MANAGING COVID-19 CRISIS BY THE MAJOR HOTEL CHAINS:

A CASE STUDY OF RADISSON HOTEL GROUP

 

 

 

Nikolaidis Nikolaos

 PhD candidate, Academic Associate, University of West Attica

Sergopoulos Konstantinos

Assistant Professor, University of West Attica

Lazoura Ioulia

PhD candidate, University of West Attica

Kyritsi Georgia

Technical Laboratory Associate, PhD candidate, University of West Attica

 

 

 

 

ABSTRACT

The unprecedented health crisis due to the pandemic (Covid-19), brings crucial changes in the way hotels operate worldwide.  The aim of this research is to investigate crisis management action plans and practices the major hotel companies have adopted, in light of the new challenges emerged during COVID-19 pandemic.

To this end, a research was conducted in branded hotel chains, as well as a case-study approach was concluded in relation to Radisson Hotels, one of the top branded hotel organizations. The case-study introduces a managing crisis action plan and refers to the safety procedures that the hotel brand follows and includes a 20-step protocol and a 10-step meetings and events protocol procedure, which is a process underpinned by both management safety practices and organizational crisis strategies.

As the hospitality industry recovers slowly, this study offers theoretical and practical insights on how the major hotel groups will be able to protect the health and safety of their employees, guests, suppliers, business partners and the broader community.

Keywords: COVID-19, Managing Crisis, Hotels crisis strategy, Major hotel chains, Health & safety protocols.

 

Introduction

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted the hospitality and tourism sectors around the globe, forcing widespread closures and strict requirements on trade due to the risk of infection and even death for some vulnerable segments of the community (Nicola et al., 2020; Rivera, 2020). Several factors are linked to why hospitality is highly susceptible to this kind of health-related crisis - high volume of patrons, large staff work teams, exposure to intra- and international travellers, the potential for contagion through cross-contamination, and multiple pathogen delivery mechanisms (e.g., surfaces, cutlery and crockery, food; Leung and Lam, 2004). Failure to comply with COVID-19 safety measures might endanger the health and safety of frontline staff, the viability of the business and the general public.

Hotels and accommodation establishments are places where there is a high degree of interaction among guests and workers. It is these aspects—the lodging of guests, the services this entails (food and beverage, cleaning, activity organization, etc.) —and the interactions specific to these establishments (guest-guest, guest-staff, and staff-staff) that require specific attention. All staff of the accommodation establishment should comply with basic protective measures against COVID-19 including hand hygiene, physical distancing, avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth, cough and sneezing etiquette (respiratory hygiene), use of medical or fabric masks, stay-at-home orders when indicated and seeking medical attention when symptoms consistent with COVID-19 are present (WHO, 2020).

This research is set out to understand how the major hotel organizations are managing the Covid-19 crisis, safety requirements and protocols in response to this unprecedented health crisis.

The paper begins by reviewing literature in managing crisis in tourism and hospitality industry, followed by managing COVID-19 crisis by the hotels, a presentation of the major hotel companies and the case analysis of Radisson Hotels. The final chapter will give present the conclusion and recommendations based on the current research.

 

 

  1. Managing crisis in tourism and hospitality industry.

Due to the nature and numerous peculiarities of the hotel business, the sensitivity of this sector to crisis situations is undoubtedly higher compared to other business sectors. Tourism and hospitality as critical elements of the tourist offer are exposed to various crises and disasters and therefore, the concept of crisis management must play an important role in the activities and organization of hotel businesses. The present analysis seeks to highlight precisely this issue and its direct link to the viability and development of hotel businesses, starting with the theoretical framework that examines the fundamental determinants of tourism, as well as the concepts of crisis management in hotel businesses and how they affect and regulate the viability and growth of these businesses.

