Uncertainty hits India's travel and hospitality segments once again! At a time when the travel and hospitality industry had begun to witness an uptick in terms of demand, the second wave of the pandemic brought everything to a near standstill once again.
Uncertainty hits India’s travel and hospitality segments once again! At a time when the travel and hospitality industry had begun to witness an uptick in terms of demand, the second wave of the pandemic brought everything to a near standstill once again.
From weekend getaways and staycations to Nature centric leisure destinations, Indian travellers are once again taking a more cautious approach to travel, particularly as the country is fighting the second wave of COVID-19.
So, how is the hospitality segment including the holiday home segment currently coping with this diminished demand in terms of bookings?
Hospitality segment: Learnings from last year’s lockdown
“We have several learnings from last year’s lockdown and the immediate rebound in demand we witnessed when things re-opened.
Last year, there was uncertainty when things would return to normal and we had to take difficult calls from the get-go such as salary cuts and layoffs. This year, we are better prepared to deal with such shocks. This starts with streamlining the entire process by prioritizing the most important assets: our team. This year, we are not undergoing layoffs to control costs. We saw how resilient the holiday home rental industry was and are positive and are preparing for a robust next quarter,” Ankita Sheth, Co-Founder Vista Rooms tells Financial Express Online.
Hotels offer self isolation, quarantine facilities
While the return to weekend getaways and staycations may not seem easy, hotels are offering self isolation facilities to ensure and support the nation’s healthcare system at a time when it is facing unprecedented pressures.
Welcomhotels has rolled a notable initiative to help flatten the COVID-19 curve across India by offering quarantine facilities. Teaming up with partner hospitals, the offer is applicable to asymptomatic patients and those who are mildly symptomatic as well. Besides a comfortable and clean accomodation with in-room hygiene protocols and food delivery, the stay includes for guests all meals at the hotel itself. Further, on site medical care has been made available to track key parameters as and when it is required. There are email IDs on which booking queries can be made to kickstart the process of booking for quarantine facilities. More details are shared on the hotel website.
Terming it a ‘tough time’ for all, Anil Chadha, COO-ITC highlighted that the Welcomhotels’ collaboration with partner hospitals strives to provide relief and comfort to the community.
With its “Stay Safe, Stay Healthy’ self isolation facility, Sarovar Hotels and Resorts makes it possible for guests to directly book for self-isolation or quarantine. For those guests who are relocating to a new city, want a leisurely place to work from or simply want a comfortable space to stay in, this option can be availed. Bookings can be directly done for select locations through the hotel’s website.
What if lockdown restrictions continue?
Ankita Sheth, Co-Founder Vista Rooms tells Financial Express Online, “This quarter is focused on controlling all non-team expenses such as admin and marketing costs. If things extend beyond a month or two is when we need to think of other ways to manage costs.
This means we are ensuring the well-being of local people, who are employed at our properties. We are getting all covered under insurance and conducting a vaccination drive.”
Based on the current trends, hotels may be in for a long haul as more and more people are falling sick amidst the second wave. However, the focus is now shifting to using this downtime to set sustainable paradigms in the hospitality segment.
Recently, Andaz Delhi became the first hotel to team up with Swajal WaterCube to ensure minimal wastage. With this collaboration, all water bottles are sanitised, sterilized and thereafter, filled with water. In a nutshell, this ensures that glass hotels recirculate in the hotel premises with minimum wastage, thereby reducing carbon footprint.
Not just hotels, the holiday home segment is spearheading sustainable initiatives too. “Another important step is energy conservation at all our properties. Additionally, we are emphasizing more the farm to fork initiatives, so that we can reduce the carbon footprint as well as reduce the transportation cost of sourcing vegetables from cities. Lastly, rainwater harvesting is another important step we are taking so that natural water can be reused, thereby easing the dependence on other sources,” informs Ankita Sheth, Co-Founder Vista Rooms.
From hotels to home stays and holiday homes, there is a heightened awareness from last year’s learnings. Now, the coming months hold the key to sustaining the travel and hospitality segment.