The hospitality industry reflects on a difficult recent past – two years of pandemic and a severe shortage of staff and skilled workers. At the beginning of the year, the industry had recovered noticeably, but now the next crisis is already weighing on it. The war in Ukraine has had a number of negative effects, including soaring energy and food prices, disruptions in supply chains, high inflation and the threat of recession.
However, Moritz von Petersdorff-Campen, founder and CEO of SuitePad – the leading provider of in-room tablets in the hospitality industry and the authority on digital guest communication – sees strong opportunities for the hospitality industry to escape to this situation with relatively minor damage this time. around.
MV PETERSDORFF-CAMPEN, HOW DO YOU SEE THE FUTURE OF HOSPITALITY?
There is an old saying that necessity is the mother of invention. So, in times like these, new trends and ideas emerge quickly. This has happened in the hospitality industry during the pandemic, and I believe that as a result we are now in a stronger position overall and are also better equipped to successfully meet the challenges. the most recent. There are many reasons to be optimistic about this situation, even if the industry is cyclical and therefore sensitive to this economic cycle. Those who haven’t left the hospitality industry know what resilience really means. And having survived the worst crisis to date, they are likely to look forward to the recession looming stronger now.
WHAT MAKES YOU SO OPTIMISTIC?
On the one hand, the demand: people have had to give up many leisure activities for a long time because of the pandemic – including vacations. Many people have spent – and still spend – more time at home, for example working in their home office. This has created a huge backlog of demand which now needs to be met. This, combined with the impact of the €9 note, is the main driver of the current strong increase in leisure travel. Plus, people are more willing than ever to spend more money on travel. This is also proven by a recent study by American Express which found that 86% of travelers would rather spend the same amount or even more on travel compared to 2019. This is surprising news considering the rise in prices of air travel. energy, high inflation and cyclical nature. of our sector. It seems that the desire to travel is taking over from traditional economic tendencies. The industry should at least have a good year in 2022 and 2023 despite the fact that this trend will almost certainly not last. Of course, how quickly the situation in Ukraine continues to evolve will also depend on developments in the global economy as a whole.
DOES THIS ALSO APPLY TO THE BUSINESS TRAVEL MARKET?
I believe the result is the same. Here, too, there is pent-up demand – people are eager to reconnect in person. It is unlikely that the pre-crisis level will ever be regained in the long term. For this year and probably also next year, however, things look promising: many conference hotels are already full until well into autumn 2022. This could at least compensate for the anticipated losses caused by the crises. current in Ukraine and in the energy sector.
WHAT EFFECT WILL STAFF SHORTAGE HAVE ON GROWING DEMAND?
This brings us to my second point, which concerns “better preparation”. The entire hotel industry is currently recruiting. Since recruiting staff is usually the most expensive part of the budget, many hotels have spent the last few months finding creative alternatives for different work processes. Here, digitization brings quite practical solutions. This implies that labor can be used elsewhere much more efficiently. Hardly any hotelier thinks they will need to return to the same staffing levels as before the pandemic, even if occupancy falls back to 2019 levels. Indeed, many work processes have been digitized and streamlined without sacrificing quality or service. On the contrary, popular tools like our SuitePad tablet, for example, assisting staff members with crucial up-selling opportunities, among other things. In other words, the same amount of sales or maybe more, with fewer employees. Just as hospitality has been “creative” with this challenge, we will now tackle new ones – rising costs not just for energy, food and consumables, inflation, etc. – with courage and experience to find – and go – new paths.
SuitePad is a leading supplier of in-room tablets to the hospitality industry and an expert in digital guest communication. The Berlin-based company was founded in 2012 and today has more than 60 employees. In January 2022, SuitePad won first place in the “Hotel Technology Award” in categories “Guest room shelves” for the third consecutive time.
The SuitePad, a tablet for the hotel room, replaces the traditional guest directory by taking digital communication between hoteliers and guests to a whole new level. In addition to general information about the hotel, the surrounding area, gastronomic offers and an entertainment menu, the SuitePad also serves as a booking tool for spa treatments and restaurant reservations and also combines the television remote control of hotel and hotel room phone in one device. SuitePad has equipped over 1,000 hotels in 30 countries and over 60,000 hotel rooms with its in-room tablets. The portfolio also includes a BYOD solution – Bring Your Own Device, for the use of guest devices – the lobby screen SuitePad and SuiteCast, a simple and flexible streaming solution for hotel TV.
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