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The current predicament surrounding COVID-19 has been hard for just about every industry. The hospitality industry is certainly no exception. With travel bans on most regions and locations, hotels and inns have been forced to seriously re-examine their operating procedures and business viability. Major tourist destinations in which hospitality once thrived are now being forced to adjust their financial plans if they are to continue existing as a business. On top of that, new regulations that require new training make surviving in the midst of COVID-19 a challenge for just about everyone in the hospitality industry.

However, the challenges have not removed the basic fact that hotels need to exist. People will always need this service, and how the hospitality industry responds to the crisis will determine a great deal of its success.

Cleanliness and safety regulations will have to be emphasized once again, and technology will be a major factor in allowing that to happen.

How can the industry thrive?

The only way forward for the industry is to continue doing what is the basic premise of the hospitality industry: Listening to the customer. More efficient check-in processes and digital key locks have been on customer wish lists for ages; now they’re practically a necessity. The new safety measures are becoming an incredible convenience for guests. Hotel guests have wanted to be able to check into their rooms without human contact for quite some time, but certain hotels have been slow to adopt them, fearing the removal of human contact would detract from the experience. But hotels will have to pivot and find more innovative ways to interact with and delight their customers.

Listening to customer needs will position industry leaders to jump ahead of competitors. In the current game, an open ear to desires and the ability to respond quickly will determine which hotel gains the most business in the wake of COVID-19. Hotels should be quick to advertise their compliance with safety measures and their above-and-beyond methods in blending safety and luxury in their environments.

The hotel industry isn’t going away — but some of the old and often nostalgic practices associated with it might. It’s up to the industry to decide their own fate.