During a Recovery Connections session on Oct. 21 — part of HSMAI’s Road to Recovery 2020 program — IHG’s Brian Hicks, Kalibri Labs’ Jennifer Hill, CRME, and Hospitality Resource Solution LLC’s Hunter Webster, CHDM, joined The Kessler Collection’s Lori Kiel, CHDM, to discuss “Hitting the Bullseye When Your Target Shrinks and Expands.”
This is a disruption, not a recession: “My recommendation is to understand the differences between a recession, a downturn, and other events such as 9/11,” said Hicks, senior vice president of commercial and revenue management at IHG. “There are many things right now that differ this disruption from a recession. The key thing I’m looking at right now is the financial situation. Right now, banks have money to lend; in a recession it’s much more difficult to get lending. Unemployment has been decimated, but it will recover and businesses will thrive again. It will just take some time.”
Budgets will constantly be in flux: “We know the budget process is always a process of a lot of changes before the budget gets finalized, and that will probably increase because there is so much uncertainty,” said Webster, president and managing partner at Hospitality Resource Solutions LLC. “The one thing everyone understands in the difference between a disruption and a downturn is that when you look at downturns, you can look at historical timeframes to get a sense of what’s going to happen. The problem now is everything is so unprecedented, so to think about when business will return or improve is really hard to do. Everyone is going to need to be flexible. You can’t know what Q1 of 2021 is going to look like right now. I think owners get that, but unfortunately for the operators, there are going to be multiple changes in the next year.”
Channel mix and profit contribution are crucial metrics: “It was information that was nice to have, and then was want-to-have but now it is a need-to-have,” said Hill, Kalibri Labs’ vice president of business development. “We’re looking at how business is returning to each hotel. It’s different by hotel type. It’s different by market and even by submarket. What’s happening in downtown Atlanta is not what’s happening at the airport in Atlanta. It’s so important to understand the profitability of the business. Truly understanding the actualized volume coming in is critical. An interesting trend we’re seeing is that OTA demand share is tracking the same as loyalty member rates, and we’ve never seen that before. It’s remarkable to know that there are alternatives other than just being happy with what’s walking in your door. All business is equal opportunity right now, but understanding who is getting that business is more important than ever.”
Recovery Connections is a weekly program with sales, marketing, and revenue optimization tracks that mix best-practices presentations with interactive small-group discussions. Sign up to watch this session, access an on-demand library — and register for the next session, “Inspiring Guest Confidence: The New Value Proposition,” at 2 p.m. EDT on Oct. 28.