The Impact of COVID-19 On The Hospitality Industry
We’ve been visiting the virtual pub.
The hospitality industry has been hit hard by COVID-19. The disruption of international travel, cancellation of major events and closure of venues, causes us to ask, will the industry ever be the same again?
Globally, the hospitality industry has rallied together to offer support to people during the pandemic. The Night League, the award winning nightlife and entertainment company of Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel and Hï Ibiza set up a fundraiser with proceeds going to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. In the USA, E11even Miami set up a blood bank on its premises, rewarding donors with official E11even Miami caps. In Las Vegas, TAO Group created the TAO Group Hospitality Relief Fund to help those employees struggling during COVID-19.
Many speculate that life will not resume as normal until a vaccine is developed and distributed, which may take up to 18 months. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have predicted that there will be a two percent reduction in global GDP for every month of lockdown, which will continue to delay the revival of the hospitality industry. CEO of the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA), Chip Rodgers, has stated that “hotels were one of the first industries affected by the pandemic and will be one of the last to recover.” Furthermore, 2020 is forecasted to be the worst year on record for hotel occupancy.
In regards to how pubs and bars will operate when they do reopen; the UKHospitality’s chief executive Kate Nicholls has said that because pubs are all different shapes and sizes, and with different layouts, there is no single plan that can be applied to the entire sector.
Reopening plans will have to be bespoke and there will be more issues than just ensuring that people stay two meters apart. Some of the issues facing venue owners are the amount of staff that can work behind the bar at one time whilst maintaining a safe distance, enforcing a one in one out policy at toilets, and strict capacity control. In addition to this, pubs and restaurants have to consider wether they will still be profitable with many of the same fixed costs but a reduced income. Only 4% of hospitality businesses said that they could still remain profitable with a drop in sales of 41% or more.
Undoubtedly hospitality brands and businesses have been negatively impacted by the virus, however, there are a few things we can to support those in the industry. It could be as small as writing a positive review, ordering take out from a local restaurant offering delivery services, or buying a gift voucher to use at your favourite venue when they reopen.