COVID-19 “Coronavirus” Impact on the Hospitality Industry

When I was eleven-years-old I had a premonition that I would live to be 106. The other day I was struck by the thought that a coronavirus vaccine would be available within only a few months. I sure hope both of these come true!

Even if the vaccine does become available (and, by some miracle, is able to be rapidly deployed), will things ever return to the way they were? Highly unlikely it would appear according to one article. Written by Kevin Sneader and Shubham Singhal and appearing online in Fortune magazine,1 “3 Changes Businesses Will Need to Adapt to Post-coronavirus,” says that in, “…three areas in particular—digital commerce, telemedicine, and automation—the COVID-19 pandemic could prove to be a decisive turning point…. First, there will be more government intervention—and therefore greater scrutiny of business… Second, the world will see the rise of a contact-free economy…. And finally, companies will need to reconsider how they can establish more resilience.”

A recent Resort Trades poll asked, “In your opinion, what lies ahead for the vacation ownership industry after COVID vaccine?

  1. Quick rebound using traditional sales & marketing tactics.
  2. Gradual return to business as usual, but using completely different sales & marketing.
  3. Ten years or greater slowdown.
  4. Other (please email your thoughts ton Sharon@TheTrades.com).”
    Sixty-seven percent of the respondents selected, “Gradual return to business as usual, but using completely different sales & marketing.”

Sixty-seven percent of the respondents selected, “Gradual return to business as usual, but using completely different sales & marketing.”

Digital Commerce

The article’s second two areas of concern – a contact-free economy and the need for resiliency — are particularly relevant to the timeshare world. As prospective owners avoid social contact, the digital platform will be taking a front seat in piloting the entire marketing and sales sequencing. But speed is of the essence!

Those marketers who are the fastest and most adept at attracting leads though clever Facebook ads, blogging/vlogging, and SEO techniques will be the winners. In “The Importance of Being First,” 2 another Fortune magazine contributor Jerry McLaughlin writes, “The best way to be remembered is to be first into your prospect’s mind representing a clear perception. Think about all the brands that have become synonymous with their function: Scotch tape, Kleenex, Xerox. It’s no accident they were also the first. Did you play with a Slinky as a kid? Slinky is a brand name but what else would you call a stretchy spring toy?

“People love to know what is new. That’s why the ‘news’ is such a big business.”

Resort Resilience

We found a Xotels article, “How to Generate Ancillary Revenue in your Hotel or Resort,”3 to have additional creative ideas. Perhaps you’ve looked at some of them for your property:

  1. Create Packages.  Bundle ancillaries (add-on services) with higher category room types. This option is known as “Themed Packages”, and is all about selling an experience. You can call them romance, adventure or family packages.
  2. Target a Client Niche Market. Choose a niche client market and be the best there. To properly cover the niche you will have to adapt your property and your communication. The good part of this strategy is that you can, and should, offer related services to improve the experience and your guests (and charge them for it…)
  3. Get ROI from Underutilized Areas. True, every refurbishment requires money spent but…Have you ever calculated the ROI of any of the actions below?
    • Call to advertising agencies and startup incubators to offer them your garden for their events, do it for free the first time, make stunning pictures and get awesome reviews … and after you can start charging for it.
    • Are your meeting rooms being used all the time? Could they be used as space for photographers to do a photoshoot? Or as space for companies to conduct interviews, recruiting staff?
    • You could potentially also turn it into a co-working space … it all comes down to math.
  4. Creating a Competitive Edge. OTA and Meta-Search are still very focused on selling rooms. So it is up to you to make your hotel stand out, and add experience to the mix.” [Which brings us back to developing the art of Digital Commerce.]

What You Can Do Right Now

We like the suggestions business consultant and small business expert Athan Slotkin gave in his article, “7 Tips to Keep Your Business Afloat During COVID-19,” appearing in Chief Executive.4 While his advice targets small business owners, specifically, the suggestions he makes can be useful in almost every resort company management situation. They are, essentially: 1) trimming excess expenses; 2) examining current market trends; 3) eyeing the competition for creative ideas; 4) reviewing priorities of ways in which you spend time; 5) tracking changes in the way customers are thinking; and 6) taking care of your health, including continuing to learn, practicing CDC safety guidelines, and planning how to leverage the opportunities you do have to advance yourself. Lastly, he advises us to keep an open mind and stay positive. We recommend you read the entire article footnoted below.

Stay Involved in the Community

Use social media – especially LinkedIn – to stay connected with your peers. Schedule the making of at least two phone calls a week to friends and acquaintances, particularly if you’re still working from home. Engage on forums including ours here at ResortTrades.com/LearningCenter. Let us hear your suggestions and ideas.

And, from our team, stay positive. We love you.

The Digital World

  • Focus on enhancing your digital footprint: Examine your website and social media channels and look at ways to improve them.
  • TED Talks, YouTube videos, online study: You have an enormous wealth of ways to keep learning about all facets of your personal life as well as the management of your work responsibilities.
  • Review and compare ways to draw on experts in Internet marketing. You may need to hire in-house or consultant assistance to help you strategize changes and adaptations you need to make for the changing environment.
  1. https://fortune.com/2020/05/01/business-reopen-economy-coronavirus-new-normal/
  2. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jerrymclaughlin/2011/12/28/the-importance-of-being-first/#5ea887a529eb
  3. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jerrymclaughlin/2011/12/28/the-importance-of-being-first/#5ea887a529eb
  4. https://chiefexecutive.net/7-tips-to-keep-your-business-afloat-during-covid-19/

Sharon Scott Wilson, Publisher, The Trades Publishing Company. Connect on LinkedIn.com/SharonScottWilson and send me your ideas. Resort Trades’ 5 Free Media:
1.            Resort Trades magazine, mailed monthly
2.            Resort Trades Weekly, emailed each Wednesday
3.            Members.ResortTrades.com, the industry’s connection spot
4.            ResortTrades.com, updated continuously
5.            Live, interactive multimedia events