The outbreak and spread of Covid-19 pandemic has affected tourism and hotel industry badly. In the mid of February 2021, we conducted a survey to hoteliers with the objective of gaining some insights on how the pandemic is affecting their hotel businesses.
Below are 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 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 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. Covid-19 pandemic has given really bad impact to 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 learnt 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 temporarily closure of business hoping to making a comeback later.
4. At 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 discount on their hotel rooms price; while 55% is offering cash vouchers to their guest 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 is 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 adapt any new business models to bring in revenue?
Recently there were news reported about some hoteliers started to setup 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 for. Instead of closing down the business, many hotel businesses are now trying to diversify or pivot for survivals. 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 this 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 initiative and incentives that is still running right now is a 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 Malaysia 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 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 for a safe experiences. 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 is 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 to adopt contactless services into their hotel business while 28% is going for having a hotel kiosk. Big hotel like JW Marriott has opted for the contactless services long ago, and now it is becoming a trend for medium hotels to embrace this 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 to 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 bad impact to 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 received the Covid-19 vaccine. The arrival of the vaccines may soon make travel possible again. Let's wait for the comeback!