Updated: Apr 1, 2020
HOSPA has continued to be busy in the past couple of weeks, but since the country has responded to the Government’s restrictions on movement, I am seeing a dramatic slow-down in calls. Just as I had trained my 11-year-old daughter to help answer the phones!
It seems that now the majority of hotels have closed their doors. It’s difficult for everyone. I have spent my whole career in the hotel business one way or another and am finding it both disorientating and sad.
For those that are closing or have closed, I am sure perishable supplies have already been shared with staff heading home. The advice seems to be turn off everything that won’t be used, lock away knives, collect all the master keys, clear the rubbish, keep your property as secure as you are able and aim to have some physical presence if you can. Send a clear message out on your website about your current status, and make sure you keep communicating with your teams. Make a plan to ensure everyone knows how to get back up and running efficiently, so there is no further time lost.
There has been good news from Booking.com who have declared Force Majeure for all UK reservations with a check in date from 23rd March – 13th April. They recommend refunding prepayments and waiving cancellation amounts. They will waive their commission too.
Not so good are the concerning reports in the media about hotels closing and leaving local authority funded homeless people homeless again. I’ve also read that long term residents (some of 2+ years), foreign guests stuck in transit and others who are self-isolating in hotel rooms have been asked to leave with very little notice as the hotels close. I do hope that this is the media only telling one side of the story.
The mere fact that we are in hospitality suggests that we are social beings. This will be hard on all of us, but remember we are in it together. Look after yourselves physically and emotionally. If you have family in your household, take heed of the airline advice about fitting your own oxygen mask before helping those around you – keep yourself in good shape and you will be a better support for those around you.
Finally, thank goodness for friends and colleagues sending entertaining messages – we all need to feel the warmth from our friends even if we cannot physically feel their warmth.