Before the pandemic, the hospitality industry was a thriving sector in Europe and across the world, focused on issues like sustainability and environmental challenges. Despite the last few years proposing various unexpected changes and challenges for this sector, the hospitality industry has adapted rapidly and seamlessly.
While the crisis shaped the economy, countries like Germany, being the third-largest global international travel market, had a strong plan in place. Hotels in the country focused on extensive hygiene and took stringent social distancing measures.
Steps were taken to boost the local hospitality and tourism industry, bringing domestic German destinations like Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Schleswig Holstein to prominence.
Even during uncertain times, people were preparing to travel once restrictions were lifted. That was a silver lining for industry players who planned to navigate the new normal with a stronger business model and adaptivity.
Adapting to a post-pandemic world
The hotel industry in the post-pandemic world is vastly different and requires various additional measures. While travel returns, it's crucial to move forward smartly, therefore hotel owners should consider opening hotels in phases.
This is pivotal for creating new strategies that sit well in the post-pandemic landscape. Short-term rental stays have become more popular which pushed Marriott to launch Homes & Villas by Marriott International.
By focusing on remote and smaller rentals, the hospitality sector will be able to attract more guests and subsequently provide them with world-class amenities. Such changes in the business models are necessary to maintain technical, operations and other costs.
Another important measure is ensuring minimal human touchpoint to create a safe and hygienic environment for all. For example, Maritim Hotels during its events ensured that guests do not run into "non-event" persons by putting in necessary protocols.
Radisson Hotels also ensured limited contact by putting in security protocols which gave added safety during any meeting or event. Additionally, there are contactless room services, bookings, virtual menus and virtual tourist guides that have become essential.
While all these features are put in place, it's equally important to build a core team that is well trained and aligned with the business objectives. They should be able to navigate through the new set-up easily and bring the same quality to the guest experience.
Ensuring sustainability during the Covid-19 pandemic
Sustainability has long been an important issue in the hospitality sector and various stringent measures are being taken. The United Nations has a 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with goals including climate action, responsible consumption and production and zero hunger.
Since the hospitality industry is an important part of the food sector, it must contribute to sustainability wisely. This includes providing inexpensive, convenient and healthy meals, ensuring no harm is done to the environment by taking measures like avoiding food wastage, keeping pollution in check and avoiding single-use plastics.
Hotels must collaborate with consumers, stakeholders and the government to ensure the use of eco-friendly approaches. This became essential during the Covid-19 pandemic when eating out was no longer an option.
Current customers comprise mainly of millennials and Generation Z, who as per CNBC, give maximum importance to the environment. Therefore, their choice of restaurant or eating outlet is heavily impacted by sustainability.
BSBI students also conducted a study focused on providing low-cost nutritious food to locals. This study was done on the prawn supply chain and consumption rate in the town of Santiniketan- Sriniketan-Bolpur in India. The crux of this study was the economic sustainability of aquaculture. You can read more about the case study titled, Commercial Importance of a Freshwater Prawn, here.
Measures for the industry and consumers
Being eco-friendly is not a choice but a necessity for the hospitality industry. Consumers in the post-pandemic world are more considerate about their eating choices. Millennials and Generation Z are more likely to choose a restaurant that focuses on organic farming and reduces environmental damage by replacing disposable plastic with environmentally friendly alternatives.
German restaurants like Einsunternull, Katz Orange and Pantry in Berlin already focus on going green and sourcing sustainable ingredients to ensure an ultra-light carbon footprint. Moreover, the nation had already taken the initiative to ban all plastic cutlery by mid-2021.
These movements build trust with customers who are willing to eat at a place that goes to great lengths to ensure health and environmental safety. Therefore, the hospitality industry must adopt some short-term strategies such as discontinuing plastic cutlery in takeaways and using compostable packaging.
They can gradually move towards long-term goals like resource conservation, encouraging local produce and better energy management. All the while, the hospitality and tourism industry should encourage customers to use reusable containers and reduce carbon footprints.
How is the hospitality industry moving forward in the new normal?
We are in the third year of a pandemic-hit world and the hospitality industry has made a substantial recovery. New steps and strategies have pushed forward this recovery as hotels are increasingly focused on contactless customer services and are offering flexible options on bookings and cancellations. Such flexible options give customers an added motivation to make reservations without the fear of sudden lockdown restrictions.
As normality returns, people are keen to travel more with longer stays but they want added reassurance of a safe and enjoyable experience. This means more private dining facilities, stay packages with the element of wellness and health, using apps to order food and more.
How can the hospitality sector bring back business?
Using data-driven insights can be widely useful for the hospitality industry to understand the expectations of guests and create better business models. As mentioned earlier, local travel in many countries including Germany became popular in 2021. This trend should be encouraged so local communities, businesses and especially indigenous people can recover from the hardship of the pandemic.
Ensuring that there is a continuous focus on sustainability is another useful measure, but it must be incorporated with long-term goals. Going green will help hotels connect with the current generation of customers, aid the environment and bring visibility with new socially conscious customers.
National and state governments must do their part in boosting this industry by lowering taxes levied on hospitality and tourism-related services. For example, the German government helped the leading tourism business, TUI Group, survive the pandemic by giving them €1.25 billion for recapitalisation. This move proved to save many jobs.
Looking to be a part of the hospitality industry? Check out the MA Tourism, Hospitality and Event Management programme offered by Berlin School of Business and Innovation (BSBI).
This 18-month programme, offered in partnership with the acclaimed University for the Creative Arts (UCA), focuses on business principles and their operation in the hospitality sector. This postgraduate programme creates a strong foundation that is needed to pursue managerial roles.
Students opting for this programme will be taught using modules focusing on academic research methods. They will also get the opportunity to study German.
Click here to learn more.
What makes hospitality a good career option?
Hospitality is among the most thriving sectors, adding $3.4 trillion to the global economy annually. In the US alone, this industry had two million job openings in 2021 and 8.2 million people in Europe are part of the hospitality industry. This sector has a multitude of job roles that you can opt for. Additionally, hospitality is a career that is highly dynamic and offers personal as well as professional growth.
Is Berlin a good destination for international students?
In a 2018 survey carried out by QS, Berlin is the seventh-best student city and is a brilliant destination for international students. Despite being a popular city, it is more affordable than London and New York, has a multicultural environment and even has a business hub.