In the field of tourism, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO, 2011) divides tourism crises into five categories, namely:

1. Environmental, including geological and extreme weather events, and human-induced situations such as climate change and deforestation

2. Societal and political, including riots, crime waves, terrorist acts, human rights abuses, coups, violently contested elections

3. Health-related, such as disease epidemics affecting humans or animals

4. Technological, including transportation accidents and IT system failures

5. Economic, such as major currency fluctuations and financial crises

Any significant crisis in Categories 1-5 will affect the tourism sector’s ability to operate normally, either because of damage to infrastructure and facilities, or because the destination will be perceived as unsafe. The principal consequence of crises is a rapid decline in overall tourist arrivals and occupancy levels for hotels, tour operators and airlines, due to:

· physical damage to tourism infrastructure (especially in the case of natural disasters).

· heightened perception of risk and erosion of consumer confidence (especially in the case of terrorist attacks).

· decisions by consumers to cancel or postpone their trips.

· removal by tour operators of holidays in affected countries from their brochures and product listings.

· decisions by airlines to reduce flights to affected destinations.

These issues will result in a loss of jobs and a fall in the economic benefits of tourism, including reduced incomes for businesses and individuals along the supply chain and loss of tax revenues for governments, and (in the case of a crisis of longer duration) reduced investment in facilities.

It is worth noting that even if the adverse events are located in a relatively small geographical area of ​​a country, the concern and skepticism of tourism market players about travel safety and the negative image may apply to the whole country, excluding it as a travel destination.

The adverse effects of events may be limited in duration and extent if appropriate corrective action is taken immediately, including infrastructure repair, improved high security measures and appropriate communications. The above may return the hospitality industry to its normal operations in the short to medium term, but where the country's regulatory framework is still considered dangerous, recovery may be further delayed (COMSEC, 2017).

When suddenly difficult situations arise, such as a pandemic (eg COVID-19), hotel companies are forced to change their operating strategies. These events create high levels of uncertainty and usually require rapid responses and an effective response to adverse effects (Ritchie et al., 2019). However, according to Bremser et al. (2018), there is little preparedness to respond to a crisis situation in the hospitality industry, mainly due to lack of resources (Ghaderi et al., 2014) and lack of knowledge and experience on how to act (Ritchie, 2008).

The direct effects of crises in the hospitality industry are found in the significant reduction in tourists, hotel occupancy, average daily rate (ADR) and revenue per available room (RevPar). In the short term, other effects, such as job cuts, changes in operations and downsizing of services, threaten the recovery of the hospitality industry. In the medium and long term, debt collection difficulties and / or debt repayment difficulties are postponing future investment projects that could accelerate a return to normal activity.

For example, regarding the effects to date of the recent global pandemic (COVID-19), Nicola et al. (2020) reported a significant reduction in revenue per room and occupancy in hotels.  

In fact, the most worrying issues for COVID-19 hosting are the financial implications, the uncertainty surrounding the duration of the pandemic, and the fear of tourists.

However, natural disasters and pandemics have been shown to lead to longer periods of crisis than economic crises and therefore require more time to recover (eg Kubickova et al., 2019).

 Some authors (Campiranon and Scott, 2014), summarizing the critical factors for business recovery after crisis situations, have argued that these factors are a plan for managing and recovering the market, cooperation, and human resources.

The main strategies for responding to hospitality crises are summarized as follows: cost reduction, promotion and restart of local markets, price reduction, preparation of emergency plans and rational human resource management policies.

 

  1. Managing COVID-19 crisis by the hotels.

The consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic have rattled the tourism and hospitality industry. The cancellation of flights, conferences, events and hotel reservations have left the industry in sharp decline, with planned travel down 80-90% and global losses estimated at $300-450 billion. So how can hotels prepare, and step up their hygiene protocols to make their establishment safe and trustworthy? What can smaller hotels and lodging providers learn from the best practices of other hotels who are leading the way? (EHL Insights, 2020).

According to World Hotel Organization (WHO, 2020), the hotel management should develop a comprehensive strategy to adapt to COVID-19 pandemic situation, including the following aspects.

Action plan

The management team, in consultation with local health authorities, hotel, restaurant, catering, tourism administration and industry associations should establish an action plan tailored to the situation and implement it in accordance with local government recommendations to prevent COVID-19 transmission. The team should further support the health authority for effective case management and contact tracing and mitigate impact among clients and staff.

