Hotels face issues of social distancing, technology and pricing as the industry moves towards re-opening, three prominent hoteliers have said.
Sean O’Driscoll (INUA Hospitality, Enda O’Meara (TIFCO) and Pat King (Doyle Collection) were speaking to Clare hotelier Michael Vaughan on his IHF 'Web Chat'
With branded and independent hotel properties the hoteliers agreed that they face multiple challenges re-opening their hotels to a purely domestic market. Pat King commented that it is going to be a 'slow burn' as the Asia and China markets are showing some recovery, he is looking at a 30-40% occupancy for October.
New technologies will play a large role, the arrival and check-in experience will be in the hands of the guest using their mobile to interact with room service and hotel services.
Sean O’Driscoll said he is frustrated by the lack of clarity around event sizes and the industry needs answers on this to manage the wedding and events aspects of the business.
There is no doubt that the 2m distancing will be very difficult to operate and Enda O’Meara discussed putting one F&B service system across the group where pre-ordering and pre-booking breakfast will be the new normal. TIFCO are also looking int using function spaces as a bar and food service environment where tables can be spread apart.
The IHF has a 12-member steering committee on standards for re-opening and this document has had huge input from hoteliers across all sectors and is now with Failte Ireland and the HSE.
Small meetings will be the casualty of the change to home-working and consumers will look for reassurance at all levels and not differentiate on what rating the hotel is.
Pat King said the consumer will want to see distancing and very visible sanitation, team members wearing masks and gloves.
On the issue of pricing, Sean O’Driscoll urged hoteliers to be sensible and not engage in the below cost selling that was a feature of the last recession.
It was generally felt that a new OTA landscape will emerge and that now is the time for tourism to speak and it is in each of our hands to lobby local politicians to support our industry during this massive disruption.
See the full discussion at