How can your hospitality business survive this pandemic?

Which companies and brands will thrive afterward and why? Learn how some are already stepping up and helping out by showing their altruistic side. How will you show yours?

How can your hospitality business survive this pandemicDon’t let coronavirus grind us all down. Everything feels overwhelming right now but we’re all in this together and every single one of us can make a difference…if we choose to.

Hospitality companies are well placed to thrive in the future

It may not feel like it right now, but the hospitality industry is well placed to ride this contagion out. Why? Because deep down we’re thoughtful and care about our guests and the people who work with us. These vital traits are missing from many commercial organisations, but at times like this, their absence is obvious through their bad behaviour.

We’re about giving people memorable experiences that enhance their lives. Even in everyday, small ways of fleeting moments in busy schedules. Because we have the power to make them feel special and bring a smile to their faces.

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People will change what they value most

As we’re all being affected by this pandemic, it is natural that people are re-evaluating what is important to them. With plenty of lockdown time on their hands and restrictions on freedoms, everyone will be weighing up what they value most from their relationships with family, friends and brands.

If they’re one of the millions who have lost their livelihoods then they’ll be suffering financially, mentally and emotionally too. What if business people end up travelling less for their work and hanker after the simpler things in life? Like more time with their loved ones. What effect would this have on societies, on the hospitality industry and on your business?

What if people are going to value kindness and generosity over convenience and speed in future? Think about the impact it would have on markets, companies and brands. Any shift in their current thinking and future behaviour could have a massive impact on your business. The secret is to understand these changes, to alter the way you express your company’s values, to adapt your proposition, make your brand more attractive and to encourage them to spend money.

Selfishness will go out of fashion

In the most difficult of times it is the most helpful companies and brands that will thrive in the long term. Some short-sighted ones have been profiteering, like the doctor selling £2.5 million worth of overpriced COVID-19 testing kits in one week, and the sports retailer who hiked the cost of keep fit products just as we are all confined to our homes. Or the branch of the hotel chain named the UK’s worst for seven years in a row, fired its staff and kicked them out of live-in accommodation due to fears over coronavirus.

Of course, if you’re the cheapest in your market you can afford to behave badly as there will always be people who will put up and shut up because of your low prices. But for the rest of us who rely on providing a high quality experience in exchange for a premium price, thoughtless behaviour is not a sustainable option.

The selfish will be judged by consumers with long memories and the choice about where and how they spend their hard-earned money in the future. They’ll be less tolerant of bad behaviour and far more selective with their patronage.

20,000 hotel beds for health care workers

According to UKHospitality, almost 200 different hotels in the UK are making 20,000 beds available to health care staff and key workers who are being deployed to areas of high need, to battle the spread of the coronavirus. It could also help to save hotels at risk of going out of business and keep their people in work.

From vacuums to ventilators

Gtech specialises in making cordless vacuum cleaners and garden power tools and responded to the UK government’s request to create a ventilator in two weeks. To help in the battle against COVID-19, they are making design details of a medical ventilator public. Owner, Nick Grey says that “We designed the ventilator entirely from parts that can readily be made from stock materials or bought off-the-shelf and can be made by almost any engineering and manufacturing company”.

Living with worry and anxiety

Two Clinical Psychologists, Dr Matthew Whalley & Dr Hardeep Kaur from the on-line provider of Psychology Tools for mental health professionals have published a free guide to “Living with worry and anxiety amidst global uncertainty”, for anyone to use and to share it far and wide. As a self-help tool, it could make a real difference to anyone who is particularly worried and anxious at this time.

Staying apart is the best way to stay united

Coca-Cola have spent some money in Times Square in New York to advertise social distancing with the line, “Staying apart is the best way to stay united”. They even spaced out the letters of the brand name, ‘C o c a  C o l a’. A company spokesperson says, “As we all adjust to these very different circumstances, we will focus our efforts on how we can make a difference to our consumers, customers and communities in the weeks and months ahead.”

You don’t need a big budget to make a difference

Neptune is a home accessories and furniture brand, occupying an aspirational market position. They have a wonderful ethos, a warm tone of voice and recently I received an email with suggestions for how I could enjoy the increased time I am spending at home. All they had done was gather together some of the best things they’d spotted recently to help me enjoy the four walls I know best”. Simple. Thoughtful.

So what can you and your brand do in the short term?

Firstly, think about all the people you can help. Whether they are key workers, self-isolators or those still going out to work. Establish what they are concerned about and their specific challenges. Then make a list of helpful, useful and free things you can give away that could make even a small difference to them. Remember, there is nothing wrong with including your brand name so that they will remember who has provided them with a little bit of support in these challenging times.

Finally, every one of us can do something

If as individuals or organisations we don’t have the specialist skills to support front line staff in our health services, then as a minimum, we should all follow our government’s instructions to help ‘flatten the curve’. This will save lives as well as reduce the burden on key workers like supermarket employees and all the hardworking and hidden in the supply chains. So show our appreciation by clapping for our carers at 8pm on Thursdays #ClapForOurCarers

About the Author

Craig Thatcher,

Craig Thatcher is a branding specialist, creative director, business storyteller and film producer. He is also the author and publisher of  ‘Continuous Branding’. For more than thirty years he’s helped ambitious companies build strong brands, lead markets, win awards and thrive. He is a member of the advisory board of the Edge Hotel School and a finalist in the IOD Director of the Year Awards, 2018.

Tags: Hospitality businesses, Pandemic, Survive


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