Hoteliers at the ITB Berlin NOW Convention: Emerging from the crisis with optimism
The pandemic is being accompanied by a ban on accommodation. Hotel operations have come to a halt at many places around the world: The ITB CEO Interviews at the ITB Berlin NOW Convention provide an opportunity for top executives of leading hotel groups to provide insights into (hotel) life during and after the pandemic.
For Mark S. Hoplamazian, president of Hyatt since 2006, the most important factor at this time is that of empathy. In his view the increased need for security and health will endure. Consequently it is important to remain aware of the needs of others, in order to be able to provide customers with the services that they want. The CEO of Hyatt is convinced that “we will have completely recovered within three years”, although changes in booking behaviour can be expected.
Patrick Mendes, CCO of Accor Hotels, states: “Domestic demand is recovering.” The trend is for making reservations at shorter notice and for a reduced duration of stay. Customers also require maximum flexibility when it comes to cancellations and re-bookings. In addition to security, customers are also placing greater emphasis on the technical equipment provided by hotels. Being able to set up a home office in a hotel is not just a short term trend but can lead to changes for the hotel industry, whose facilities will not only be used by travellers but by the local population too.
Marcus Bernhardt, Chairman of Deutsche Hospitality since November 2020, believes that he is well prepared to maintain growth as planned despite Covid-19. “We are relying on organic expansion. If there are fewer new hotels in a year’s time, then maybe there will be more in the next year“, maintains the Swiss executive who is responsible for five hotel brands through Deutsche Hospitality. The chain was sold to the major Chinese group Huazu in 2019 and the current total of 125 hotels is due to be increased to between 600 and 700 by 2025. However, he is annoyed that his industry is receiving too little support from politicians.