Hotel market: Crisis, opportunity and transformation

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Hotel market: Crisis, opportunity and transformation
Wed July 22, 2020

In the midst of the reopening, officials from major chains share their vision of current affairs and expectations regarding the viability of the business

The hotel industry is experiencing decisive moments with a complex reopening in key markets, in order to have a broad overview of current events and perspectives, we have consulted officials from major hotel chains.

Diana Plazas - Trowbridge, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer - Caribbean & Latin America for Marriott International stated: "As we all know, the spread of the coronavirus is having its greatest economic impact among the main tourism players: airlines, hotels and agencies Travel. In terms of our business, Covid-19 is a phenomenon never seen before that has severely affected our industry. "
"In our region, 57% of our properties in the Caribbean and Latin America are temporarily suspended due to local restrictions and / or border closings. Our perspective changes hourly, as demand projections will depend greatly a measure of how the number of cases slows down, the ease of travel and the comfort that tourists will have. "
"We are focusing on building traveler confidence through our commitment to cleanliness, the key elements of which are: the Marriott International Global Cleaning Council, the use of improved technology including electrostatic sprinklers and the use of the highest disinfectants recommended by CDCs and WHO, and changes in cleaning regimes to establish an even higher standard of cleanliness for hotels, as well as changes in guest-associate protocols to meet social distancing guidelines. "
"We know that our guest community around the world is more united than ever because of their deep desire to travel again, and therefore working together with tourism offices and other segments will be very important to offer broader and more coordinated proposals."
"If we have learned anything during this pandemic, it is that we are all facing a historic battle with moments of humanity and resilience. Personally, I am extremely proud of the way our hotel teams and their individual associates are responding in this complex context, while generating high hopes for the future.
"Regarding the markets where we operate, most countries have invested resources in short-term stimuli to keep economies running, trying to keep jobs and although these are difficult times for all, I remain optimistic about this enormous challenge that we are going through. "
"From the company we see positive signs and we are confident in the recovery, people want to travel and explore, we see it in the booking and search patterns. We believe that domestic travel or internal tourism will have great relevance in an initial stage with departures short to reunite with their destinations and at the same time closer to their homes. Local tourism has always played an important role in our business and especially today. "
"We are closely following the movement in Asia, in Europe, and in certain parts of the US and the Caribbean with more of our hotels reopening their doors. Currently in China all hotels are in operation, at least for the time that we have observed an increase in occupancy, particularly in resorts and extended-stay hotels, in terms of leisure travelers and business individuals who are leading the recovery today. "
"While we are not certain when the COVID-19 pandemic will end and our lives will regain some normalcy, we continue to work to provide a proper welcome in clean and reliable environments on our properties."

Jorge Giannattasio, Hilton's Senior Vice President and Head of Operations for the Caribbean & Latin America stated: "As a result of the new Coronavirus (COVID-19), the hospitality industry is seeing an unprecedented business impact. While we cannot Predicting long-term results, we are confident that our world and our industry will recover. We believe that the desire to travel, experience new cultures and connect with others is central to the human experience. When people are ready to travel and the conditions gradually improve in the different destinations where we are present, our hotels will be ready to welcome our guests as we have done at Hilton for more than 100 years. One of the pillars for this to happen is the traveler's trust, That is why we have developed health and hygiene standards with the Hilton CleanStay program, which are, without a doubt, among the most demanding industry tees. "
"The crisis may present an opportunity to reflect and prepare for a post-pandemic restart. Over the past few months, our regional team for the Caribbean and Latin America has done exactly that, and has developed strategies focused on three main areas: protecting our people, being close to our customers and preparing for recovery. And all this, while we strive - today more than ever - to maintain and strengthen the relationship with our owners and developers who are our main partners. "
"All our efforts will be focused on supporting our owners to obtain the benefits that each country is in a position to provide to support the recovery of the industry."
"At Hilton, we remain focused on growth in the region because we believe in the desire to travel, and once the industry is rehabilitated, we will have new hotels in key destinations to welcome travelers. The markets that will recover first They will be the destinations that can enjoy the internal market for their recovery, such as the resorts that can be accessed by land or are within reasonable distances from large cities. For example, we are working to open a new hotel in the Conrad Hotels & Resorts brand in Punta de Mita before the end of the year, representing the brand's first Resort-style hotel in Mexico. "
"International long haul or corporate traveler-dependent destinations will tend to have a slightly more gradual recovery. Historically, large chains have shown to have better recovery power than independent hotels or regional chains, and this is due to strengths of loyalty programs, and the trust provided by internationally proven and sanitary hygiene and hygiene standards. "
"The crisis is known to have affected the entire industry globally. Our financial results for the second quarter of 2020 will be released on Thursday, August 6, 2020, with a report on the company's performance."

