Over the last year, the Coronavirus pandemic affected many industries worldwide, including the Hospitality industry. The rise in COVID-19 cases caused travel restrictions in many countries, cruise lines put on hold, reduced capacity for airlines, and temporary closures of hotels.
Most hotel brands and hotel chains were hit hard during the pandemic because people did not feel comfortable traveling to other states or countries because of the constant fear of contracting the virus.
The travel restrictions of different countries also played a role in this hit. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the world’s leading hotel chains lost $14 billion in income. Some examples of these hotel chains include Wyndham Worldwide, Choice Hotels, Marriott International, and Hilton Worldwide Holdings.
On a positive note, things started to get better in the hospitality industry once more people got vaccinated, and more COVID-19 restrictions started to get lifted. Here in UpStay, we have been fortunate to work with various hoteliers over the last year to help them with finding ways to generate revenue when their properties were back in business and the results have been very positive, converting up to 15% of their guests to buy room upgrades and additional ancillaries..
We have done deep research on how easing COVID-19 restrictions are helping hotels and other aspects of the industry. The factors that we state below each play a significant role in helping the hospitality industry.
More countries’ borders are opening up, allowing more air travel.
As COVID-19 restrictions start easing up, more countries are reopening their borders to international tourists.
This news is fantastic especially for those countries that thrive on tourism and hospitality to help the economy. As mentioned in an article from CNN, some examples of countries that are already open to US tourists include, but not limited to, the Dominican Republic, Greece, Spain, Israel, Mexico, and the Bahamas.
Even though many countries have reopened their borders to international travelers, some of them either need you to get the COVID-19 vaccine or show proof of a negative COVID test before boarding the plane to that country.
The evolution of traveling and vaccinations during the pandemic can be linked. How so? Because once more countries received the COVID-19 vaccine and the majority of their citizens got fully vaccinated, more people began to travel to countries that have high vaccination rates. As shown in Our World in Data, the top 5 countries that have the highest number of fully vaccinated citizens are Israel, Bahrain, Chile, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
There is also a percentage of people in those five countries that received their first dose of the vaccine. These percentages are lower than the fully vaccinated ones, but it still shows a good sign.
During this time, these top 5 countries have different approaches in terms of easing their travel restrictions. For example, Israel is allowing international travelers to enter the country with proof of vaccination and negative test results while Bahrain requires a negative test for COVID-19 and a quarantine period. According to Garda.com, Israel plans to allow vaccinated individual tourists to enter the country starting in July as COVID-19 restrictions are gradually eased.
Chile, however, still restricts U.S. citizens from entering the country.
For the United Kingdom, you need a negative test as well and follow quarantine protocols upon arrival. For the United States, you are permitted to travel domestically as well as travel to other countries if you are fully vaccinated.
As more countries open up their borders for international travel, travelers do not need to stick to domestic travel. Instead, they can leisurely travel to other countries where vaccination rates have been increasing in the last month.
Hotels are now able to operate at total capacity.
Before easing the COVID-19 restrictions, many hotels either had to temporarily close their doors or reduce the guest capacity by a large percentage (e.g., 40% capacity rather than 100%). They’ve also had to follow tight mask requirements and social distance rules.
However, since the COVID restrictions have been lifted, hotels can open their doors at total capacity and allow guests to use their amenities even if they need to implement security measures for the guests.
Large scale in-person events have been planned for fully vaccinated participants.
After a year of virtual events and programming, there are finally in-person events and conventions for tourists to attend worldwide. Many people are tired of Zoom events and conferences. Mainly because they have what is called “Zoom fatigue”, a feeling of being drained and tired after a long conference call or an event held on Zoom, rather than in person.
Hosting large upscale in-person events will definitely be a big boost in the economy and the hospitality industry because the event industry has been crucial for hoteliers over the last several years . Over the past few months, planners and organizers have been working for these events to happen and considering factors such as COVID-19 vaccines and social distancing measures.
More people are itching to travel again after a year of not traveling.
The different lockdown periods in various countries made it difficult for people to travel. For example, some countries in Europe had implemented different time frames of strict lockdowns due to the rise in COVID-19 cases and variants.
Once vaccines were administered and countries opened up, people started feeling the anticipation to travel domestically or abroad again.
Some people feel ready to travel once they receive the vaccine and see a change in the amount of cases after administering the vaccine. Meanwhile, according to USA Today, 28% of people would feel medically secure flying a few weeks after their second dose or early.
COVID-19 limitations are being eased, making it more convenient for people to travel again. This gives people a sense of hope and faith that traveling will be easier. Another factor that makes it easier for people to travel is getting the vaccine to ensure they feel safe and comfortable.
A couple of examples of countries that lifted COVID-19 restrictions include New Zealand and Australia. New Zealand’s hotel industry was one of the first ones to recover quickly after restrictions were lifted. Australia’s hotel industry is in the process of recovery because of lifted restrictions and staycations, which can involve day trips to local attractions or spending the night at a hotel by a local beach.
To summarize, the hospitality industry has benefited greatly from the relaxation of COVID-19 limitations. More people are getting vaccinated, airlines and hotels are getting booked to total capacity, countries are reopening safely, and people want to travel again.
The hospitality industry is slowly but surely recovering after the COVID-19 global pandemic. Easing the restrictions will turn into a positive outcome for the economy and all aspects of the hospitality industry.