Actions may include reducing occupancy rate where physical distancing cannot easily be achieved. There is also need to be determined processes for staff to follow if they are unwell. Staff should have access to facilities and supplies for regular hand hygiene, regular cleaning and disinfection of high-touch surfaces in public areas.

A process, including supplies, for cleaning and disinfection of any of rooms occupied by infected persons should also be incorporated into the plan. The plan could also incorporate policies for teleworking, a screening process for staff coming to work and policies for safe return to work post exposure and post recovery from COVID-19.

The plan should be updated when necessary as a consequence of new guidance, procedures or regulations issued by pertinent authorities.

Deployment of resources

The management team should allocate adequate resources to ensure the continuous and effective implementation of the action plan. The action plan should also include provision of equipment and procedures, developed in collaboration with local health authorities, for the management of suspected case(s) and their possible contacts.

Supervision

The implementation of the action plan and the effectiveness of the measures undertaken should be evaluated frequently to verify and ensure compliance, identify and correct gaps and adapt the plan based on practical experience. A “crisis management team” involving members of each relevant department can support management in the implementation of the action plan and timely identification of required adjustments. In that case the staff itself shall undertake an energetic role towards the health and safety operation in the business and the final recovery thereof.

Staff absenteeism should be regularly monitored and justified to rapidly detect and respond to possible COVID-19 illness.

Logbook of actions

It is advisable to keep a logbook of the important actions and measures carried out in response to a suspect or confirmed case and to record them in enough detail (e.g. including date and time a disinfectant was used, by whom and where).

This logbook can be used to improve the actions implemented and to ensure every party involved -guest, staff, management- for the prompt respond to challenges and difficult cases.

Communication

An information policy for guests should be pre-defined through communication between management and staff, including through the managers in charge of the different departments. Providing guidelines to the staff on how they should communicate the action plan to guests and other stakeholders can ensure alignment and consistency.

Execution of this approach means staff will be up to date on and can rapidly obtain and provide information on incidents that may arise. Short documents, informative posters, and video messages can amplify key messages among guests and staff.

Official leaflets on basic hygiene practice and COVID-19, in different languages, could be useful information tools. It will be useful to have an up-to-date list of contact information for the staff and emergency telephone numbers.

Training and information

Management must set as a primary objective the continuous training of the staff in all fields of knowledge they deem necessary (Sergopoulos, 2019).

Management should inform all staff of the measures that could protect their health and that of others, including the recommendation to stay home and seek medical attention if they have symptoms of COVID-19.

Management should organize regular information briefings that cover all basic protective measures against COVID-19 and the signs and symptoms of the disease, and update staff on new developments.

Training may be needed for specific procedures, including Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to be implemented in the case of isolation of a suspected case (while awaiting ambulance transfer or according to national procedure), cleaning, disinfection and any other measures (WHO, Interim Guidance, 31 March 2020).

 

 

 

  1. Top hotel groups

While the COVID-19 pandemic deeply affected the hotel sector in 2020, causing a plunge in occupancy and financial performance, it has not prevented world leaders from continuing to develop their room inventories. However, development trends vary among global brands, leading to several changes in the Top positions.

Following the analysis of ‘Hospitality ON’, updated on 19 April 2021, here is how some of the world's biggest hotel companies have taken the lead with the introduction of enhanced cleaning practices, workplace protocols and social interaction initiatives:

The number one hotel group for 2021 remains Marriott International with 30+ brands. The American company seen its growth slow down slightly compared to the previous year (almost +5%),but posted a solid performance with a 3.1% increase in its number of rooms, now above 1.4 million.

The Chinese company Jin Jiang, known in Europe through Louvre Hotels and Radisson Hotel Group - acquired in 2015 and 2019, respectively - is now back to being the world’s number two. In a context where China’s hotel market is recovering faster than its Western peers, the company has achieved a higher rate of growth (+6.7%) than its Western rivals.

