11. November 2021
Your latest instalment of articles and opinions from across the hospitality sector.
Will the travel industry, and its symbiotic partner the hotel sector, return to pre-COVID levels of occupancy and use? If not, how different will this new reality look from "normal"? These are the questions keeping many hoteliers awake at night.
The CEO of Expedia, Peter Kern, has likened the pandemic to 9/11. The terror attacks were at the time described as the greatest ever crisis for the travel industry with many commentating that no one would get on a plane again. Two years later, the airline industry was reporting the largest numbers ever seen as we were jet setting all over the world. An alternate view is that extreme events always cause long term changes to behaviour. Take the London Tube strikes of 2014 as an example which forced commuters to find better routes. Over 18 months later, 1 in 20 people had permanently changed their journey.
We are by nature creatures of habit but in our view the enforced change the lockdown brought will have an impact. We are just not sure what this will be. The pandemic caused people to look at destinations much closer to home, to holiday in a different way – and perhaps to realise the benefits of staying in their home country. Business travel stopped with many a CEO reporting a material improvement to their profits as a result – will they suddenly unleash the horses again? Indeed, today many are still choosing to have business meetings via Zoom (although many COP26 attendees seemed to have jumped on private jets to Glasgow…).
Why should we just assume we go back to travelling and staying in hotels in exactly the same way? The drive for net zero is surely also going to have an impact as well. We are not sure how, but it will be different.
The Tokyu Hotels Group runs a hotel completely on renewable energy.
Hostmore admitted to London Stock Exchange