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May 7, 2020

 

TOPLINE: Hotels Have Applied for Paycheck Protection Program and Other Loans

More than 95% of respondents applied for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and/or Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). 79% of applicants were approved for one or both. The median loan amount applied for was $150,000 (max PPP loan amount is 2.5x monthly payroll).

Top reasons why: A) Loan only covers 8 weeks of payroll and expected recovery to take much longer; B) Many hotels are still closed by government order and unable to reopen C) Have to spend PPP funds in short window of time to be forgivable, unable to hire staff back and will then be required to repay the loan.

TOPLINE: Lack of Debt Forbearance is a major issue for hotel owners NOW

Survey of hotels highlights urgent need for AHLA’s requested updates to Paycheck Protection Program and for debt relief from lenders, especially within the CMBS market.

BOTTOM LINE: With little to no revenue + no forbearance = hotels permanently close

BOTTOM LINE: More than 50% said the loan amount is not enough to rehire their staff.

BOTTOM LINE: More than 50% said the loan amount is not enough to rehire their staff.

 
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AMBLER, PA - May 7, 2020 - With stay-at-home orders in place in most states, public health structural pests like bedbugs, roaches and rodents are proliferating because of increased accessibility to food sources.  All of these contribute to worsening asthma conditions and related breathing complications, which may lead to more severe cases of COVID-19 for the 25 million asthmatics in the U.S.

 

Although pest control has been deemed an essential service by Homeland Security and the vast majority of states during the COVID-19 pandemic, concerns over maintaining social distancing and possible exposure to the coronavirus has significantly slowed, or stopped, treatments for these internal structural pests. 

 

“The implementation of stay-at-home mandates has created a fertile breeding ground for bedbugs, roaches, and rodents. This is especially true for multi-occupant, assisted living, and hospitality properties,” said Joseph Latino, President of Allergy Technologies.  “There is a need to strike the ‘right’ balance between preserving public health through preventive and focused pest control, while not causing undue exposure risk to clients during the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

 

Bedbugs

 

Bedbugs require frequent blood meals to grow into adulthood and reproduce. Within several months one pregnant female can result in over 30,000 bedbugs.  If left unaddressed, bedbugs will spread throughout a facility, affecting the lives of neighboring tenants in multi-occupant environments.

 

Bedbugs also prefer to feed while being undisturbed; for example, when people are sleeping or resting for extended periods on a couch, while watching TV or playing video games. Stay-at-home social behavior has provided plenty of opportunities for bedbugs to feed. Sadly, those affected by the coronavirus, who are too sick to get out of bed, provide the ideal bedbug victim.  Resulting bites, when repeatedly scratched, can result in infections that further complicate the condition of the patient. 

 

Hotels are also increasingly being repurposed as locations for the homeless, quarantine sites, and temporary housing for healthcare workers and emergency first responders. Bedbug introductions will undoubtedly rise substantially without implementing prevention and affecting timely treatments. While hotels are being returned to service and are undergoing sanitization, they should consider including bedbug detection, treatment and instituting preventive strategies.  These measures are significantly easier to enact, less disruptive and less expensive while the hotel is unoccupied.   Taking proactive steps now to treat and prevent bedbugs will create great savings down the road.

 

Rodents and Roaches

 

Rodent activity is on the uptick throughout the country. Increased food storage, food waste and delayed garbage removal provide ample food sources for these pests to grow quickly in number. National experts in the control of rodents note that, as quarantines continue and restaurants remain closed, rodent activity is likely to rise in homes, apartments, affordable housing and assisted living facilities.

 

In addition, roach infestations are on the rise in environments with poor sanitation. In just 3-4 months, a roach population can multiply by over 600 times, and will continue to expand exponentially without periodic pest control maintenance and proper cleaning procedures.

 

Solution

 

If pest management professionals are not being engaged to control these public health pests, residents are likely to resort to ‘do-it-yourself’ pest control, including the improper use of household chemicals, which are ineffective and often dangerous. “Many of these chemicals are highly flammable and can compromise those with breathing difficulties,” Latino added. “And some treatments may actually enhance the resistance of these pests to traditional chemical treatments, making treatment less effective and more time-consuming.”

 

Pest management professionals, using well-established COVID-19 hygiene guidelines, can implement prevention programs that will significantly reduce the problems caused by these public health pests. 

 

Untreated pests can spread to infest entire buildings over several months, resulting in  extensive and costly treatments; significant facility-wide disruption; and unnecessarily prolonged interactions between staff, residents and pest managers which is a problem in today’s environment. “Delaying treatment and the implementation of preventive programs has created an explosion of infestations, which dangerously increases the levels of allergens for residents subject to asthma and related allergies,” added Gus Carey, Founder of Allergy Technologies.  “Residents of these facilities, particularly in typically underserved affordable housing, should not have to suffer the health problems, psychological distress and disruptions caused by these pests.” 

