They’re all trying to adjust to this “new normal.”
The travel industry has taken a hit as a result of the novel coronavirus, with financial predictions showing a potential $24 billion dollars loss. As result, hotels have had to reconsider their business models—not only are they considering how to utilize employees during this time, they also are thinking how they can adjust to a future that, for at least some time, might be driven by fear.
We talked to hotel managers from around the world—from those overseeing cottages in Nantucket to a game reserve in South Africa—about the current climate, the future of their business, and, while things might seem grim at the moment, what they have hope for in the year ahead.
What are you most concerned about?
“I am currently most concerned about the lack of clarity around re-opening dates and the social distancing parameters that will be required of us. With no clear government guidance in place for the time being, it is up to the hospitality operators themselves to decide what are adequate protective measures. I am also concerned about people’s immediate desire to travel.” – Jannes Soerensen, General Manager, The Beaumont, London, England
“I am aware that in the tourism business…we will not be seen as critical services and will not be prioritized for early opening.” – Mark Nolan, General Manager, Dromoland Castle, County Clare, Ireland
“I am most concerned that poaching increases over this time. As people living around reserves become more desperate, they may turn to subsistence poaching for meat–this is done generally through snaring–or to make money–which could involve poaching of high profile wildlife.” – Jarryd Du Preez, Head Ranger, andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve, South Africa
Do you think this will affect the hotel industry in the long-term, past the pandemic?
“While I think we will see a deeply impacted annual effect due to this pandemic, I sense that travelers will be eager to get away once safety returns. The trips and escapes that will be planned, will now have a deeper meaning for those traveling with friends and loved ones.” – Gabrielle Hughes, Room Manager, Jared Coffin House, Nantucket, Mass.
“The hotel and hospitality industry that we knew before this all started will be a thing of the past. The hotel industry will need to evolve with the new world standard that is being created right now.” – Graham Saunders, Room Manager, The Cottages at Nantucket Boat Basin, Nantucket, Mass.
“Not really. I think that people will have been denied free movement, felt a bit imprisoned and traumatized for this period, that after [the pandemic] the thing they’ll really be hungry for is travel. It will reinvigorate them.” – Bob Shevlin, Co-Founder, UXUA Casa Hotel & Spa, Bahia, Brazil
What is your day-to-day like now and how does that compare to before?
“Although we are able to concentrate on tasks that may have been put on the back-burner during our normal operating schedule, we are having to shift our focus into communicating with our guests on our ever-changing dates of operation. Working remotely or from home is not something an operations-based associate will find comfortable, or in any capacity normal.” – Gabrielle Hughes, Jared Coffin House
“Most of my team are furloughed, and with the support of our owners, everyone continues to be paid a full wage. I am in daily contact with my executive team and go to the hotel every day to support the team members who are still working to look after the building.” – Jannes Soerensen, The Beaumont
“Currently I am quite busy with jobs that I didn’t do before all this. I have been more involved with social media, filming conservation…, keeping the lodge clean and running…, and helping the habitat team monitor the reserve and animals on it. Before all this, as head guide, I often focused on admin and on occasion guided guests. So, I must be honest, I am enjoying my current day to day activities–I’m getting out in the field more and doing what I love doing and became a guide for.” – Jarryd Du Preez, andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve
Do you have guests that are currently at your property, unable to go home?
“We are closed by public order, but had been previously hosting two visiting artists as part of our Artist in Casa residency and they’ve been unable to return to their countries. So we’ve given them a casa to stay in free-of-charge for as long as they need, and being photographers they’ve actually joined us documenting a community project we launched to distribute food to needy families–which is called Alimente Trancoso (Feed Trancoso).” – Bob Shevlin, UXUA Casa Hotel & Spa
What are you most hopeful for?
“That travel will return with a ‘new normal’ which will focus always more on health, wellness, and sustainability.” – Bob Shevlin, UXUA Casa Hotel & Spa
“That the world has taken note of the positive effects that our on-lockdown lives all over the world has [had] on the environment. I hope that once this is all over we remain conscious of how we as the human race affect the world we live in.” – Jarryd Du Preez, andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve