Hospitality’s revival strategy – continuing along a road more often travelled post-pandemic
With restaurants and hotels opening up in phases since the end of 2020 and the beginning of the year 2021, the Indian hospitality sector has been very determined in its approach.
India or say the entire world could have never possibly predicted this large a pandemic which has taken every continent by storm. After months of lockdown and rolling out of the vaccine, India is slowly opening up and the economy is back on the tough path to revival.
The hospitality sector, and most other ancillary sectors included, had been almost entirely inactive during most of the lockdown period. Restaurants were shut down and hotels are empty, other than the ones which have been converted to provide quarantine facilities. While this was the lockdown reality of hospitality, the sector has been quick in involving new guidelines for their sustainability in the aftermath of this worldwide pandemic that has left humans extremely sensitive.
Delivery and takeout services now constitute one of the major revenue points of hospitality as people are still apprehensive about dining in even after the lockdown ended and the vaccine is out. For dining in, the spacing of tables is a critical decision for guests looking at venues and the Restaurant Managers ability to space guests to different areas of a room to ensure space has been maximised. Normally, the staff would frequently visit the tables for additional sauces, condiments, and service checks; however, now these have been minimised only when necessary. The staff conducts a one-stop delivery with a step back to provide optimum and appreciable hospitality service. Fewer tables are now laid out to allow social distancing norms to be followed. The employees are all medically fit and accordingly customers are assured.
Although hygiene and cleanliness have always been the priority of the sector, however, sanitization methods have been made compulsory before entering the establishment. Masks and gloves are mandatory for all staff members and they have been asked to strictly adhere to these policies for their own as well as the guests' safety. Screening and temperature checks of all guests and staff on arrival are a part of the daily routine. Fortunately, for the people of our country, health and hospitality now walk hand-in-hand since most hotels and restaurants have resumed businesses. Automatic electric doors are more favourable to push/pull. The frequency of wiping down high-use items such as door handles and lift buttons has been increased, and guests use either provided or their disposable wipes with allotted waste bins to dispose off these items.
Hotels have made investments in technology to sustain the inflow of people and in turn, revenue. Automated entry systems, technology-based sanitisation, automatic light system, and other such advanced technological measures have been rolled out which ensures a touch-free experience and interaction. Slowly and steadily, the hospitality sector is coming back to normal but with a safer and more hygienic experience.
Social distancing norms have become a big part of the picture, at least for the coming next one to two years. The staff, as well as the guests, stand on allocated or marked areas or follow social distancing during most forms of in-person communication. Check-ins are mostly digitised with as little interaction as possible.
The hospitality sector has been very successful in adapting quickly and steadfastly to the changing environment. The way we project our hospitality may have changed but at its core, being hospitable still maintains the same definition of being warm and welcoming.
There is a lot of hope for the hospitality sector to doubly prosper as the pandemic seems to be on the verge of its end. However, with the limited support of the government, the hospitality sector seems to be on its way to make a strong comeback on its own. If our government joined in the efforts and we have been requesting them to do so, the hospitality sector will be back to its usual strength and power sooner than we could imagine.
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