The “new normal” is a term that has been thrown around since the COVID-19 pandemic began last year. The funny thing is that no one really knows what the new normal means. Pandemic-related concerns, restrictions, and guidance continue to evolve and as we begin to see a light at the end of the tunnel with the rollout of vaccines, we are unsure what will happen on the other side of the pandemic. Does the new normal mean that we’ll go back to life similar to before but with social distancing and masks as an expectation when a person is feeling ill? Does it mean that we will be less likely to congregate or travel because health concerns are of paramount importance? The truth is that the only known is the uncertainty that we don’t know what normal will look like, so the key is to be adaptable.
Similar to the conversation in our earlier post about adaptability, if we’ve learned anything from the pandemic, it’s that we need to be constantly adapting and evolving. This is true of the way we service our guests, how we treat our team members, and the way we pursue business for our hotels. When will business travel come back and what will it look like? Will guests expect even more housekeeping to ensure their room is clean or will housekeeping services for stayovers be a thing of the past as guests may not want anyone in their room?
If your hotel has a Food & Beverage (F&B) component, what changes have you already made that may make sense moving forward? Has outdoor dining been a cost-effective success? If so, would you want to maintain more outdoor dining? How about menus via QR code and the ability to have limited interaction with a server, has this been a success or a hindrance to your operations? And what about grab ‘n go breakfast bags, have guests been pleased with the offering and is it provided at a cost that is more impactful to the bottom line?
Being attuned to these and other COVID-related operational impacted areas will help you make decisions as we navigate our way back to sound financial footing. The one thing we’ve learned navigating this unprecedented time in our lives is that business needs are constantly changing. Given how rapid the changes have been coming, some of us have left the industry – be it temporarily or permanently – and some of us have switched roles to take advantage of the opportunities that currently exist. The only constant is change and in the world of the new normal, adaptability and flexibility will be crucial elements of a successful strategy.