Hilton, which climbed to number three, has 18 brands and recorded the best growth among Western groups: +4.9%, a net gain of more than +47,000 rooms; higher than that of its rival Marriott. It also crossed the highly symbolic 1-million room threshold. Together with Marriott and Jin Jiang, it is now part of the Top 3 club of groups that have achieved this key milestone.

Behind it, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), regained one place and became No. 4 worldwide, even though its supply stabilized (+0.3%) after a rapid development spur (+5.4% in 2019). The group has 16 brands with over 880.000 rooms.

The desire for independence of some owners, key partners for the groups, has affected Wyndham, which recorded the only annual decline in its room supply (-4.2%) in the world’s Top 5. Wyndham has 20 brands representing over 795.000 rooms.

Behind it, Accor, which is once again the world’s number 6, is closing in on the 750,000-room mark with more than 30 brands; its development held at a steady pace (>3% in 2020 as in 2019).

RANKING 2021 - TOP 6 HOTEL GROUPS IN THE WORLD

Source: Hospitality ON/ MKG destination – March 2021.

 

The major hotel chains are implementing similar COVID-19 safety protocols. All are following the directions of the World Health Organization (WHO) and have medical experts advising on best practices.

According to Schoenberger (2020), the largest hotel chains safety protocols generally include:

  • All employees are required to wear masks
  • All guests are required to wear masks in public areas unless they are eating or drinking (exceptions for guests with medical conditions)
  • Extra sanitizing & disinfection of high-touch areas in guest rooms
  • Increased cleaning frequency of public areas
  • Disinfecting wipes available to guests
  • Enhanced cleaning & disinfection of restaurant areas and meetings spaces
  • Contactless check-in and check-out available at many properties
  • Exploratory use of electrostatic sprayers with disinfecting mist and ultraviolet light to sanitize surfaces and objects
  • Enhanced staff safety inclusive of personal protective equipment and enhanced training and protocols

While all of the above is designed to make potential travellers feel safe booking accommodation at well-known hotel chains, there are some common sense tips to keep in mind.

Global hotel brands are known for consistency. Guests should be able to expect a common level of service and quality within a particular brand. Of course, the ownership structure of individual hotels makes this a bit more complicated. Some hotels are company-owned, some are owned locally and managed by the brand, some are managed by third party management companies and the majority are pure franchise properties.

Even in the best of times this means that adherence to brand standards varies among properties. All frequent travellers know this to be true.  The hotel brands do their best to maintain consistent standards by using company inspectors as well as outside ‘secret shopper’ services.  We mention this here as a cautionary measure. Just as COVID-19 has impacted leisure and normal business travellers, it has also impacted the ability of chains to police their ‘brand standards’ and to ensure their implementation. There is nothing nefarious about this – it’s just one more way the pandemic has affected the hospitality industry.

The major hotel chains have not made public statements that they have relaxed their normal brand standards during the pandemic. However, relaxed brand standards is an issue that should be both anticipated and understandable as the major hotel chains have to deal with the dual issues of COVID-19 travel restrictions on the personnel that carry out inspections and also supply issues that might occur due to pandemic shortages.

The astute travel advisor will also understand that while a hotel chain’s publicly stated COVID-19 policy is their well-intentioned goal, realistically the situation on the ground will show some variance. As such, it is best to prior advise travellers that their experience may vary from the stated brand policy.

In addition to the COVID-19 safety enhancements, each of the hotel chains promise both relaxed cancellation policies and paused expiration dates on loyalty program points.

As difficult as it is to cancel and change individual bookings due to COVID-19, many meeting & event planners have been experiencing issues where some properties are forcing these types of bookings to commit to specific future dates, or refusing to refund for cancelled meeting & events.

While the official policy of a large hotel chain may be that they understand the issues and are working with meeting planners to find acceptable alternatives, in reality this is not always the case.

