Hotel chains are responding to the coronavirus crisis with modified cancellation policies that include free withdrawals running roughly through spring. Meanwhile, the head of the American Hotel & Lodging Association warns that half of US hotels could close down because of the pandemic.
Hoteliers are finding that guests now appreciate being updated on cleaning and disinfecting efforts for high-touch areas, food services, housekeeping and more. "Knowing we are going above and beyond is critical, [as is] how we message [guests], how we treat them and keep them in the loop," says Agnelo Fernandes of Los Angeles' high-end Terranea Resort.
Virgin Australia staff offered an uplifting song and dance to "Don't Stop Believing" on Brisbane Airport's tarmac and in the terminal as they waved goodbye to a Virgin airplane headed out on the last international flight until the coronavirus restrictions lift.
CEO Pat McCann of Dalata Hotel Group, Ireland's largest hotel operator, believes "2020 is a year to make sure you survive [the economic effects of the coronavirus outbreak], then 2021 is a year of starting to build back the business, and I would see 2022 as the year where you're getting back to some level of normality in terms of visitor traffic and visitor numbers." The company has shut down 29 of its 44 UK and Ireland hotels during the pandemic.
Whether a hotel is still open during the coronavirus pandemic or hoteliers are looking for ways to kickstart business once lockdowns are lifted, Larry Mogelonsky suggests "a laser-focus on local leisure" to capitalize on potential guests who want to avoid airports but still want a vacation. He discusses how small-scale events, specific packages and data utilization play a role.
Kids, pets and spouses aren't always conducive to work-from-home lockdowns, so hotels such as Hilton Sacramento Arden West in California and the Red Roof chain are opening their doors with affordable day rates for those who want a regular getaway space, some deadline peace and quiet or interruption-free conference calls.
Winston Churchill led Britain through World War II by making tough decisions, projecting a sense of confidence to the country and being personally affectionate even as he was often severe about the work, writes Steve McKee. "He could get very emotional, but after bitterly criticizing you he had a habit of touching you, of putting his hand on your hand -- like that -- as if to say that his real feelings for you were not changed," British wartime official Lord Beaverbrook said of Churchill.
Approximately 15,000 US hotels have registered to serve as medical and social services venues in response to the coronavirus outbreak, the American Hotel & Lodging Association reports. An undetermined amount of government compensation will be forthcoming for some participants in the AHLA's Hospitality for Hope Initiative.
Market uncertainty has prompted Xenia Hotels & Resorts to announce it cannot assure closure of three planned asset sales. Properties at stake are the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel & Convention Center ($155 million), Renaissance Austin Hotel ($100.5 million) in Texas and a seven-hotel portfolio for $483 million.
Demolition of the Hard Rock Hotel in New Orleans is on hold due to a disagreement between the city and the developer, 1031 Canal Street Development, over which method to use. Three workers were killed last October when the hotel partially collapsed while under construction.
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