What is the most impactful lesson you’ve learned in the last year and how will that influence 2021?

April 1, 2021

Matt Karow, General Manager Hyatt Centric Old Town Alexandria, Virginia:

“I would say communication. I think every business, hotels included, is going to have to work a little harder for every customer they have in the next year. It’s been a humbling experience – we’ve seen a lot of people out of work in the hospitality sector. A lot of hotels permanently closed. And we have to value every person a little bit more. Whether it’s a colleague or a customer. We’re going to have to communicate with them at an extra high level, or they’re going to find someone who is fitting that need. And they’ll either go work for them or stay with them.”

 

Corey Hillard, GM Hampton Inn Odessa Trinity, Florida:

“I believe business travel may not ever come back to where it was. A lot of businesses have learned from this pandemic that in-person meetings and costly corporate gatherings can now be replaced with inexpensive Zoom meetings. With that said, we’re putting more focus toward leisure. And I’m looking forward to increasing our market share by potentially opening up to be a pet-friendly hotel, focusing on more of the leisure travel than the corporate, because I believe that is what will keep us going.”

 

Curt Viehmeyer, GM / Co-owner of Sears Trostel Lumber & Millwork, Fort Collins, Colorado:

“One of the things we’ve found is that we have to stay in close contact and involved with our customer and their business, so we can provide them with products that are best suited to what they’re doing and help make them successful. We’ve also changed to a team approach rather than a single salesperson – we’ve learned that customers want multiple point of contacts within our company, so they can get answers and responses and service more quickly than a single conduit for communication. So we’ve really worked hard as a team to give them that, without duplicating efforts. And I believe that’s key for moving forward.”

 

Geoffrey Fieger, Attorney and Owner of Quintessence Hotel, Anguilla:

“The most impactful thing that’s happened in the last year is our knowledge of human frailty in the face of pandemics, which can kill millions of people worldwide. We are indeed a frail species, a tender vessel… and we should be respectful more of the environment. This pandemic has actually impacted us in Anguilla more than Hurricane Irma because it has really hindered the travel experience, but it’s still the best and safest island nation. You have a test before you come and again when you arrive, and then we have what’s called the bubble in Anguilla and you’re protected within your hotel or at other bubble hotels. It’s really a very nice, safe system they’ve set up. Now we just have to encourage everyone to get the vaccine. We have it here now.”

 

Matt Stevenson, CEO of HSM Group, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand:

“In Auckland, especially, there’s been a real drive for people to work at home but talking to a lot of staff, and some new staff that we’ve brought on board, they don’t like it. They like their communication and the break time together to catch up. There is a small percentage that working from home suits them, but I think a lot of people don’t enjoy it. It’s the ‘people contact’ they miss – working solo and Zoom –  it’s never the same as face to face. Speaking from a New Zealander perspective, businesses here – we just don’t have certainty after last year and it would be nice to have that. But there are interesting times ahead, and I think flexibility and resiliency are the two key things.”

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