Recovery of the hospitality industry from Pandemic curse: Travel Psychology Perspective

There are decades where nothing happens, and there are weeks when decades happen”

-Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

Travel Psychologist Lensed!

This quote summarizes the situation we all are going through since last year. We saw a drastic change in our day-to-day life. Covid19 is a curse by which all humans are infected, not only curse for humans but also industries, tourism & hospitality is one of them and worst affected. So many people lost their jobs because of covid19 in India as well as in the whole world.

However, 2021 started with nothing different but right now the future seems to be in safe hands with an increase of spirit to travel amongst people. Once the Second wave of Covid is over, many opportunities are waiting for the Hospitality industry to get back on track. Though the opportunities seem to be fruitful it also increases the cost along with it. This makes it clear that further Hospitality Industry will expensively provide more luxury.

Relaxed moment on beach
Effect of covid on the hospitality industry in India

Rating agency ICRA (formerly Investment Information and Credit Rating Agency of India Limited) said it expects the industry to contract 65 % in the financial year 2021, with massive operating and net losses, wiping out the cumulative profits of the 4 past years. However, a sharp demand recovery is possible in the later part of the financial year 2021-22, as vaccine rollouts gain traction.

The pandemic & subsequent lockdowns have hit the domestic hospitality sector severely which led to restriction of mobility & occupancy in hotels at major markets. ICRA also observed that the PAN India occupancy has hit an all-time low of 18 to 20 percent in the eight-month of the financial year 2021, it went down from 65-65% in the previous year. 

Impact on jobs in hospitality

The Covid-19 Pandemic could lead to a cut of 50 million jobs in the Tourism & Hospitality industry, said The World Travel & Tourism Council. The Oxford economics study says that Asia is expected to be the worst affected and the data explains that the industry could take several months to recover. 

Many workers cannot move to their workplaces due to travel bans, border closures, and quarantine measures. This particularly affects incomes for formal and casually employed workers. The enterprises are likely to delay the purchase of goods and investments and the recruitment of new employees. The Indian Tourism & Hospitality industry is looking at PAN India bankruptcies, closure of business, and mass employment as a result of the pandemic.

Effect of Forex on Hospitality

The ratio of foreign tourists visiting India was 10 to 11 million before 2020, but it escalated down to 3 million in 2020. This happened because of the pandemic and it affected the country economically as Tourism & Hospitality is India’s one of the highest income sectors. It brings foreign exchange to the country. The Foreign exchange earnings in India from 30 Billion USD to 6.2 Billion USD.

Hotel Digital Transformation: Unlocking Technology’s Caring Feature

Technology has always been a primary component in driving a hotel’s value proposition to provide a home-like experience to guests. The post COVID scenario will have a big role in furthering the hotels’ digital transformation journey. Digital solutions that can identify touchpoints and ensure minimum physical contact among the guests and the employees will take the center stage at each point of contact.

1. Contactless Journey for Guests 

The operational goal is to make sure the guest & staff’s journey seamless, and reducing the physical touchpoints whenever they are traveling. As the journey starts right at the moment the guest enters the property where the staff can ensure a touch-less identification and mobile check-in. To avoid physical touchpoints, digital keys to access the rooms can be an aspect. With this, digital solutions can help the hotels to ensure the social distancing is followed by the guests. Platforms like Intelligent Monetization Platform & AI can empower hotels with features of Cameras and WI-FI networks to ensure social distancing is followed.

2. Real-Time Communication

An important role will be played by the effective communication of the brand to empower their guests with the right information at the right place and at the right time. Besides engaging guests at the premises based on their locations, Proximity Marketing can enable the hotels to notify them regarding any violations of the allowed number of people in a surrounding area, information about room-service delivery, or even informing them if their room is ready to check-in.

3. Remote Operations

The crises made it evident that technology solutions accessed by employees remotely are crucial to keeping operations on track and were not considered by the past hoteliers to manage their hotels from afar before the pandemic. Reviewing and updating standard operating procedures, upgrading towards cloud-based platforms should be a standard for the hospitality ecosystem.

Hospitality Industry 2.0

  • Standardization can no longer be the norm.

It is becoming critical to personalize and tailor the services to the needs and preferences of travelers.

  • To create value, focus on niche markets.

More customization and specialization may enable increased value creation for hospitality companies. But be careful, as a respondent said, as this requires to genuinely think about the value proposition of your offer and not “simply branding and rebranding”.

  • Exploit technology as an accelerator for business.

