COVID-19: The new customer journey | Buy a test from this hotel company

Hospitality urged to embrace new customer journey

According to the latest research from HSMAI Europe that came out of a recent webinar, more than three quarters of the company’s membership surveyed believe that customer experience, rather than profitability, will be a core focus for the rest of 2020 and 2021. Other research highlights include:

•   43% of respondents stated that guests will only stay again at hotels if there are strict coronavirus guidelines. As part of the customer journey, establishing, implementing, communicating and executing protocols to ensure safe and hygienic experiences should be guaranteed.

•   29% of respondents believe that customers will only book direct with their trusted brands. Expectation management has thus never been more critical. Setting the right expectations before arrival will not only make sure guests will be more likely to accept the measures taken by the property or brand but also increase their overall satisfaction.

•   36% of respondents stated that a contactless stay empowered by technology will be the new standard (e.g., during check-in, check-out and for ordering food).

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Dorsett will sell government-recognized tests

Hong Kong-based Dorsett Hospitality International will be the first hotel group to partner with a genetic testing and digital health company to offer a COVID-19 test to the local community, associates and hotels guests. The test is recommended by the World Health Organization and officially recognized by the Hong Kong government. Dorsett has test kits available for purchase at its nine hotels in Hong Kong for HK$785 (US$101) with results available within one to two business days. The hotel group will be sponsoring over 50% off of each COVID-19 test for all their associates and in some instances, full sponsorships of COVID-19 test kits, should testing be required for any hotel staff.

Traveling can increase COVID-19: Study

Academics from Harvard University, Princeton University and the National Bureau of Economic Research, in collaboration with SafeGraph, a geospatial data company, released a study examining the impact of mobility and travel on the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. The study found a statistically significant association between traveling and the spread of COVID-19. On average, a 10% decline in travel mobility is associated with a 17% to 27% drop in cases per person. Other findings include:

•   Areas with less travel suffered lower COVID-19 cases, with total COVID-19 cases per capita decreasing on average by 20% for every 10% fall in mobility.

•   For remote workers specifically, there was a somewhat larger average decline of COVID-19 cases per capita of 27%.

•   These impacts were more salient in well-connected metropolitan areas like New York City, Boston and Philadelphia, and less impactful in more isolated regions like Atlanta and Chicago. People whose jobs require them to leave their homes are more likely to get COVID-19, and, at least in New York City, are more likely to die.

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Korean luxury hotels offer day-use packages

Luxury hotels in Korea have broken some of their exclusiveness to make revenue amid absence of tourists by packaging day-use deals to draw customers. InterContinental Seoul COEX introduced a half-day package during summer to draw users for hotel swimming pools and auxiliary facilities without having to stay overnight. The day pass will give access to the facilities for up to 12 hours starting at 8 a.m. Millennium Hilton Seoul is offering a similar day-use deal, allowing guests who check in in the morning to stay up to eight hours and use the swimming pool, spa and other facilities.

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Potential impact on fixed versus variable hotel expense ratios

CBRE believes there will be an increase in outsourced labor across the industry as extended-stay, limited-service and focused-service hotels adopt outsourcing practices for several operating departments. From observations within different markets, according to CBRE research, some of the key operational positions that remain actively working are the general manager and either a housekeeping, security or front desk supervisor. Similarly, full-service hotels are operating with limited personnel and amenities. There is also the potential for the hotel room itself to be reimagined to have fewer touch points in an effort to promote a safer and more sanitary product.

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The state of the wellness-driven vacation

Nearly 4,000 consumers from 48 countries and territories responded to a consumer survey from the Wellness Tourism Association, revealing their motivations for taking a wellness-driven vacation as the industry begins to recover. Respondents were 54% female with 73% between the ages 26 to 74, with close to 78% indicating they already include wellness activities when they travel. Highlights from the survey include: 

•   Over 20% indicated they would be “Extremely Likely” to book a wellness-driven vacation within the next two years

•   Over 24% indicated that wellness “could” or “will” be the focus of their next trip