ATM Virtual hosts webinar on hospitality industry's shifting priorities

Published: 3 June 2020 - 9:45 a.m.
By: Josh Corder
Hotelier Middle East editor Claudia de Brito hosted a panel on whether hygiene will become guests’ top priority when returning to hotels at this year’s Arabian Travel Market (ATM) Virtual event.

Joined by Radisson Hotel Group regional director Arabian Peninsula and East Africa Bert Fol; Diversey VP for Africa, Middle East and Turkey Alp Aksoy; Hilton SVP, brands and franchise operations, EMA John Rogers and Minor Hotels VP of operations for Middle East, Africa, Mauritius and the Seychelles Amir Golbarg, the 45-minute session delved into the shift in customers’ decision-making, how hoteliers can adjust to hiked operational costs and the rise in technology-based initiatives.

In response to an audience member’s question, Golbarg explained how hygiene in hospitality has always been a given and was preferred to be hidden away as not to draw from a hotels’ luxury. In these times however, guests are demanding hygiene to be visible, reassured by the sight of staff cleaning touchpoints. Hilton’s Rogers echoed this point by saying visible indicators in rooms are crucial to relaxing guests their room has just been cleaned.

As many of the world’s professionals face furloughs and salary cuts, it was asked whether lower prices will be a necessity for moving forward. The panel agreed that hygiene is currently the number one priority for guests, with many so eager to travel following lockdown that pricing is not the primary concern.

Experience-led travel facilitated by technology is suggested to see an uprise. Fewer guests will be travelling, meaning the ones that do travel will be given a more curated experience during their stay, with contactless check-ins growing in demand.

You can watch the full discussion on the ATM website here.

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