As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the hospitality industry is being hit particularly hard. Reservations and travel are down, while cancellations are up. The hotel sector in particular is facing momentous challenges, which is having a significant impact on the economy due to the fact that the hotel industry represents a significant segment of the US economy:
Despite the challenges COVID-19 presents, there are several “best practices” for revenue management to help weather the storm until the pandemic passes.
Sales and Staffing While Business is Slow
While demand remains low, many hospitality providers have already begun to furlough staff. Although this stop-gap measure may be necessary, it is also important to keep communicating with staff when they are at home on furlough or working from home. It is important for sales teams to maintain relationships with customers and to keep customers informed of availability if and when needed. Good communication will ensure that you have staffing to fulfill whatever needs there are and, equally as important, will ensure that you have staff available when demand begins to normalize.
Keeping Existing Reservations
Travel and movement restrictions are quickly changing in many major (and minor) markets. Many March and April reservations will be directly impacted by government imposed restrictions in place now. May and June reservations are likely to follow, as guests become less confident about travel. Given the uncertainty of travel and movement restrictions, it is important to emphasize flexibility to change existing reservations and to provide refundable rates. Allowing this flexibility may cost some revenue but will protect the inventory and gain commitment from customers through deposits or prepayment.
Communicating Information to Customers
Right now, federal, state, and local government restrictions are changing on a daily basis. It is important to manage information flow to customers. Assigning a point person or team to keep current on local restrictions and to communicate those to customers will ensure continuity and consistency of communication to customers.
The Restructuring & Insolvency Team at Reed Smith stands ready to advise you on the issues above or others you may face in response to COVID-19.
Our Reed Smith Coronavirus team includes multidisciplinary lawyers from Asia, EME and the United States who stand ready to advise you on the issues above or others you many face related to COVID-19.