  

In trying to control the delicate balance between the short term needs of preventing the spread of COVID-19 and securing public safety through responsible pest control, the unintended hazards of deferring treatments for public health pests must be recognized.  “Even in the short- and medium term, adopting preventive strategies now, using well-documented IPM-based protocols, will reduce the need for contact time between residents and pest management service providers by 50-65%,” Latino concluded. 

 
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May 5, 2020 – Travel is impacted globally by current health concerns. Occupancy is down, but in time, our industry will recover. For now, there are important things hoteliers can do to address the public’s concern over hygiene and personal contact, and many of them include technology. This period of lower demand is also an ideal time to look at your business and handle projects that may be on the back burner.

Guest safety is paramount, so be ready to tell guests the steps your property is taking to protect their health. Build confidence in your property’s hygiene measures by assuring guests of any upscaled housekeeping initiatives. Promote your emphasis on cleanliness, such as deep cleaning rooms and swabbing contact areas with sanitizing liquids and wipes. Review your property’s technology systems to identify functionality that reduces guest and staff contact.

Technology can reduce personal contact

Maestro PMS provides users with many modules and touchless tools that reduce or eliminate physical contact. Text messaging reduces personal interaction between guests and hotel staff. Also, web check-in, check-out and electronic signature capture eliminates several unnecessary points of contact. Many properties offer mobile-key guestroom access via an app on their phone, and when available, hotels should encourage guests to use mobile access or check out on their mobile device. This is an excellent way to show concerned guests you are providing solutions that address their health concerns and limit exposure with others.

Reduce occupancy related expenses and optimize revenue for the hospitality restart

When travel ramps up operators will need to ask, “What can I do to continue managing expenses and optimize revenue?” First, take steps to reduce occupancy-related expenses. Develop an accurate forecast and scale spending as occupancy increases. Labor costs are the first thing to assess. How many team members will you need to operate at an initially lower occupancy?  Limited service properties will not need as many breakfast supplies at first. Purchasing related to guestroom amenities and linens may easily be reduced. Likewise, utilities can be closely monitored to avoid unnecessary usage. As travel increases, you need to attract as much early business as possible. Effective revenue management and guest preference targeted campaigns will help, in particular if your property will be first occupied by domestic travelers who can more easily travel to your property over international guests.

Next, work with your yield management system or revenue management provider to implement a strategy to attract business with targeted rates. Market your attractive rates and hygiene initiative across all your booking channels. Invite guests back and offer incentives based on their stay history of preferences by data mining through analytics and business intelligence tools.

When you have done all you can to improve hygiene, reduce expenses and optimize revenue, look inside your business to address projects that have been on hold until a quiet period.  Now is that quiet period. Review your system and guest data security measures.  Verify your property is in compliance with the latest PCI and GDPR measures to protect credit card data and guest information. Work with your point of sale provider, spa system company to ensure their systems are secure. Call your PMS provider and ask for suggestions on how you can use your system to support responsible health measures, reduce expenses and optimize revenue. Maestro PMS is always ready to assist its users with ideas on how to operate more successfully through this challenging time.

The Maestro Property Management System delivers flexible and scalable deployment options with an identical full-featured web browser or windows solution available in the cloud or on premise.  Maestro’s revenue-generating hotel management software tools and services increase profitability, drive direct bookings, centralize operations and provide personalized and mobile guest service tools to enhance the guest experience. Click here for more information on how to engage and socialize with Maestro PMS.

 
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May 5, 2020

At the end of the Cretaceous period, 66 million years ago, an asteroid hit what is now the northern tip of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. The impact triggered extreme global cooling, wiping out the dinosaurs and forcing evolution in a new direction. It’s an event analogous with the effect Covid-19 will have on the global travel market. Landscapes will change, and as those unable to adapt become extinct, new products will emerge.

We know what that landscape will look like, and what you need to do not only to adapt, but to thrive.

Phase 1: REPORT

Covid-19 has plunged the world into a new Dark Age that is turning anxious eyes to whatever lights are shining. Be one of the brightest lights by acknowledging not only the love and concern your clients have for your product, but also the curiosity that engaging reportage can engender in those who’ve yet to visit. 

This is not the time to sell, but an opportunity to report: openly and honestly, like a letter from home. Regular bulletins throughout Phase One offer the opportunity to improve existing relationships and establish new ones - by recognising the isolation felt by those under domestic lockdown across the world, and their desire not just to escape, but to connect with people undergoing similar duress in places that made some of their happiest memories. Pictures, videos, case studies and interviews with ordinary people bundled into a three-minute read will offer clients a privileged insight into life at your home, strengthen connections and, crucially, create the yearning to visit. 

The voice you use to articulate this message is key. To be credible, it can only be utterly honest. Counterintuitively, this is no time for committee-crafted corporate messaging. Rather, your letters from home should be warm, chatty, informal and empathetic. We can write them for you.