Technology will be at the core of the hotel experience both in the room, before and after the trip. This will lead to the development of new concepts and more innovation in the industry and contribute to the emergence of an ever more individualized offer.

  • Social responsibility is a moral and an economic obligation.

The impact of global warming can today be considered a major risk for both corporations which may lose in revenues and profits and society as a whole. It is thus critical for governments but even more so for corporations to become more sustainable: “not just green, but real sustainable business models”.

  • Develop more responsive and resilient business models.

“Tourism, despite ever-growing flows of travelers, will become riskier and more prone to crises” as the number of travelers steadily continues to grow. This will be accompanied by increased regulation as a response to a disproportionate increase in tourist flows in some places (e.g. Venice or Barcelona).

 F&B outlets are making this possible by incorporating drinks deliveries and offering extras: atmospheric candles, QR-code playlists, and unexpected freebies. Whilst hotels have played their part in supporting local medical needs and turning hotel rooms into alternative workspaces for those tired of working from home. 

  • Manage talents actively.

The days of long-lasting employee retention as well as passive, hierarchical management styles are gone. 

Role of Travel Psychology in the upsurge of Hospitality Industry

  1. Tie-ups with travel companies

The hotels can tie up with the travel companies which follow new travel modes for example Travel Psychology & Transformational Travel. This gives the hotels a chance to create new client-centric activities for relaxation and inclusive facilities with the travel company. 

  1. Travel Tools & hospitality

The hospitality industry has been hit and the guests seek new services within their travel and this is where the services of Travel Psychology can be of use. With the help  of Travel Tangible Tool (TTT), the hospitality industry can create a transformation in people’s minds, so they can continue their journey or upcoming with newly listed goals and intentions. In-house facility are backed by travel psychologist with overall well-being one can achieve in your space, helping your business with intent and confidence to get experience for clients they need.

  1. Unique experience with new intent to travel

Mandeha offers some unique travel experience for people who seek something additional in travel, with preserving cultural and natural heritage, assets on which tourism depends. It also enhances the experiential learnings of a human.

  1. Being sustainable

They can also reach out to sustainable methods by creating awareness by following the ways of TOURISM4SDG and reducing pollution and waste. This can include creating an alternative for plastic waste, creating a use for the untreated wastewater etc.

  1. Good health and well being

The hospitality industry can provide good health and well-being services such as meditation sessions, yoga, spa, or meaningful conversations among tourists. Due to covid, people are in stress and they need to relax along with some distressing activities. Such activities are based on human intent where Mandeha offers their Travel Psychology consultancy for the guests which improves well-being by helping the guest to improve their well being. This could benefit the hospitality industry with some new services to offer their guests. Also, income generated from it they can use for well being. This could be a transformation in the industry. 

  1. Climate action

The hospitality industry can use natural resources such as sun & wind for electricity and biogas and E-vehicle for transportation by which less carbon is produced and released into the atmosphere And less use of limited resources. By doing this, it creates awareness of tourism for United Nation World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Motto of TOURISM4SDG. 

Epilogue

The current situation of the Hospitality industry seems unbalanced but it does have a pinch of hope with great opportunities post covid. Many employees lost their jobs but they do have faith in the industry as the second wave is declining and tourism has gained a push. Though it is hard to tell, the chances of the industry getting back on the right track soon are impossible. In India, the third wave of Covid is expected anytime soon this year, which will again bring a huge loss to the industry and disturb its balance. As we saw the key trends which will play a major part in getting the industry back on its track. One of the important key trends will be the Revenge Travel as people are stuck at home for a year, they have been under the urge to travel and once the travel reopens, they will be the ones to book the tickets first which will indirectly create a good economical balance for the hospitality industry. To conclude this, I would say that the hospitality industry has a lot to offer but the times of Covid have made it impossible for the industry to survive, but once this is over it will be amongst the industries to become the first one to rise.  As Travel Psychologists, the team of Mandeha Journeys is ready to collaborate with the hospitality industry and bring a change with the new ways of sustainability and travelling with intent.

So sum things up, if there are takeaways from this blog, it’s probably that travel journey are always for everyone and full of learnings. But if you’re willing to truly push the threshold for discomfort, in exchange for potent life changing experiences, and in turn, come back a new person every time you plan trips of this nature, then it’s about time you start saving up. And yes, in the off chance you’re having trouble in conceptualizing your plans, check out the Travel Tangible Tool that we offer at Mandeha. (Yup, kind of solves everything, doesn’t it?)

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