Recovery to Reservations: How the hospitality industry can navigate the revival
Covid-19 has wreaked havoc on the world and left in its wake, serious economic decline and unemployment rates that rival the Great Depression of 1929, but few industries have been hit harder than hospitality.
With lockdown 3.0 set to ease, an unparalleled vaccine effort and a clear roadmap with an indicative end date, hospitality can start planning its revival.
The next few months will be critical to the short term and long-term future of the hospitality industry, this article will outline the potential challenges the industry will face and what they can do now to mitigate uncertainty and set up for success.
For over a year, the hospitality industry has been plagued with intermittent closures, restrictive lockdowns and travel bans. The majority forced to take precautionary measures to stay afloat, predominantly targeting PAYE spend, relying on the furlough scheme and making significant staff reductions. However, with an exit plan in place and demand forecasted to return in the second half of the year, staff will need to resume duty and leaders will need to look at other ways to remain agile through the first phase of recovery.
Financial stability and profit enhancement seem like foreign concepts to industry leaders at present and the first instinct during the revival phase will be to start earning and at any expense i.e. planning for new ways to attract demand, dropping prices to capture the first onslaught of customers and exploiting every revenue avenue possible. Although dropping rates to demand stimulate your way out of the crisis may seem like a quick fix, it will not be conducive with a sustained recovery, both for the business and the industry.
Long-term financial sustainability will be achieved by maintaining a fair price, but minimizing costs, which will in turn maximise profits and position the industry for a strong and successful come-back
Where to start? With primary efforts focussed on direct spend and cutting the PAYE spend no longer a viable option, the industry will need to find ways to control an overlooked and costly area– operational costs. The personal touches that make a hotel feel like home, the added extras that create value for event delegates and general overheads that keep the hospitality business churning can quickly become a drain on revenues if not controlled and this coupled with limited time, resources, negotiating power and poor volume control, could inhibit the bounce-back.
Q: How can the hospitality industry reduce and realign operational costs with limited time and little resource?
A: Join a Group Purchasing framework like ProSource.
Group Purchasing Organisations help businesses significantly reduce the cost of their everyday business overheads and can quickly have a direct impact on their bottom line.
You’ve heard the term, ‘there’s power in numbers’ and that is exactly how a Group Purchasing Organisation Works. ProSource aggregates the spend of its members (mainly companies that do not have the time, resources or buying power to secure the best deals) and forms a collective purchasing power to grant companies access to discounts and other benefits. Risk and hassle free, ProSource has a framework of trusted and best suppliers already sourced, discounted rates negotiated, and service level agreements specified to help businesses secure rapid savings.
“ProSource best and vetted suppliers are giving a percentage of projected savings upfront* and offering improved payment terms to help businesses recover.”
*dependant on spend
It may be tempting to ramp up marketing efforts and fuel new guests into the booking funnel, open the entire restaurant, each floor of the hotel and start setting up every conference room to start clawing back months of lost revenue, however, before you start stocking the fridges and placing orders, hospitality venues need to take a strategic approach while demand returns.
It is integral that leaders in the hospitality industry identify potentially low-traffic and low volume areas as demand returns and proactively re-think opening parts of their business, for example, if lunch periods were slow prior the pandemic, focus on dinner services while the demand returns, if your hotel is not immediately fully booked – close off certain floors to control staffing and overhead costs.
With shifts in demand causing supplier pressure and businesses going into administration leading to disruption of supply, Covid-19 exposed vulnerabilities in even the most robust of supply chains. Moving forward it is imperative that the hospitality businesses build a robust supply chain to reduce the risk of disruption. Prior to the pandemic, the favoured trend was streamlining the supply chain to increase purchasing volumes with a single supplier to secure competitive pricing, now the advice is to increase supply chain diversification so that if something goes wrong with one supplier, there is a backup.
Q: How can businesses diversify their supply chain and still secure bulk pricing on their operational costs? Collaborative purchasing.
A: Start Collaborative Purchasing with ProSource
Another benefit of becoming a ProSource member is the abundance of trusted suppliers on the framework for each core category. ProSource is in constant contact with their framework suppliers, their business activity and standing in the market and if any challenges do arise, they are able to transfer you to another supplier with little hassle, therefore helping to mitigate supply uncertainty, build a future-proof resilience and limit any disruption to your workforce.
With the end of the global pandemic seemingly near, there are still obstacles threatening the success of the industry’s revival and that is the evolution of its customers.
With the surge of takeaway apps, holiday-rental solutions such as AirBnB and continued health fears – to navigate the next phase of recovery – the industry will need to evolve with its customers.
Discounting prices will lead to longer-term issues in the industry but in the current economic downturn, what can the hospitality sector do when a large portion of their customer base is driven by disposable income? They will be pleased to know that we believe that in the ‘next normal’, we believe nonprice decision factors will become more prominent for consumers, the main one’s being:
Maintaining the safety and security of employees and customers is currently the highest priority for every business. It is imperative for organisations in the industry to be prepared to act agilely to address health and safety concerns and incorporate the safety guidelines into standard operational procedures. Setting up your restaurant/pub/hotel/venue to conform with the current safety legislation is critical to installing and reinstating customer confidence.
Not sure where to start? ProSource can put you in touch with suppliers with industry knowledge who supply all the necessary PPE and safety equipment to make your business safety compliant.
A classic habit of the hospitality industry is offering extremely competitive prices but with non-refundable conditions. During the recovery, venues will need be flexible and understanding in their cancellation policies. This seems like it would make for an unstable revenue forecast and further uncertainty, but in the next normal, this will be critical to secure direct bookings whilst installing consumer confidence and an incentive for them to book.
If the global pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that the planet thrives when we stay at home.
The hospitality industry is notorious for having a detrimental impact on the environment and consumers are growing increasingly aware of the climate issues associated with the industry, and they demand action.
Putting a bigger focus on the sustainability of your venue and making it an integral part of the corporate agenda will enable you to capture further business whilst saving the planet.
Be positioned to optimally capture and leverage government incentives and support. There has been and is a range of support, loans and grants available to the industry, the recovery will be long and challenging, and a little help goes a long way.
Get a free Spend Health Check
ProSource are currently offering a free spend health check to help businesses through the recovery. A spend health check is an assessment of your business operational costs, conducted to identify saving and operational opportunities across your business – with little to no input from you. It is managed entirely by group purchasing organisation – ProSource, who can not only show you saving opportunities, but manage the entire transitioning process to secure them and sustain them.
If you would like to discuss any of the challenges outlined in this article, or hear more about becoming a member of ProSource:
Email us: email@example.com
Call us: +44 (0)203 693 7275