Jimena Faena VP of Marketing, Communication and Loyalty of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts LATAM stated: "The reopens are taking place in most of the countries of the region and from Wyndham Hotels & Resorts the priority is to provide all the support so that the occupation goes growing day by day. I would describe Wyndham's situation as a company that was able to make quick and efficient decisions in the new context, offering hotels good solutions and innovative initiatives to navigate these moments. "
As of today, of the 225 hotels we have in Latin America, 87 are still closed due to government issues. The good news is that we are seeing that number decrease regularly and we are beginning to see a return of occupancy. "
"One of the interesting things about LATAMC as a region is that 'uncertainty' is not a new factor for the companies we operate here. Everything from climate to politics can create change in our business environment. Certainly, COVID19 has a Scope and scale beyond what we have seen in recent history, but we are optimistic about our ability to grow in the region as we work toward recovery. "
"And so it was that we have already launched several reactivation campaigns and the hotels joined to start raising their occupancy rates. They are actions designed 100% for the new traveler who, hoping to enjoy again, can find proposals with super prices convenient, flexible and secure stays. "
Looking back, I am proud of how our people, our organization, and our hotel owners have handled the challenges. There is no playbook on how to handle the situations we've been through, so much of the success that we have had to date navigating these choppy waters comes down to the culture and commitment that we see in our teams. That is what keeps me optimistic that we will get through this and continue to strengthen ourselves as we move forward in what is to come. "
"In these uncertain months, we continue to sign new agreements as well. In the second quarter of 2020, we signed 9 hotel contracts that will be opened shortly. Hospitality is a long-term investment project and our partners are very clear about this."
"I think the properties will take a little longer with the ones that depend on the group and event business."
"The desire to travel again is intact, people do not travel because they cannot, when they can they will do it again. The revival is seen first in open-air and rest hotels, but business hotels are also beginning to increase their demands. Reactivating business is a necessity, visiting clients, growing in new markets, etc., so you begin to see the movement of reserves. "
"We can see an increase in direct sales, guests want to feel secure when booking in relation to the possibility of changes and cancellations, this is something new that hotels should take advantage of and strengthen those links."

Frances Gonzalez. Vice President of Operations for Latin America at Radisson Hotel Group stated: "Our team has been working diligently to reopen our hotels safely by implementing the Radisson Hotels Safety Protocol program. The launch of in-depth cleaning and disinfection protocols took place in Partnership with SGS, the world's leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. This program is designed to ensure the safety and peace of mind of guests and team members from check-in to check-out. Hotels are currently located in the process of completing the SGS Remote Cleaning and Disinfection Assessment. This ensures that hotels are implementing the 20-step protocols, along with additional 10-step protocols for hotels offering meetings and events. "
"Through this difficult situation, we are experiencing the importance of caring for each other. We have amazing stories from our hotels that give back to their community during a time when they are fighting for themselves. Hotel team members are donating face masks to local organizations in need, delivering food to first responders and creating care packages for people in need within their community. "
"In addition, we have learned how to be flexible and adapt quickly to change. We are leveraging technology to complement and improve our daily workload. Finally, we are seeing the opportunity for growth. Many independent hotels now understand the importance of having support of a brand as they re-open their properties. Many independent hotel owners are learning about our comprehensive cleaning protocols and are expressing interest in joining one of our brands. "
"At Radisson Hotel Group, we continue to evolve to better serve our guests in this new normal. With Latin America feeling the dramatic impact of COVID-19, changes in infrastructure are likely to happen in response. Until people feel completely safe in traveling, we will see an increase in security measures in all hotels and businesses. We are facing a constantly changing situation and we must adapt to the legislation of each country. "
"There are still many unknowns about how the industry will evolve in the coming months. Although we anticipate that the third and fourth quarters of this year will be below last year, we are on an upward trend from the second quarter of 2020. With some nervous travelers By visiting larger cities, we are likely to see more internal tourism initially as people start traveling again. As circumstances improve, we will see our bookings increase and eventually the return of business travel. "
"As hotels begin to reopen, the hotel industry will require higher levels of quality, security and transparency. Once we reopen all of our hotels, recovery of occupancy rates will take time. Although our occupancy rates have decreased significantly, Our hotels have seen an increase in market share. We are optimistic and ready to receive guests".

