Post-Covid Opportunities In Hospitality

By Bernard Amaya – Lecturer & Alumni Coordinator at Kenya Utalii College

COVID- 19 Pandemic has disrupted lives and negatively affected economies. The hospitality industry is one of the most affected economic activity, with hotels bearing the brunt of the pandemic. Shrinking hotel capacities due to the social distance requirement, wearing of face masks and enhanced standards of hygiene have had far reaching implications on the quality of guest experience.

Hospitality establishments must innovate to tap into the emerging opportunities in what has now become the new normal. Firms have to re-imagine and re-engineer their operations by coming up with new business models in order to fit in the new environment. Guests and customers no longer like the traditional products as they are seeking novel experiences.

The overriding service philosophy is to maximize on the available resources while embracing the new norm, for example, taking services to the customer to guarantee quality and safe experience.

For restaurants, for example, service delivery has moved away from the traditional brick and mortar, to takeaway meals experience. Takeaway meals have gained popularity as diners respond to the challenge of social distance, crowding and long hours of sitting down. This practice, which was previously reserved for fast food joints, is now the norm in the current dispensation where keeping safe distance is a must.

Secondly, home deliveries have been embraced by hotels and eateries. Food and Beverage establishments have devised this service model of taking the product to the guest via motor bikes and vans. As a result, eateries and hotels have been brought home to the customer. Many diners are opting to order ready-made food rather than cook at home.

Third, hotels can exploit opportunities presented by space around them to give guests meal services through tents. Tented food and drink services will become a common feature in the post-Covid era. The era of guest distancing has seen hotels with adequate space use it as unique selling point. Hotel gardens are offering meal services in tents, canopies and gazebos.

Fourth, rooms are being converted to normal food and beverage service centers for guests.Offering room service converts the guest room into a service center particularly meal service. Traditionally, room service was reserved for the honeymooners, very important guests or sick guests. Currently, in-house guests are being encouraged to consume meals in their room.

Fifth, outside catering provides great opportunities for hotels to offer services in the place of the gap left by reduced number of guests who patronize hospitality establishments. These services are popular among corporates who prefer on- premises catering services. Guests going on excursions or game drives and the hotels should offer them packed meals.

Sixth, fine dining catering personalized service has become a major response to pandemic challenge since the buffets have been done away with. Showmanship by service providers is back. This can also take the form of packed meals for schools, colleges and corporates.

Seventh, bush dinner, lunches and breakfast hoteliers should explore offering bush lunches, breakfasts and dinners where social distances will be easily achieved. This will also offer diverse meal experience. Many hotels have been using bush experience to enrich guest experience.

Lastly, strategic alliances between hotels and mall eateries is an area that should be explored. A good example is Safari Park Hotel & Casino which has food outlets at Garden city mall, KICC & JKIA i.e. Koreana Chicken, Café Safari & Mango Plus respectively. Strategic alliances with airlines and inflight catering has not been popular with hotels. Outside food dispensing points in strategic places such as food courts in malls can give hotels an opportunity to serve snack menu and non-alcoholic beverages.

By and large, the food and beverage services are fast evolving into retail and personalized services. Hospitality firms are taking services to the guests as opposed to waiting for them to come to their premises. Every available space should be converted for dining.

February 10, 2021

Great article! Inspiring and thought provoking. Covid-19 though challenging offers multiple opportunities for establishments that will embrace innovation.

February 10, 2021

A well thought out article that offers Opportunity in a disappointing Covid-19 period. Kudos

February 11, 2021

Thank you Evans for your comments.

February 20, 2021

Thanks Evans

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