COVID-19 has touched all areas of our business and personal lives. Long after the virus has dissipated, organizations will continue to feel the effects. One of the industries hit the hardest has been the hospitality field, with travel and tourism declining and the shift away from eating out into new delivery models. How will these trends continue to affect us in the coming years even after COVID-19 is nothing but a bad memory?
COVID-Related Hospitality Trends in the New Year
We looked to Hospitality.net for their predictions on how COVID-19 will continue to change the industry. They have several predictions that hospitality employees and owners should pay close attention to:
- First, look for contactless service and delivery to continue in the coming years. Restaurants, supermarkets, airlines, and more, will need to ramp up everything from self-service kiosks to pick and pack, and delivery services. Consumers will likely continue to outsource food delivery and contactless buying patterns.
- Second, they suggest that fast food organizations should increase their use of new restaurant designs that support the no-contact idea of food delivery. Making dining rooms option while rolling out bigger drive-thru areas, conveyor belt food delivery, or even food lockers that allow customers to self-serve their food pick-up, will become more popular in the coming years.
- Third, the online magazine reports that Amazon began testing a new biometric payment model that uses palm recognition for payment and order pick-up. These technologies will no doubt make more of an impact in the coming years.
- Fourth, it might come as a surprise, but Hospitality.net suggests that home-sharing will continue to shape a significant chunk of the lodging pie. The magazine suggests that luxury hotels and home-sharing facilities will actually recover more quickly than the majority of the hospitality field. Airbnb is showing higher than expected rollouts on their IPO numbers which may be a sign that home-sharing as a business model may stick around long past COVID.
- Fifth, work-from-home models aren’t going anywhere in 2021, and Hospitality.net is not the only venue to suggest this is the case. This could stimulate the extended-stay industry, but it won’t help Uber or other transportation companies deal with a lower volume of commuters to the office. For tourism and travel, as well as for hospitality companies with call center booking or customer service, the remote employee model presents some unique challenges but some benefits such as big savings on operational expenses such as office space and electricity. These industries could in-turn, benefit by attracting more workers intent on remote work as their goal.
So, will travel recover anytime soon? Hospitality.net says the reality is that we just don’t know. They recommend targeting baby boomer populations for leisure travel, as we wait for business travel to resume.
One thing is certain—the hospitality industry has shown enormous flexibility during a challenging time. Organizations must continue to adapt to the uncharted territories we’re living in. Building up new product offerings while focusing on transparency around issues related to health and safety practices, will help hospitality companies survive and thrive in the New Year.
Throughout this storm, Gecko Hospitality remains devoted to our business partners. Our expertise can help your business focus on other priorities while we take care of finding you top talent. Talk with our team today about how we can help.