Planning for a reset post-COVID-19

The global hotel industry is experience stress at levels never seen before. While many owners and operators are still in triage mode, they are starting to consider how to best position their properties and portfolios work when markets start to recover.

HOTELS reached out to readers to ask them for some of their best ideas for managing through the crisis, what changes to operations could become permanent when the markets reset. We also asked how they are best managing their teams now and their own lives at an unprecedented moment in time.

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Getty Images

Over the next four days, we will present some of their thoughts and ideas in a Q&A format. Here is the first set of responses.

HOTELS: Assuming an opportunity to “reset” when business starts to return after COVID-19 calms, what one change would you like to make to your business?

Puneet Chhatwal, managing director, CEO, The Indian Hotels Co. Ltd., Mumbai

“A key learning from the ongoing crisis and a change I would like to bring about in our ways of working is to institutionalize a permanent cognitive task force whose responsibility shall be to constantly monitor and assess risks and opportunities, factoring in global volatility and potential challenges to business through various scenarios including health, natural or other disasters. This will enable us to be proactively prepared for exigencies and become the global benchmark of business excellence.”

Geoff Ballotti, president, CEO, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Parsippany, New Jersey

“We need to provide more services and training to our franchisees to help them grow their businesses as rapidly as possible when we emerge from the crisis.”

Laurence Geller, chairman, Geller Capital Partners, Chicago

“Revert back to the 2009/10 protocols and not let anyone (GMs, chains, channels of distribution) do the endless slow creep in amenities, people, layers of management, facilities, standards, brand standards and programs without commensurate reductions elsewhere. The creep kills us!”

Paul Leone, CEO, The Breakers, Palm Beach, Florida

“I expect that we will devote even more attention to all matters involving hygiene. We have incredibly high standards but we plan to implement and sustain even higher hygiene standards.”

Erastmus Radjimin, CEO, Artotel Group, Jakarta

“The mindset. We have this unique opportunity to re-strategize and reorganize all aspects of our business, including our operations, to ensure a better outcome.”

Michael Doyle, managing director, executive vice president, CHMWarnick, Beverly, Massachusetts

“In the short term, we will be rethinking how to relaunch our F&B operations — what those will look like, and how we can make them more efficient going forward. Long term, we would reevaluate our service delivery and reposition F&B.”

Steve Kirby, managing principal, Mumford Co., Buford, Georgia

“Stay closer to our frequent stay guests.”

Mark Lomanno, partner, Kalibri Labs, Rockville, Maryland

“It’s a real opportunity to change the whole distribution dynamic. Take out as many of the layers between the guests and the hotel.”

Ashley Venturini, director of business development, Bamo, San Francisco

“Shifting processes to continue to improve our remote design capabilities. While we already have a seamless remote communication strategy, much of our actual design work requires us to be in the studio and library.”

Shunsuke Yamamoto, chairman, Mystays Hotel Management, Tokyo

“We need to diversify our segment mix more at many of our hotels. Domestic business demand was relatively resilient while inbound from certain countries fell off very quickly.”

Scott Dyde, director, Sala Design Group, Singapore

“We will issue safety travel packs consisting of face mask and alcohol gel to team members when they travel.”

Jan Kuehnemann, managing member, Kuehnemann Business Advisors, Dallas

“Revisit all F&B offerings – especially free breakfast buffets in select-service hotels – making shift to grab bags permanent.”