For hospitality and tourism it will be a cold winter
One can hardly speak of an opening or a new beginning in hospitality when one considers the restrictions on the use of hotels and restaurants and the still considerable restrictions in travel, tourism and air traffic. Including the lack of personnel, it looks even worse.
However, at least fifty percent of this misery is homemade and was not caused by Corona. Thanks to Corona, the problems in the hospitality industry, but also at the airports, are now only brought to light, which can be seen as positive. Many employees did not come back to the industry. The best said goodbye first when they were fired, abandoned. Then they received offers for a lower salary because of Corona and most of them thankfully declined. Today companies complain that they have to apply to employees to fill vacancies. Is someone starting to notice something?
Many employees are already banned from working if they are not vaccinated. This also limits the supply of labor. Healthy - but no certificate from the state? No longer wanted! Are these the bad ones? Are theses the good ones? Both! In the end we limit ourselves
The split continues to limit us
The division into vaccinated and unvaccinated people is just as damaging to our industry as the measures. What makes sense - Vaccinated or unvaccinated, I am not qualified to judge myself because I'm not a virologist and medical specialist.
So: “If you have no clue - shut up!” If that were to be conveyed as a guiding principle before every talk show, most of the guests today would have to be kicked out.
However, I can observe the effects of a split in society and it looks sad for our industry, which has already suffered enough.
A pub, a restaurant, a bar that has to be open 7 days in cities and also in the country side and makes the big sales on Thursday, Friday and on the weekend to compensate for the weak days at the beginning of the week is now having a hard time. On the first days of the week they only offer service to guests without earning much or nothing at all. How can that work when the places are limited on the strong days and the number of guests are limited because they are either not tested, not recovered, not vaccinated? Rest days are a solution, but also mean two days less sales and if you have a small hotel that is definitely not possible because you cannot sell any rooms for two days.
One restaurateur introduces 1G - only vaccinated - another one 2G - also recovered - the next 3G also tested and the next says “no G - move on!” All of this is supported by different federal states and constantly changing rules. Why are 2000 European Parliamentarians overpaid in Brussels if there is no European rule? Maybe we should start saving there!
Hoteliers and restaurateurs were always the ones who were most tolerant, respected guests and chose a language that many could learn from. Today I have the feeling that we contribute to the division of society as much as everyone else. We have lost our decency - at least linguistically! We are definitely not united in our interests!
In Germany, over 30% of the population is currently unvaccinated. I cannot judge what is correct or not because I am not a health expert, but the fact is that we have lost around 16 million adults in Germany as guests.
The only thing I can plead for is that we all treat each other in a respectful, tolerant and decent manner.
The hygiene measures that include hand disinfection cost a lot of money even if they do not help against the corona virus, as we now know, but they are still good for avoiding Noro, Rota and other viruses (which apparently nobody is afraid of). They therefore make sense for the hotel and catering industry. I can't judge if wearing masks is good or bad either, because I'm not an expert, but I have noticed that the smoking rooms at airports are now also very popular with non-smokers because you can remove the mask here.
Wash your hands? What kind of filthy nation are we anyway? I've been in the hotel business for forty years and I wash my hands all the time! I thought the others did too? I would never have imagined that one should be reminded of it so often.
“As a hygiene measure, we only clean the rooms after checking out”! A slogan used by many hotels today! Very hygienic, but unfortunately standard these days!
Inflation increases the pressure on all hotels and restaurants
Inflation will further reduce the number of guests who can eat out or who can afford to stay in a hotel.
In addition, the energy prices double something we have to pass on to the guest in the future. This makes us even less attractive.
Food prices have risen between 10% and for some products up to 34%. Gasoline prices continue to skyrocket.
Anyone who runs a hotel has to pay sales tax, trade tax, corporation tax, insurance, pay wage costs, pay bank fees and still hasn’t bought the breakfast rolls, which have also become more expensive.
With all the rising costs, it is getting harder and harder to pay the staff more, but as the cost of living increases, many employees will have to ask themselves whether it is still worth working for us.
The only solution that some countries have already introduced would be a tax cut on VAT, taxes on energy and also on petrol (in Germany currently 69%) and on basic foodstuffs.
These are interesting times, and it looks like they will stay interesting. I still like the hotel and catering industry and am therefore glad that we now have to change a lot for the better. It will be difficult, but just going on like this is not an option and that's a good thing.
Author: Stephan Busch, for many years Academic Director at the State University for the Humanities Moscow RGGU, Faculty of Tourism & Hospitality and the Swiss International University earned his Master Certificate in Hospitality Management from Cornell University, USA. He has a diverse experience in launching operations, business development and service training- for hotel and cruise companies in Asia, Europe, Canada and Russia.