COVID-19 impact roundup: How Melia Hotels is coping with the coronavirus
Melia Hotels announces plans to overcome the coronavirus crisis. (Picture: Booking.com)
From hotel closures to an updated cancellation policy, Melia employs various strategies to tackle the fallout from Covid19.
Hotel groups around the world are scrambling to deal with the ever-evolving Covid19 crisis that is crippling global travel, tourism and the hospitality industries. Spanish hotel group Melia Hotels International was among the early adopters of a variety of measures to manage their operations in the midst of the crisis. We find out what they have been doing.
In early March, before the full extent of the crisis was known, Melia’s strategy was to encourage prospective guests to reserve a stay with them by offering slashed rates on rooms and packages up to an incredible 45%. This flash sale was designed to boost revenue before the inevitable downturn, and was made all the more appealing by the fact that the sale was accompanied by a free cancellation option that lasts until next year.
Flexible cancellation policy
Many hotel groups are turning towards more flexible cancellation policies to attract customers, and Melia is no different. Along with the “free to cancel” policy implemented with the flash sale, guests are also still allowed to cancel any other bookings any time free of charge.
In March, Melia took decisive action across its Spanish portfolio, as the virus began to spread at a shocking rate in one of Europe’s most solid, popular and profitable tourist destinations. Out of Melia’s 380 global properties, the group closed 45 hotels in Spain. Most of these hotels were in Andalusia (13), Madrid (11) and Catalonia (9), with the Balearic Islands, Valencia, the Basque Country and the Canary Islands also badly affected.
Melia and MICE
China was the initial epicentre of the virus, given that it originated there, but Covid19 has since spread across the globe. Because of China’s early dealings with the virus, it was necessary for Melia to suspend all its planned MICE events at its Chinese properties for the foreseeable future, as well as in European destinations such as Barcelona and Milan, which coincide with big events including The Mobile World Congress and the Milan Furniture Fair. However, according to a press release published by the group at the end of February, Melia “remains prudent with regard to its forecasts, subject to the evolution of the management of the Covid19 virus and the consequent impact it may have”.