As hotel protocols are changing in response to new information and guest preferences, here are links to each of the largest hotel chains COVID-19 health & safety protocol pages:

  1. Marriott: 

https://news.marriott.com/news/2020/03/17/travel-information-covid-19-update

  1. Radisson Hotels:

https://www.radissonhotels.com/en-us/health-safety

  1. Hilton: 

https://www.hilton.com/en/corporate/coronavirus/

  1. InterContinental: 

https://www.ihgplc.com/en/about-us/our-response-to-covid-19

  1. Wyndham: 

https://corporate.wyndhamhotels.com/news-releases/statement-from-wyndham-hotels-resorts-coronavirus-2/

  1. Accor: 

https://all.accor.com/event/allsafe.en.shtml

 

 

 

 

Case Study – Radisson Hotels

  1. About Radisson Hotel Group

Radisson Hotel Group is one of the world's largest hotel groups with nine distinctive hotel brands, and more than 1,500 hotels in operation and under development in 120 countries. The Group’s overarching brand promise is Every Moment Matters with a signature “Yes I Can!” service ethos.

The Radisson Hotel Group portfolio includes Radisson Collection, Radisson Blu, Radisson, Radisson RED, Radisson Individuals, Park Plaza, Park Inn by Radisson, Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, and prizeotel brought together under one commercial umbrella brand Radisson Hotels.

Radisson Rewards is the global rewards program that delivers unique and personalized ways to create memorable moments that matter to guests. Radisson Rewards offers exceptional loyalty benefits for guests, meeting planners, travel agents and business partners.

Radisson Meetings provides tailored solutions for any event or meeting, including hybrid solutions placing guests and their needs at the heart of its offer. Radisson Meetings is built around three strong service commitments: Personal, Professional and Memorable, while delivering on the brilliant basics and being uniquely 100% Carbon Neutral.

More than 100,000 team members work at Radisson Hotel Group and at the hotels licensed to operate in its systems.

Since 2019, RHG is part of Jin Jiang International. Jin Jiang International Co. Ltd. is a leading travel and hospitality headquartered in Shanghai, China and is ranked as the number two hotel group in the world in terms of number of rooms. (MKG Ranking 2021).

 

  1. Crisis management action plan

Every Radisson Hotel must be prepared to respond to difficult situations, ranging from a minor incident to a full-blown crisis. During the heat of the moment, each act has enormous implications on people, property and reputation.

Radisson Hotel Group has a Crisis Management Action Plan which provides a step-by-step guide on how to manage any incident or crisis. It is a practical guide specifically for General Managers and hotel teams. The Radisson Hotel Group Crisis Management Action Plan is determined by the severity and nature of the incident.

This crisis management guideline can be used for any type of incident: operational, IT/cyber or reputational.

While this guide provides the framework, anyone on the team who is responsible for crisis management should also take part in yearly hotel training and regular crisis management tabletop exercises. Preparation is the key, but learning from the past is also important. After a real incident or crisis has come to an end, there should be always a debrief with the hotel team.

According to Radisson Hotel Group, there are 5 steps to handle a crisis:

  1. Understand what has happened and how to respond.
    • Raise the alarm. Gather as much information as possible (What, when, where, whom, why).
  2. Evaluate the level of severity and potential impact and escalate accordingly.
    • Assess severity (impact on people, property and reputation – escalate accordingly to district, regional or franchise director).
  3. Activate teams and processes.
    • Activate hotel crisis management team and processes.
  4. Manage the situation across all levels and team members.
    • Manage the situation, think people first.
  5. Handle media and social media effectively.
    • Handle media, validate all messages with group communications team.

Moreover, the effective management of the crisis should focus on People, Property and Reputation, thus the major principles of the Radisson Hotel Group are the following:

