How can the hospitality industry uncover opportunities for recovery and thrive in the new normal? With over 15 years’ experience in the industry, Andrew Landsburgh shares how he has adapted his businesses in order to keep operations flowing during COVID-19.
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In 2019, the travel and tourism sector accounted for 10.3% of global GDP, contributing US$8.9 trillion and providing 330 million jobs worldwide. In fact, according to WTTC’s latest annual research, 2019 marked the ninth consecutive year that growth in the sector had outpaced overall global economic growth.
As a result of this growth, many nations, both small and large, rely on the industry for employment, development of infrastructure, foreign investment, improved education, higher income, and improved quality of life. However, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, few industries have fallen as far and as fast as travel, tourism, and hospitality.
COVID-19 has raised serious questions about the present and future survival of the sector, as the industry is continuously being presented with unprecedented circumstances. Travel bans, border closures, events cancellations, quarantine requirements, and fear of spread, have placed extreme challenges on the tourism and hospitality sectors. For this reason, it is vital for company owners to adapt and find new opportunities in order to revive and sustain their businesses.
What to Expect From Hospitality in the Future?
Although some governments have reduced certain restrictions, studies suggest that this certainly does not mean that business will return to normal. A study conducted by the editorial team of the Journal of Hospitality Marketing & Management highlights that the re-opening of restaurants and hotels, together with the easing of travel restrictions, will not bring customers back immediately. Over 50% of individuals were not willing to dine in at a restaurant right away, nor were they willing to stay in a hotel in the near future. Therefore, the survival of many hospitality businesses heavily depends on increasing the demand for their services and products.
Thus, figuring out how to adapt to changing consumer behavior while complying with government regulations is essential. Companies are having to integrate the use of digital platforms into daily operations in order to survive. The correct use and application of digital technology will, for many firms, be the difference between success and failure in this coming era.
As stated by Bernard Marr, world-renowned futurist, influencer, and thought leader, in an article for Forbes back in March 2020, “those companies able to use technology well to keep going and rethink their business model for the future by fast-tracking digital transformation will be ones ahead of their competition.”
How Hospitality Businesses Are Adapting During COVID-19.
Andrew Landsburgh, an Opportunity Network member, is living proof that it is possible to turn these distressing times into opportunities and success. Landsburgh is Director of CoDE Pod Hostels and Destiny Student, two hospitality companies providing travelers, students, and other groups across the globe with affordable, quality accommodation.
In light of the current situation, he turned to Opportunity Network to look for new global opportunities to raise capital and acquire hospitality spaces. “After converting one of our buildings into co-living in April, we started getting more and more guests,” explains Landsburgh. As a result, he decided to replicate this new hybrid business model moving forward. More specifically, he adds, “we will offer a percentage of co-living throughout the year with the accommodation tailored to both the season and the demand.”
Networking with Fellow Leaders
During the interview with Landsburgh, it became clear how much he appreciated the ability to communicate with other successful CEOs who are dealing with similar challenges. “The nice thing about Opportunity Network is that you can openly speak and empathize with experts who are in the same position as you, ” states Landsburgh.
“Opportunity Network has certainly been useful, if not to raise money over the past few months, to gauge the current climate in other parts of the world.” – Andrew Landsburgh
With Opportunity Network, he has been able to adapt his business and keep his morale up through understanding how other professionals are coping with restrictions. According to Landsburgh, “from the hospitality angle, it’s been great as it’s felt like there is a lot of comradery as to how bad things are for everybody.”
Key Questions for Effective Business Recovery
The new landscape has caused businesses within the hospitality industry and beyond to reassess their operations, account for changes in the “new normal” and reconnect with customers. A Deloitte study highlights several different considerations for effective business recovery moving forward:
1. How can businesses engage with customers and adapt to new customer expectations?
2. How might businesses source and secure the financial support required to maintain finances?
3. How might businesses assess problems in the supply chain and forecast future needs?
4. What kind of collaborating technologies and tools can businesses take advantage of?
The composition of the post-pandemic economy will be dramatically different. As mentioned in a study by McKinsey, “digitization and the automation of processes have become primary drivers of productivity.” Now is the time for companies to act and adapt if they want to thrive in the years to come.
“It’s about when the opportunities are going to arise, where they are going to arise, and how to structure benefiting from the opportunity.” – Andrew Landsburgh
CEO of CoDE Pod Hostels & Destiny Student
An accomplished real estate professional with over a decade of experience in hospitality, finance and operations.