The hospitality and travel industries post COVID-19 with Stephan Aigner
By Matt Helm
From bars and restaurants to hotels and airlines, no part of the hospitality and travel sector was spared the effects of COVID-19. We sat down with Stephan Aigner, Director of Profit Cluster for Nordic Choice Hotels, to get his take on the industry today and what changes he sees on the horizon.
Stephan Aigner’s experience spans through the Canary Islands, Netherlands, Thailand, and Norway – where he currently resides and works for the Nordic Choice Hotels as Director of Profit Cluster.
Hospitality and Finance
Airlines use crowdsourcing to ask customers how much they want to pay for their flights.
Asian markets as an early indicator that the crisis was going to impact dramatically. (-50-60% travel to Asian countries was already being predicted in Feb. 2020)
Pivot and focus on in-country travelers.
In 2009 financial crisis only saw a reduction of international arrivals of 4%. It took the industry 4-5 years to achieve price level recovery. It also was followed by the rise of websites like expedia and booking.com, which now lead the industry. Aigner believes that this crisis will likely give rise to something new as well.
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Inter-Nordic travellers make up the largest portion of hotel stays in the Nordic countries. This means that they will likely see their market recover faster than markets that rely heavily on international travellers such as France.
The Main focus is now on the health and wellness of guests and making them feel safe when being in the hotel. The smaller you are, the tougher it is at the moment… especially as many of these had a very exposed financial situation before the pandemic and are now having to invest even more to comply with new regulations and attract back guests.
The key to surviving is “finding your niche and attracting the right customers” it doesn’t matter the size of your business. We’ve seen the emergence of boutique hotels and larger chains creating smaller boutique brands to cater to audiences and offer more variety. Small details that make the experience unique and authentic are what allow smaller hotels to charge more.
While it may be popular at the moment, the trend of hotel advertising targeting multi-generational families vacationing together is not a trend that Aigner sees carrying on into the future.
Sustainability: increase in use in more sustainable forms of travel (trains) or decrease in overall business travel. Banning of as much disposable plastic as possible. Other measures being taken to reduce the overall carbon footprint.
Listen to the podcast to learn more about where the industry might be heading post-COVID-19 with our foremost expert, Stephan Aigner.