Hospitality Industry During COVID: Where Does it Stand + Hospitality Trends

Angela Barlow

11.04.2020

It’s difficult to find an industry that wasn’t completely upended in the spring of 2020 when COVID-19 hit. While some companies have experienced growth directly from the pandemic—for example, an increase in demand for in-home entertainment services and products lead to Netflix’s subscriber-base soaring and Sony experiencing an inventory shortage with their PS4—many other industries were forced into a standstill. 

One industry in particular that has been adversely affected by COVID is the hospitality industry. Hospitality businesses including hotels, restaurants and bars had to close their doors immediately, without advance warning.  Those fortunate enough to survive the initial lockdown period have now adapted to serving their customers and clients in new ways with extensive safety measures and limited capacity.

Where does the industry stand, and what does the future hold for hospitality businesses? Let’s break it down. 

Hospitality and COVID: 

Let’s start with the good. First, as mentioned, many hospitality companies are opening their doors in a limited capacity, with significant safety protocols in place. Hotel.com outlines all of the safety precautions hotels are taking to ensure those staying in their rooms are kept safe. 

Some of the many precautions include: 

  • Frequent disinfecting of high-touch surfaces and more extensive room cleaning between guests 
  • Hand sanitizer stations throughout
  • Temperature checks for staff
  • Configuring spaces and furniture to allow for social distancing
  • Discontinuing services like valets, spas, and buffet dining
  • Disinfection of Technology touch points including Touchscreens, Payment terminals and Tablets

As of fall 2020, the most optimistic projections for a vaccine point to a mid-2021 rollout. There is every hope an FDA approved vaccine will allow our world to start to get back to a semblance of normalcy, and people will look forward to dining out and traveling regularly.  

Another good indication of the industry’s comeback can be seen through Airbnb’s decision to still go public by year’s end after initially delaying it due to COVID. Airbnb initially took a huge hit from COVID, but with longer-term stays booming, they appear confident enough in the hospitality and travel industry that they are still planning on going public. 

Yet, the most glaring issue going forward is the sheer amount of time it will take for the hospitality industry to get back to pre-COVID levels. According to McKinsey & Company, it may take until 2023 for the industry to fully recover. 

Hotels, theme parks, restaurants, bars, and other hospitality businesses will need to be patient until then.

Hospitality Trends Moving Forward: What We Can Expect to See as the Industry Combats COVID

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While the future may seem uncertain, here are several trends that we can expect in the future, both during and after COVID.

Sanitation protocols will be around long after COVID is eradicated

There is no reason to take a step back from the increase in sanitation measures after a vaccine has been distributed globally. Across the board, industries were long overdue for a sanitation overhaul. Look for the hospitality industry to stick with this trend for the foreseeable future. In particular, limiting contact between employees and customers will be needed—whether at the front desk or point of sales system.

For keeping your shared, Technology touch point surfaces clean and safe for both your employees and customers, reach out to ENS to learn about our UV Clean Solutions

Technology will also utilised to help limit contact between employees and customers. Increased use of Kiosks for check in and ordering. Mobile payment terminals will be utilised in particular for contactless payment. To ensure distance between staff and customers we will see increased use of safe to pay handles. Contact ENS solutions to learn about our Kiosk and Payment terminal solutions

People will initially travel closer to home before venturing out further

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky predicted that local, more intimate travel would gain in popularity as people avoided taking planes for vacations. His prediction has been true. In the U.S., for example, National Park attendance has boomed in recent months. Look for people across the globe to take advantage of adventures that are closer to home instead of traveling internationally.  

Virtual events are here to stay

Hotels often cater to organizations holding events. Hotels now need to make sure they can accommodate in-person events when it becomes safe to do so, as well as make it easy for organizations to include virtual participants. Hybrid events (both in-person and virtual) will be the norm, as they allow people who cannot travel to the event to still participate. 

It will take time, but the hospitality industry will rebound. As long as proper safety precautions are taken, and organizations learn to adapt, it will eventually come back better than ever.

About ENS:

ENS Group has over 10 million products in use worldwide. And can be found in over 40 countries across the globe. We are the trusted solution in 85 of the top 100 US retailers, as well as leaders in the hospitality and financial industries. ENS also partners with some of the world’s largest technology companies to provide unique solutions for their devices.  We are proud to partner with Zebra, Toshiba, HP, Verifone, ingenico, Pax, Samsung, NCR, elo, Magtek and many others. 

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