Every year, the Hotel Business Green Book Directory & Market Guide offers insights from experts on a variety of industry subjects. This year, we are offering even more insight with Green Book Extra.
Hotel Business spoke with Jay Caiafa, COO, Americas, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG); Pat Pacious, president/CEO, Choice Hotels International; and Brian Quinn, chief development officer, Sonesta International Hotels Corporation about the challenges they faced in 2021.
What were the challenges this year following the worst period for the industry ever?
Caiafa: While the second half of the year saw a significant uplift in occupancy levels, driven largely by summer leisure travel, that shift also heightened industry-wide operational challenges such as the labor shortage and global supply chain constraints. To that end, we’ve been very focused on designing solutions that maintain owner profit while delivering against the most critical guest needs, such as cleanliness. Overall, there are still some shorter-term challenges, but I believe the future is bright for hospitality.
Pacious: The hotel sector has faced a combination of supply chain disarray and disruptions; higher prices for raw materials and commodities; rising labor costs; and challenges caused by geographic labor shortages, increased transportation costs and rising energy costs. Choice Hotels has concentrated on investments that lower our franchisees’ cost of ownership while driving continued performance improvements like Housekeeping Upon Request and our new revenue management tool, which helps owners reprice their rooms multiple times per day.
Quinn: Our owners have told us they focused on five things: 1) Assistance with the changing guest wants and needs post-COVID and cancellation policies/maximizing revenue, and they want the brands to help them accomplish both; 2) Innovation and implementation of best practices regarding health and safety for guests and associates; 3) Help with remaining industry supports from government and lenders; 4) To be allowed time to stabilize their businesses; 5) The importance of relationships, this is a people-to-people business, and they are looking for a rebalancing of industry relationships. At Sonesta, we have experienced incredible growth in the last year, so internally we continue to integrate the business, leverage scale, create value by providing savings to our owner community and strengthen our revenue drivers.