rooms and dorms are becoming alternative housing for coronavirus patients with less severe symptoms. But what does it look like to successfully transform a hotel room into a proper space to treat COVID-19 patients? To handle patients with more serious COVID-19 symptoms, the Army Corps recommends adding the following to rooms: a bedside table or a cabinet that can hold a ventilator, an over-bed table or tray for patients, a mobile work station for medical personnel, an IV stand, a linen hamper for soiled items, a puncture-proof box for needles and gloves, a receptacle for infectious waste and a hand sanitizer station. It also recommends several more labor-intensive changes, including adding privacy curtains near the front door, removing carpet to cut down on contamination, installing vinyl flooring and adding electrical outlets and emergency backup power.

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A hopeful message from Jerry Inzerillo

Inzerillo, the vice chairman of Forbes Travel Guide, is also working in Saudi Arabia as CEO of the Diriyah Gate Development Authority. On Friday, he appeared in a Forbes Travel Guide video giving a much-needed emotional boost to an industry in major crisis. “During this crisis time of the pandemic of coronavirus, there’s going to be pain, there’s going to be suffering. What I will say is that, ‘We will overcome this,’” he said. “People will travel. Travel is essential to the human spirit.”

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15,000 U.S. hotels pledge to support health care workers

Over 15,000 hotels have signed up for a new initiative from the American Hotel and Lodging Association, which identifies hotel properties that have offered to provide temporary housing for emergency and health care workers as the COVID-19 health crisis grows. While the program will primarily focus on housing for the health care community, some hotels could potentially be used as “alternative care sites” such as an emergency hospital or place for those quarantined to stay if needed. The group’s “Hospitality for Hope” initiative was created to help employees, communities across the country, and the industry during the ongoing health crisis. Already, the plan has identified a total combined 2.3 million rooms located in close proximity to established health care facilities.

Booking lead time behavior in China

China-based Shiji Distribution Solutions published an analysis of booking volumes and changes in lead time between booking date and arrival date in China. For the period of January 1 to March 31, 2020, here are some details:

• Before the epidemic, 70% of reservations were for 0-7 days ahead and 25% were 8-30 days ahead

• After the epidemic, 90% of reservations are for 0-7 days ahead and 5% for 8-30 days ahead

• The biggest change in behavior is that bookings are more last-minute

• Recovery continues at approximately 30% increase per week

• Room nights booked are currently at 36% of pre-epidemic average