How hospitality industry is gearing up for touchless experience post-COVID
The pandemic tide has not entirely passed yet. India is currently reaching its first peak. The situation in other nations does not seem positive either. The government and authorities are instructing their citizens to embrace a hygienic way of life. This could be translated that people should adopt and protect themselves against the virus threat. Though the medical community is fighting to formulate vaccines and treatment programs, it might take some time to eradicate the situation.
The pandemic does not only cause health concerns but social and financial challenges as well. The question lingering in all minds is how people will resume and revert to their lives. Experts and experience state that they might be a new normal in place. Companies and the public would be forced to adapt to different measures to protect themselves from the virus. All industries are gearing up for the changes that would warrant the safety of their employees and consumers.
The hospitality segment is facing its share of challenges due to the lockdown protocol. The industry would have to identify touch-less hospitality measures that would provide guest care without compromising their health and wellness. However, like all sectors, it is easier to ideate than implemented. The hotels, hostels, and restaurants are focussing on handling trials at multiple levels. This would include enhancing the hygiene standards of the place to maintaining social distancing in the services. The employees would be trained to accustom their skills to the new normal. They will have prepared themselves to perform effectively with the mandatory protective gear.
The hospitality segment is also progressing into the adaptation of digital innovations. This would limit the contact with the guests and help us to maintain the quality of the service. This could be primarily implemented for the check-in and out process. Digital payments would play a crucial role in this integration. The current hygiene standards of the hospitality units need a serious upgrade. Though there is nothing wrong with the current system, it might not be strong enough to battle a pandemic level threat. Companies are in the process of identifying standardised hygiene protocols that would enhance their sanitation standards.
It is imperative to enhance these criteria to meet the clinically clean levels at all places. Nevertheless, this requires additional and specialised crew which would enhance the operational cost of the segment. It is no enigma that the industry is undergoing tough times due to the public paranoia and lockdown protocol. These extra costs would position the companies in a delicate situation. Nevertheless, it might be too immature to discuss the cost implications of the services.
The effect might not be similar for all segments of the hospitality industry. The luxury sector might have to decode more trials in comparison to their counterparts. There might be a significant struggle in the service differentiation aspect. This industry functions in the core ethos of providing personalised and customised solutions. Social distancing norms might challenge this basic notion. It also motivates companies to innovate newer techniques to impress their clients without compromising their health.
The restaurant business is an essential aspect of the hospitality industry. These services usually require close contact between the consumers and the employees. The sector is expected to undergo massive changes to handle the current situation. The buffet system could be detained for the foreseeable future as they cause excessive touch and contact points. There would be significant modifications even in the al carte module. They would be advancements in all intricate aspects right from cutlery to service pattern.
Another challenge faced by all hotels is the pause in national and international tourism. The companies are innovating and identifying unique concepts like staycations and workcations. These ideologies would be a welcome relief for corporates and people who need a change of scenery. This package would include comfortable beds, creative workspaces, delicious food, and seamless Wi-Fi connectivity. This would help the hostels to increase the footfall and manage the mounting expenses.
Major hospitality companies are focussing their marketing efforts on these avenues to tide over these tough times. The touchless hospitality trend is expected to address the paranoia of the guests and ensure the safety of all stakeholders.
This article is written by Dhruvin Shah, CEO, Datstop Hostel.