COVID-19 has changed what’s important to hoteliers and their guests

Innvision Hospitality is continually checking in on our clients and partners. This week we’d like to share the perspective of a longtime valued client, Valley Hospitality Services. A hotel and food management company based in Columbus, Georgia, Valley has a well-earned reputation for developing and managing profitable, benefit-laden properties.

On March 20th, Valley closed six of its eight hotels as new cases of the coronavirus grew rapidly. These properties reopened in June and today are seeing more leisure business compared to the corporate travel they previously saw in March. How are these new guests thinking differently, and how is Valley making changes to respond to this new mindset?

Through this time of transition, Valley is creatively reducing expenses based on guest preferences. This starts with understanding what’s important to guests and what’s not. For example, providing a limited, made-to-order menu is now the safe option relative to a breakfast buffet. They have also found that offering to-go breakfast options are very popular, allowing guests to take food to their rooms. 

Another example involving the pool area illustrates how the change in guest demographics brought about by COVID-19 has directly affected Valley’s priorities. Leisure guests value the pool, so keeping this area well-maintained and protected is a must. Valley has to manage their hotels with a renewed focus on the pool area.

Valley has to be frugal with their payroll and service offerings but without detracting from the guest’s experience. That can mean management working desk shifts or night audit folding linen. 

While demand is down, a rate war has developed where hotels are trying to capture all the market they can. Guests and room revenue can be hard to come by. However, in Valley’s case, they were able to think proactively and do significant refurbishment on their properties during the time they were closed, so they are better positioned to compete within their sub-markets. Moreover, they minimized guest inconvenience due to renovations.

Valley has noticed that people seem to be growing tired of being at home and want to get away. But they are only ready to do so if they are confident that hotels are taking the right precautions and steps to keep everyone safe. Valley has responded to those concerns and implemented new cleaning and sanitizing protocols accordingly. They know this is their best chance to bring back room night demand for corporate and leisure travelers. 

Valley is thinking innovatively with their guests’ new preferences in mind. Although we are all having to think differently as a result of the coronavirus, Innvision can help you adapt. We are your guide to navigate challenges in FF&E procurement, interior design, and logistics to complete your renovations or new construction. Please contact a project specialist today at Innvision Hospitality.