Covid19 live blog roundup: Hotels look forward to life after coronavirus

by | 26 Aug 2020 | General News

The Kempinksi hotel in Al Khobar is taking advantage of low occupancy rates for its renovation

We summarise updates shared on the TOPHOTELNEWS Covid19 live blog to draw a picture of how the international hotel industry is negotiating the ongoing crisis.

The international hospitality industry has been sent into a tailspin with the sudden onslaught of the coronavirus crisis. From lockdowns to travel bans and border closures, hotels are having to navigate more uncertain waters than ever before.

Our team has been tracking in real-time how the industry is reacting to the continuing crisis, and here we recap some of the recent activity around the world, focusing on positive developments in particular.

Hotels look to the future

As summer starts to draw to a close in many markets, hotels are readying themselves for a future beyond Covid19’s first wave. A lot of these plans involve renovations, refurbishments and transformations, which are typically easier to undertake when occupancy rates are low. One of the hotels that seems to have gone down this route is the 383-key Kempinski Al Othman Hotel Al Khobar, which is currently being renovated.

Projects that are not yet under construction also appear well-placed to adjust their offering to better suit potential new restrictions and guidelines. These include Shangri-La Hotel in Bahrain, which is currently in the design phase but will offer extensive recreational and meeting facilities when it opens in 2022.

Certain brands are taking this opportunity to plan for continued growth when normal life resumes however. Club Med is responding to the challenging economic climate by setting in motion a whole host of new projects in China, which by common consent seems to have largely brought the virus under control. Meanwhile, in travel news, Bali has brought back domestic flights in a bid to encourage national tourism from the rest of Indonesia.

Bouncing back after a challenging few months

On the other side of the coin, properties, brands and operators are doubling down on safety policies and funding efforts to bolster business and bring back customers. The MGM Resorts Foundation, for example, has received a US$2 million donation from MGM founder Kirk Kerkorian’s estate as an employee grant fund, which should help employees and their families weather this unexpected storm.

Meanwhile, the ever-divisive issue of masks in the US is being tackled by numerous hotel groups, including Hyatt and Oakwood. Hyatt has said face coverings are now a requirement for guests of its hotels in the Americas, while Oakwood in Singapore has announced masks are required for everyone – staff, visitors and other personnel alike – in the public areas of its properties.

Lastly, the World Travel & Tourism Council has added Sri Lanka and Grenada to the list of destinations that will now be supplied with its Safe Travels stamp, thought to be the world’s first safety and hygiene stamp.