  1. Think people and keep thinking people.
    1. Those who are most affected are PEOPLE. The crisis management team should have as primary responsibility to ensure the wellbeing of all hotel guests, staff and suppliers.
    2. Depending on the type of situation, actions may include:
      1. Restrict access or temporarily close any specific hotel area.
      2. Call medical or other emergency services.
      3. Evacuate the hotel.
      4. Contact guests who are offsite or will be arriving.
  2. Contact appropriate stakeholders.
    1. Depending on the nature of the situation it may be necessary or appropriate to contact local stakeholders such as:
      1. Public health authorities (Government health agencies, ambulance).
      2. Utility companies (water contamination, gas leak, etc.)
      3. Suppliers (food poisoning, beverage contamination, etc.)
      4. Police (civil disturbance/altercation in hotel, etc.)
      5. Local government (explosion, hostage situation, etc.)
  3. Brief hotel staff
    1. Convene an emergency meeting of the hotel’s Head of Departments (HODs) for a full briefing, and HODs must immediately brief their own teams.
    2. Inform them that no staff member may answer questions from the media or the public or should post anything about the issue and crisis on their own private or at social media.
    3. Guest/media inquiries should be directed to the crisis management team (CMT). Front office staff should be clearly briefed on handling calls/inquiries to the hotel and forwarding them to the CMT.
  4. Brief hotel guests
    1. Determine the level of information you should share with hotel guests at each stage in the evolving situation. Remember that information sharing should be clear and focused on ensuring guest safety and wellbeing, answer their questions and avoiding panic.
  5. Ensure effective ongoing management of the hotel.
    • Continue to gather facts and re-evaluate the situation and adapt response.
    • It is essential to keep hotel operations going and think about departing and arriving guests, continuing food and drinks operations and about managing incoming reservations.
    • Restore and replace whatever was lost or damaged during the crisis to ensure business can carry on.
  1. Safety protocols

One of Radisson Hotels’ top priorities is the health, safety and security of the guests, team members and business partners worldwide. In response to this, a team of experts have reviewed the existing health and safety processes and developed a new safety protocol. This in-depth cleanliness and disinfection protocol was created in partnership with SGS the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company and is designed to ensure the safety and peace of mind from check-in to check-out. In May 2020, the hotel group announced its Radisson Hotels Safety Protocol in collaboration with SGS, including increasing cleaning and disinfecting especially in high touch point areas, sanitizing stations throughout, team member PPE, physical distance measures in meetings, improved air circulation, strict food safety procedures, digital technology and hybrid meeting options.

A new 20-step protocol for hotels and 10-step protocol for meeting and event spaces is currently being introduced to Radisson hotels. New cleaning and disinfection procedures, increased attention to safety in communal spaces, protective equipment, and updated training for team members are included in the new protocols. All Radisson worldwide locations are being briefed on these protocols and strongly encouraged to implement them. These protocols describe specific processes and measures that are designed to make guests feel confident upon their stay at a Radisson Hotel.  

RHG requires that each property follows the following 20-step protocol, and for each measure you will find details on:

•What to do

•How to implement

•Where to find additional information or products

•Illustrations to facilitate understanding

In addition, please note:

•Hotels must always follow (local) government instructions, or the 20-step protocol guidelines, whichever is stricter.

•Whilst all properties can implement the steps of the 20-step protocol immediately, Radisson Hotels Safety Protocol branded collateral pieces can only be displayed after the property has completed its SGS PLEDGE desktop review with SGS. Properties which have not completed the SGS PLEDGE desktop review with SGS are not allowed to display any Radisson Hotels Safety Protocol branded collateral pieces.

•These instructions apply to the areas of hotels that are open as per the Radisson Hotel Group De-escalation Levels.

GUEST EXPERIENCE – 20 Step protocols

Source: Radisson Hotel Group 2020.

 

A new 10-step protocol for meeting and event spaces is currently being introduced to Radisson hotels. New cleaning and disinfection procedures, increased attention to safety in communal spaces, protective equipment, and updated training for team members are included in the new protocols. All Radisson worldwide locations are being briefed on these protocols and strongly encouraged to implement them. These protocols describe specific processes and measures that are designed to make guests feel confident.

GUEST EXPERIENCE – 10 Step M&E protocols

Source: Radisson Hotel Group 2020.

 

  1. Radisson Hotel Group new comprehensive COVID-19 testing program for guests and for meetings and events

As part of its ongoing commitment to the safe return of travel and to allow for a swift return to business, Radisson Hotel Group launches its new comprehensive testing program as the first hotel group to roll out a rapid testing service for meeting and event attendees at properties across its EMEA portfolio. The testing program builds on the Radisson Hotels Safety Protocol launched in 2020. In addition, upon full implementation of the program every hotel will be able to provide guests with the option to visit an easily accessible and affordable PCR testing location, either at the hotel site or in its vicinity. 