Lluisa Salord, Corporate Commercial Director of Grupo Piñero affirmed: "We are facing this moment with serenity, but also with enthusiasm since reopening the doors of our hotels is great news."
"Our reopening plan began this July, opening the first hotels in each of the destinations where we are present, but being aware that tourism will take time to fully recover, as it involves the recovery of the confidence of the travelers, due to the recovery of the country brand in some cases, and also due to the possible impact on the economy in general, therefore, our openings in all destinations will be aligned with the revival of activity in the sector and with that of other actors such as tour operators, sales channels, airlines, etc. "
"The sale in the Caribbean is somewhat slower because many of our main source markets have not yet restarted operations to these destinations. Instead, in Spanish destinations it has taken off stronger. In fact, we have had to anticipate three more openings due to the good demand behavior ".
"As I said, we are optimistic, but we act with caution and, currently, we are focused on reactivating our services, focusing on offering our customers, employees and society in general what they now need: well-being, trust and security."
"This unprecedented scenario that we have had to live through is giving us the opportunity to learn great lessons. In fact, we are convinced that facing this enormous challenge together, we will not only succeed in overcoming the crisis, but we will emerge stronger and better prepared to build, between all, a better society. "
"In this sense, the Covid-19 has made us even more aware that health and well-being, both for people and the planet, are more important than ever. If we want to take care of ourselves, we must first take care of the planet because the imbalance in ecosystems has effects on our health and on the economic activities that we carry out, therefore, although ensuring the health of people and the environment of the destinations where we operate are two of our basic pillars and we have been working on them for years Now, more than ever, it is a priority for companies to promote them in the short and medium term. "
"We believe that it will be the demand of the tourist market that will motivate the activation of the hotel chains because, after all, it is the customers who ultimately make the decision to travel or not to do so. For our part, we will continue to accompany to all our clients and collaborators, as we have always done, and offering them the best guarantees and services. "
"In the first months since the start of the crisis, we did see how our direct sales quota increased significantly. We understand that this is mainly due to the fact that travel agencies in several countries remained closed and also due to the uncertainty regarding flights which made it difficult to sell the package through intermediaries. There has been a general increase, not only through our own channel, but also through other channels of the sale of the hotel-only product to the detriment of the sale of the hotel + flight. "
"Another factor that may have influenced this increase in the sale of the" hotel only "is the issue of flexibility in cases of cancellations and / or modifications. Despite the fact that airlines have somewhat relaxed their policies, not in all cases they are 100% flexible and, on the other hand, the hotel chains are being flexible, which is why the consumer probably does not think so much when it comes to booking a hotel but instead they are more afraid when booking a flight".
"Now little by little, as we get a little more light on air operations and the start of operations from each market to each destination, we see how the sale is balancing".

Mario Viazzo, Commercial Director for Latin America of the Palladium Hotel Group stated: "The situation of the company in general now is to be very focused on continuing with the reopens to continue receiving guests, with all the protocols. They were hard months with the hotels closed, but The teams have always been active, working both to provide tools for travel agencies and tour operators and working on protocols for openings. "
"I think personally, the positive aspect is taking into account and giving priority to what is important, which is the family, which is to enjoy moments."
"Our sales have decreased in the pandemic, as with all hotel chains. We are beginning to see an improvement, but always maintaining flexibility as a key feature, as is the case with our Flex Inclusive rate that allows you to travel to any destination and on any date , making changes without penalty or rate change. We believe that we will begin to recover but clearly it will be in 2021 ".

Iñaki González Arnejo, CEO of DOT-Hotels stated: "We are in several countries and markets. The situation is different in each of them. Some are more open and others more closed. But in general terms, we have more than 60% of the properties closed. "
"It is true that every crisis creates opportunities. Those most fit are those who will survive. If a company was bad before the pandemic, this crisis ends up giving it the last blow." By contrast, the company that was financially and commercially healthy will have many opportunities for recovery. "
"I have no doubt that the future will be better for tourism and hospitality. The issue is when. If it is 6 months or not 24 months. So it is about surviving the pandemic. And only the fittest will be left "
"From the company's perspective, the opportunity will be in taking hotel operations that were unable to continue operating."
"Currently direct sales have grown, I think here is the great opportunity given that with so much change and uncertainty, the guest will want to speak directly with the decision maker".



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