Hospolitality in the COVID-19 setting
PANDEMIC PANDEMONIUM ... by the way none of our experience can possibly make us eloquent on what will happen…but I will leave you with my personal opinion.
How does, and when does the hotel sector recover?
It all depends on how quickly the EU and Poland lift some of the existing restrictions on travel, the opening of the borders, airports, hotels. Poland will have to lift trading moratoriums; we need the economy to resuscitate.
When will the hotels open and start their de-hibernation process?
We need to be very conservative on our expectations. The road of recovery will be long.
The pattern of hotel animation in 2020
Even when we return to t the pattern of animation will be as follows: the month of May some national corporate travel will start, the Polish hotels in major cities will see some room nights in their hotel.
June, July and August some leisure resorts in Poland will finally be able to service customers and guests - Mazury, Zakopane and the Baltic resorts should do well, but not in the levels of the past few years.
September ( if the COVID-19 is under grip ), we will see business and small corporate room nights. Then again October through December occupancies will slowly grow. We will not see MICE coming back, and holiday events will not show up this year. Only the brave will go to a New Year’s Eve party (they might be the virus recovered people that will not pose any treat to others). Maybe this should be the name: the 2020 New Year’s COVID Recovered Party.
Banks taking action to help the hotel sector
The hotel sector in Poland did approach the government and Ministry of Development for measures of helping the industry survive this generational debacle. All the hotels in Poland have been affected by the shutdown, and some of them will never reopen.
All of us, were able to convince most of the banks in Poland to work with their clients on debt postponement without penalties till end of 2020. We hear from our customers that by most part they have deferred their loans, the remaining challenge will be to have the banks also bridge operational costs till the sector recovers.
We need to remember they don’t want to have hundreds of bankruptcies either. So they will do what needs to be done. By the way in some countries in the CEE, i.e. Hungary, this is the law. All banks need to adhere.
Global recession as an aftermath will pose new challenges
Another challenge will of course be the afterburn, the global recession and in some parts of the world depression will have a negative and stigma for months to come. The EU will have a recession, and Poland may be fortunate to end 2020 with a 1% GDP.
Coronavirus vaccine – a light at the end of the tunnel
The encouraging news is that COVID-19 vaccine is near us, and some of the repurposed medicaments can combat the infected such as Avigan, or Chloroquine.
Also tests on humans by a French company - BioNTech can lead to creating a vaccine by fall. Other companies like CureVac are also in the race to get the vaccine out.
Hospitality in the post-COVID-19 setting
All hotels will have to play an additional role besides hospitality, they will have to address and assure the healthy aspect of their guests’ stay, and visit at the hotel; which will mean, among others:
• the staff will need to wear masks, gloves,
• the sleeping rooms will have to be sanitized after check out for the next guest,
• the kitchen preparation and cook staff will also need to wear masks, gloves and be even tested often for the virus (15-minute self-test will be available for this purpose made by NG Biotech French company).
The hotel operators and chains will have to find ways clearly denote all of the above.
"The COVID-19 Busters" (Sanatizing Department)
The hotels will have to add a new department “The COVID-19 Busters“ and make every effort to keep the hotel free of the virus.
Owners, General Managers, will have to diligently plan the efficient re-opening of their hotels. This means: recalling or hiring, and training staff, having all systems reopened and activated, the building operational facilities, rooms inspected, kitchen re-fired, the FLS inspected, and having adequate funds to accomplish this challenge. Also, informing their clients and customers.
It will be absolutely imperative the staff is well informed about the COVID-19 avoidance and sanitation procedures. The hotel cannot be identified as a place where people got infected, the social media would propagate this immediately.
I also believe there will be a required App by the EU for all travelers, that will show the holder’s state of health and “COVID-19 free status”.
This is already used in South Korea and China. This up-to-date App will be required by the airlines and hotels prior to boarding and staying.
Of course, there will be some off/on shutdowns when the virus resurfaces, but this will be par for the course in all cities, and all countries. It will be interesting, from my point of view to see how Sweden fairs with their limited isolation and no lockdowns. As of today, their infection ratio and death ratios, versus Poland are not encouraging. Their approach to Herd Immunity may not be successful.
The most important point after saving lives, is also to get our country open for business. We need the economy to re-engage, people need to earn, and feed their families.
The Financial Times mentioned the following cities will have all hotels opened in June: London 80%, Milan 100%, Moscow 100%, Stockholm 100%, Beijing 90%, Shanghai 85%.
Note: My Salvation Plan for the hotel industry was posted on LINKEDIN. EURO-Bonds.
“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning ". - Winston Churchill
Alex Kloszewski, Managing Partner