Rohit Talwar, Fast Future
"Hotels haven’t thought about how will we repurpose our facilities."
Quote from Rohit Talwar, CEO of Fast Future, in an interview on PhocusWire this week on rethinking what to do with travel products when the recovery is so uncertain.
Each Friday, PhocusWire dissects and debates an industry trend or new development covered on our site that week.
There have been numerous reports of packed aircraft as routes around the world have reopened over the last few months.
Social distancing issues aside for a moment (middle seat configuration, etc.), seeing such volumes of people back in the skies again is an indicator that there is some semblance of enthusiasm to get on the road.
The same can't be said for hotels, where occupancy levels are nowhere near what they would be for any time of the year, let alone during the peak summer season the northern hemisphere.
This is not a surprise. The hotel sector has been hit as hard as any other part of the industry, not least with business travel almost at a standstill.
Rohit Talwar makes a critical point in his interview with PhocusWire this week. Hotels need to accept that their world is going to be smaller for some time to come, so acting smarter is the only way to make the best use of their facilities.
Main properties have rooms or event areas that are unlikely to formally see any people in them for months, so why not rethink how that space can be used effectively.
There are countless institutions, organizations and companies that may see some benefit to having their people back in a live (rather than home) environment but do not have the physical space to allow for it.
Overflow office spaces in hotels seems like a natural use of space for periods of time, or for local educational establishments that need areas for examinations and group learning.
Many examples of existing people spaces can slot into the hotel environment, plus they can then make use of the property's facilities, such as food courts and wellness areas.
The recovery is uncertain, perhaps long-term (listen to Talwar's scenarios - some are not pretty), so thinking "smaller and smarter" is likely to be the best strategy for any part of the travel ecosystem as they ponder the rest of the year and into 2021.
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