The comprehensive testing program for all guests is groundbreaking in its coordinated approach across EMEA to reinstall confidence and peace of mind to travelers as the world returns to business by providing a safe environment and seamless testing facilitation.

Radisson Hotel Group’s new testing program is an extension of  the Group’s 20-Step and 10-step Radisson Hotels Safety Protocol launched in 2020 in partnership with SGS, the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing, and certification company, recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity, as well as the Group’s Hybrid Rooms and Hybrid Meeting Solutions to assist clients in delivering a seamless event of any kind, from hybrid multi-site meetings to broadcasting events.

The rapid testing service for Meetings & Events will be available at participating hotels in select countries across EMEA in partnership with Hughes Healthcare using a lateral flow antigen test kit, proven to be one of the most accurate and best performing in terms of sensitivity and specificity.

Guests staying at Radisson properties can also have access to convenient and affordable PCR testing, the gold standard of SARS-CoV-2 detection, as part of Radisson Hotel Group’s partnership with SYNLAB and Eurofins. SYNLAB is the leading pan-European provider of clinical laboratory and medical diagnostic services as well as laboratory diagnostics provider of UEFA. Eurofins is the global leader in bio-analysis and partner of Formula 1.

In addition, selected hotels will offer PCR testing on location for groups or individuals, or self-sampling PCR tests via the Group’s partners.

COVID-19 Testing Options include:

  • COVID-19 rapid antigen testing offered by a specialized third-party testing provider and administered by a trained health care provider on site at the hotel prior to the event / meeting.
  • Access to PCR testing locations in the vicinity of the hotel.
  • Access to PCR testing with self-sampling, in countries where this is legally permitted.
  • Group or VIP PCR testing on site at the hotel administered by a trained health care provider.

Radisson Hotel Group has announced its support and endorsement of the World Travel and Tourism (WTTC)’s “Safe Travels” protocols, the industry’s new global hospitality framework and stamp to provide consistency to destinations and countries as well as guidance to travel providers, operators, and travellers about the new approach to health and hygiene in the post COVID-19 world.

Radisson Hotel Group played a leading role in the development of the WTTC "Safe Travels" protocols, because of the firm belief in the power of cooperation and need for a unifying framework of protocols for the safe return to business.

Travel and tourism businesses, destinations and countries will be recognized with a “Stamp of Approval”, upon adoption and implementation of the WTTC’s global protocols or confirmation that their own standards are in line with WTTC’s framework.

The ultimate objective of the WTTC’s “Safe Travels” protocols is to reassure and instill confidence in guests as they begin to travel again via a globally consistent and unifying framework across the hospitality industry.

 

Conclusion

Organizations will need to reimagine the customer experience and take deliberate action to maintain and build consumers’ trust. They will need to develop offerings that reflect the impact of COVID-19 on customers’ health and finances while also encouraging them to get out of the house, travel and spend.

As well, hospitality businesses will need to manage the operational realities of the new normal, investing in technology to help deal with the burden while building a more flexible, agile workforce. The  role  of  IT  and  new technologies in promoting hotel services should be a major priority for hotel companies (Marinakos et al., 2015). In an environment of dramatically lower revenues, high fixed costs, less than optimal asset returns, and the need to conserve capital, hospitality organizations will need to determine which areas to prioritize and invest in.

They will need to find the right balance between investment and conservation, one that achieves the highest ROI in the near to medium term. Some of these decisions will endure; others may not. But the decisions made in the months to come will have a lasting impact on the operating models of the hospitality sector for years to come.

The COVID-19 pandemic will eventually fade. The economy will recover and the hospitality sector—from restaurants to hotels, casinos to sports—will regain its footing and look forward with confidence to a successful, thriving future. Now is the time for companies to act, adapt to the new normal, position themselves for nimbleness and thrive in the years ahead (Deloitte, 2020).

 

 

 

 

 

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