The outbreak and spread of the Covid-19 pandemic have affected the tourism and hotel industry badly. In the mid of February 2021, we conducted a survey of hoteliers with the objective of gaining some insights into how the pandemic is affecting their hotel businesses.
Below is the summary of the survey result on how hoteliers deal with the pandemic.
Duration: 18th Feb 2021 - 24th Feb 2021 (one week)
Solicitation: Distributed through social media platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter) using Google Form
Respondents: All the respondents are Malaysian (Managerial position: 34%, Hotel's Owner: 10%, Executive & Supervisor: 31% and the remaining respondents were non-executive in the hotel industry)
In the past 24 months, the respondents served more small group travelers and family travelers than solo travelers.
Key Survey Findings
1. Are your hotel business currently operating and accepting guests?
At this time of the pandemic, close to half of the hotel respondents are still fully operating and accepting guests. That being said, there are another half of the respondents are either not operating at all or partially operating (we feel the pain for the latter ;( )
2. How has your hotel been affected by Covid-19?
The result speaks for itself. The covid-19 pandemic has given a really bad impact on the hotel industry. Yet, there were approx. 14% indicated slightly to moderately affected.
3. What have you done to cut costs during this pandemic?
From the survey outcome, we learned that the Covid-19 crisis affects not only the company (employers) but also the employees. 55% of the respondents have no choice but to go for staff salary reduction while 35% of them need to let go of their staffs. Other than headcount reduction & pay-cut, the respondents also take the measure of a temporary closure of business hoping to make a comeback later.
4. In this current situation, do you implement any of the following strategies to sustain your hotel business?
All of the respondents implemented more than 1 of the above-given strategies. Out of which, 79% of the respondents went on to offer a discount on their hotel room price; while 55% is offering cash vouchers to their guests for future stay:- for example, "Book Now Travel Later" campaign. The cash voucher method would ease the cash flow issue of the hotels.
Operating cost reduction, however, is no doubt one of the common and straightforward strategies. 10% of the respondents are investing in new technology for their hotel business in order to adapt to the new normal. Read also: How hotels can implement a contactless guest experience
5. Has your hotel adopt any new business models to bring in revenue?
Recently there was news reported about some hoteliers started to set up a roadside food stall to sell food like Nasi Lemak. Their entrepreneurial spirit is something that we are proud of and would always look up to. Instead of closing down the business, many hotel businesses are now trying to diversify or pivot for survival. Like an old saying: "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass but learning to dance in the rain". Hang on, people!
6. In these circumstances, what's given you the most hope?
66% of the respondents found most hopeful with the government incentives. If you have not heard of this, one of the government initiatives and incentives that is still running right now is an SME Digitalisation Grant. This is offered by the Malaysian government to Malaysian SMEs, facilitated by Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and BSN Bank, with the aim of encouraging Malaysian SMEs to adopt cloud technologies in their business. The grant covers 50% of the cost (up to RM 5000). Apply Now!
7% of the respondents are hoping for the re-opening of states' boarder. It has been a double nightmare for hotels since the MC0 2.0 was announced by the government in January 2021. Although the hotel is allowed to operate with 50% of its capacity, but with the travel-banned imposed (no cross districts or cross-state) hotel business is still hard to recover.
7. Due to the pandemic, guests demand a safe experience. From the options below, what safety measures will you consider and practices at your hotel?
100% of the respondents agreed to clearly define the cleaning standards to bring back the travelers' confidence. That being said, having an effective SOP for Covid-19 would need to follow. Other than that, 66% of the respondents are planning to implement a flexible cancellation policy just in case there is a lockdown or interstate travel ban imposed in the future.
59% of the respondents consider adopting contactless services into their hotel business while 28% are going for having a hotel kiosk. Big hotels like JW Marriott has opted for contactless services long ago, and now it is becoming a trend for medium hotels to embrace these practices to adapt to the new normal. Protect your guest as well as protect your staff. Together we break the Covid-19 chain!
8. Are you ready for a travel rebound?
While 86% of the respondents are now ready for the travel rebound, it is sad to learn that there are 14% of the hotel respondents are still not ready for the travel rebound. Wait no more, act now than regret later. Start by reading this also: Hotel Marketing Strategies 2021: Kickstart Your Recovery
The result from this survey has denoted that the outbreak of Covid-19 has given a bad impact on the hotel industry in Malaysia. Now, the vaccine has arrived and Malaysia has started on the 1st Phase of vaccination on 24th February 2021. At that time, The Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin among the first Malaysian to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. The arrival of the vaccines may soon make travel possible again. Let's wait for the comeback!