Guests will closely monitor safety and hygiene standards from now on: S K Sinha
The corona virus pandemic will change the tourism sector forever. It will change the way the sector will do its business, maintain its hygiene and treats its guests. In an interview, Hycinth Hotels Manager S K Sinha says considerable damage has been done to the morale of the employees and that’s probably more difficult to measure than the actual loss in monetary terms. Excerpts:
Q: The hospitality industry is going through probably its worst ever phase in history. Did you think that the crisis would end up having such a devastating effect on the industry?
A: Definitely no. This pandemic was not expected to affect the lives of these many number of people around the globe, not only the hotel industry but all sorts of industries and business.
Q: What kind of losses do you think the industry will end up with, for the year?
A: The loss that COVID – 19 has cost the industry is huge by now and is expected to make a heavier damage in the coming days. More than the financial damage, the damage to the morale of the people involved in the tourism industry on a whole is something that can’t be measured in figures. .
Q: What do you think are the steps that the industry can take to minimise the damage caused?
A: The industry has already gone into a lockdown and currently the time has been utilized to clean and sanitize the hotel. The hotels are running with only the minimum number of staff for running whatever operations are expected. The expenses are restricted to a bare minimum so that the damages are not heavy at the end of the day.
Q: What kind of support do you expect from the central and state governments?
A: The financial support by the way of allowing time to clear off the loans, if any, and all necessary support in terms of fixed expenses related to hotel industry would be highly appreciated.
Q: Can you please talk through the threat of job losses in the sector? How do you plan to address this issue?
A: We have ensured our employees that none of them will lose their job due to the situation we all are going through. But the threat of COVID-19 is still on. Manpower cost is an important factor in hotel industry though. Industry will act on manpower according to the situation.
Q: How long do you think it will take for the industry to revive the interest of the tourists? In what way can the industry win back the confidence of the guests?
A: The damage caused by COVID – 19 is so heavy that we do not expect foreigners to start travelling soon, but on the other hand, there is quite a large amount of business that has got stuck due to this. There will definitely be lot of inbound travelling once the current situation changes. There will definitely be lots of efforts from the part of government to promote tourism as Kerala has always been dependent on the tourism industry to support the citizens. Kerala government has always been prompt in promoting tourism which is well appreciated by all.
Q: Will the industry need to recalibrate the rooms rates and other charges, once the COVID-19 scare disappears? What changes do you expect to see?
A: We may expect such requests from some, but I think room rates may get change from November onwards.
Q: What new offerings can guests expect from the hospitality sector, once normal services resume? Will the industry be the same again?
A: The greatest lesson that COVID – 19 has taught is about the importance of cleanliness and hygiene. The emphasis in future will definitely be in ensuring all the guests who step into our hotel are given a clean and hygienic space to stay and dine in. We are expecting a definite boom in tourism once the situation is back in control.
Q: The virus has put the spotlight on health and hygiene. From that perspective, the hospitality industry needs to gear up for the new standards. Please comment.
A: As mentioned before, the emphasis on cleanliness and hygiene will be more in future. The services offered by different hotels will be weighed keeping in consideration of the safety and hygiene measures taken by hotels. Any lapse in maintaining the safety, hygiene and cleanliness will be observed closely by guests.