Luxury hotels around the world fear they may not be able to deliver the levels of service travellers have become used to as a result of changes induced by Covid-19.
In a survey by Forbes Travel Guide among hoteliers, almost two thirds (64%) said adapting and maintaining luxury service levels was one their top two operational challenges.
Unsurprisingly, the other key challenge was “budget or financing to manage the crisis and continue operating”, stated by 62% of hotel general managers and senior executives as a concern.
Forbes Travel Guide surveyed 438 hospitality leaders and also found that 71% of luxury hotels plan to reopen by September; others will inevitably write-off this year due to seasonality or costs to business of opening versus potential occupancy.
However, 70% of hoteliers did say they are still “confident that business will return to sustainable levels within a year”, despite ever-changing national and state government guidelines, while 70% said they “believe business will return to normal within the next year”.
Sadly, of those hotels that are closed though, 58% of respondents revealed that anywhere from 76-100% of staff were either furloughed or laid off, highlighting the pandemic’s devastating impact on luxury hospitality.
Hoteliers said the guest experience has been reimagined at most hotels, and 86% said they are either “very or highly confident to handle any Covid-19 outbreak at their property” – 97% of respondents said they are providing staff with PPE, and 95% are increasing frequency of cleaning and disinfecting procedures.
“Our industry is poised and ready to receive guests once again after months of reimagination, training, and preparation,” said Filip Boyen, chief executive of Forbes Travel Guide. “They have reinvented their operations, ensuring that guest experience is still at the heart of the luxury hotel stay.
“But many hoteliers are faced with a fresh challenge of managing some guests who see the protocols as an inconvenience, regardless of safety for staff and other guests.”