COVID-19 takes out the ground of the wedding segment for the hotel industry, but opens up possibility for remote resorts
The era of the big wedding is over for the foreseeable future. And even if big weddings are planned at hotels, guests may not be comfortable partying or mingling with each other till a cure or vaccine is discovered
India’s sprawling, influential hospitality industry is fast turning its sight to the huge domestic market, rather than wait for global travellers to rescue them from the state of paralysis induced by COVID-19-lockdown, which has virtually wiped out business for hotels.
Remote, secluded hotels with surrounding wilderness and close to nature are expected to be far more popular than city hotels, to begin with.
The Impact of COVID-19
A Google Travel Webinar in April 2020 pretty much indicated the same thing: COVID-19 will influence people to travel closer to home, but not via mass transit. Rather, they are likely to take a road journey to not-too-crowded locations closer home.
The era of the big wedding is over for the foreseeable future. And even if big weddings are planned at hotels, guests may not be comfortable partying or mingling with each other till a cure or vaccine is discovered.
Things that hotels and guests took for granted: eating an extended breakfast to start the morning, hang out at crowded coffee shops, linger over a conversation in the hotel lobby, will no longer define your hotel experience.
Among the suggestions coming in thick and fast for hoteliers, one stands out: do not, in panic, reduce room rates or it will be difficult to get them back to the pre-COVID days. Instead, offer attractive packages, such as room packages that include hotel car airport pick-up and drop services.
Hotels believe that perks are a better strategy to entice people to book. They are also enhancing the flexibility of their loyalty programs, with some hitting the pause button on points’ expiry dates. Marriott Bonvoy has led the way, extending status earned in 2019 until February 2022.
The hospitality industry is gearing up for a long haul. Business and leisure travel is expected to remain low over the next six months. The US has led the way by surveying travellers about when they expect to begin travelling. Among the surveys conducted is one by MMGY Travel Intelligence.
Its ‘Travel Intentions Pulse Survey’, conducted between April 4 and 11 revealed that just 31% expect to travel for vacations or other leisure purposes, and only 21% expect to travel for business. Conventions, meetings and banquets are way off in the distance, maybe even September. Regular tourists will lag behind business tourists since they do not have access to disposable income right now.
The Google Travel Webinar indicated that travellers will be wary for a long time to come. There has been a 28% decline in global travel search queries related to accommodation and packages. While 40% of people are open to plan travel normally, with new flexibility measures, the rest are waiting for the situation to be back to normal.