Phase 2: REASSURE

When travel restrictions are lifted we will move into the global damage assessment stage. Destinations, services and infrastructure will be in a post-war state: a mixture of ruin and opportunity. Your candid reporting of true stories from the front line during Phase One will have created an essential sense of tension and jeopardy, and now is the time for resolution. We study and learn from the triumphs and errors of destination marketing, from the Caribbean post-Maria, fiercely maintaining your honesty while reassuring travellers that you’re open for business and managing expectations in a positive way. e.g. Naxos hasn’t been bombed back to the stone age by a wave of Covid-related business collapses. Instead, it offers a return to the Aegean idyll of an era before mass tourism. And we need to understand what post-Covid travellers want: rest, recuperation and relaxation. The chance to be with family, to heal and to give thanks. So let’s look at what assets we have to meet those needs and push them to the front of the stall. We can do that for you.

Phase 3: REINVENT

Phase Three is future-focused. We need never speak of Covid again as we pick up the story the pandemic eclipsed. Lockdown has given us pause to see the ills of society and time to kick our addictions to that which we always knew was wrong. Instagram, AirBnB, overtourism – arguably viral infections in themselves – may have no place in the future of travel. Many destinations, through lack of vision, will revert to that level of marketing, but the disease has presented the world with opportunities to change: to become healthier, more mindful and caring. Remember Greta? The flu may have gone but climate change is still here, and with the reset button having been pushed on the travel industry, here’s a divine opportunity to drop bad practice – the jet-fresh oysters; the aircon; the heli transfers – and become leaders of the travel revolution. We can take you there.

 
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May 5, 2020

The coronavirus health crisis, tracked statistically in real time by Johns Hopkins University, is hitting the global economy hard and the tourism industry most of all. The World Tourism Organization (WTO) is expecting a drop in tourism revenue of 300 to 500 billion dollars in 2020, up to one third of the 1,500 billion generated in 2019. France could lose out on up to 40 billion euros per quarter. Millions of jobs in the sector are under threat worldwide. Anne Gombault and her co-authors Claire Grellier Fouillet and Jérémy Lemarié analyse the drastic consequences of the crisis for global tourism, the strategic issues that it emphasises and the opportunity for transformation and learning that it offers.

 

Structural factors amplifying the crisis

 

First factor: At the start of the crisis, the most affected tourists were the Chinese, the biggest spenders far ahead of the Americans.

Second factor: the crisis then hit the top global destination - Europe. In 2018 the continent welcomed 672 million tourists, half of the world's international arrivals. One third of these tourists travel in Italy, France and Spain, all of which are among the 6 countries most affected by coronavirus, with popular destinations such as Venice,Florence, Paris and Milan.

  

The third factor is slower to arrive but will probably be harder hitting, the process of deciding whether to book holidays. This is a risky decision due to the nature of the tourism service: trying before buying is not possible and it is a significant investment that requires searching for information and comparison of prices and destinations.  The entire sector has entered a negative growth phase with between 3% and 12% fewer tourists depending on the areas according to the World Tourism Organization.

 

Crisis a marker of general strategic issues for tourism

 

Although the coronavirus crisis has short-term destructive effects on the tourism industry, this pandemic episode may also be seen as the consequence of a vulnerable condition rather than the start of a period of instability.

 

Research is underway into challenging the practices of the tourism industry and is drawing attention to a succession of issues related to population movements as part of leisure activities.

 

  • The first issue is the surprisingly poor risk management in an industry which should be highly reliable.
  • A second related issue is that of viral globalisation. Just like tourists, diseases cross borders, travel thousands of kilometres and put the most vulnerable populations in danger. 
  • The research presents the third issue, overtourism, as one of the biggest problems of mass tourism. This involves too high volumes of holidaymakers which damages ecosystems, sites, living conditions for residents and the experience for visitors.
  • Finally, another problem concerns pollution caused by activity. This includes single use of consumer goods by passengers in transit and road transport, but it is carbon emissions from civil aviation that comes in for the heaviest criticism.
  • An opportunity for tourism innovation
  • The Covid-19 crisis raises the question of the direction of globalised tourism and is an opportunity to rethink the tourism industry from a critical perspective. There are several areas for potential transformation.

  • The general idea would be to move towards responsible, sustainable and socially innovative tourism, structured around the (non-transferable) identity of the areas and giving them a boost while respecting the quality of life of residents and the memorable experience of the trip.

  • In order to avoid overtourism, tourist hotspots should take measures to regulate flows as is already done in places like Barcelona, Cinque Terre, Venice, Dubrovnik, Iceland, etc.

  • Creative and more inclusive tourism should be developed to avoid a concentration of activity on the hotspots and to involve residents in the activity. Visitors can participate in cultural and creative experiences that reflect the identity of the area and create something jointly between residents and tourists.

  • The trend for staycations and slow tourism should be encouraged. Travellers see local tourism as a good way to maximise holiday time by reducing travel time which also benefits the environment and saves money.

  • E-tourism, which has been developing since the 2000s, has boomed since the start of the crisis in China with acceleration of digital heritage, online broadcasting of shows and events streamed live over the internet. Operators are developing quality digital content to avoid crowds of travellers. 

  • The coronavirus crisis could revolutionise practices and help to accelerate the transformation of an industry which is still very conservative.

 

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