The implications of COVID-19 on hospitality industry. Source: CDN.shortpixel.ai

August 09, 2021

3 ways hotels can maintain their operations during COVID-19

The pandemic has taken a significant blow on the economy as a whole, especially the hospitality industry, where it witnessed an unprecedented plunge in the number of visitors. In addition, the national lockdowns have put an immense strain on the tourism industry, causing hotels to shut down. However, some hotels have adopted some strategies to maintain their operations amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Service operation change

Hotels have to follow safety procedures by wearing masks. Source: Canva.com

COVID-19 has laid off staff in various fields, yet hotels still tried their best to maintain staff by keeping minimal operations and minimizing the staff to the temporary closure. The reason explaining for this method is that it is not the optimal way to sustain a human resource management strategy. After cutting down the number of experienced workers, the hotels could encounter further challenges in recruiting qualified employees. In the USA, around 75% of hotels will have to cut down more employees without coronavirus aid from Congress, with hotels experiencing the reduction rate of 65% in 2019 (see more here).

According to the research by Le and Phi in researching strategic responses of hotel sector to COVID-19 in 2021; the findings revealed that hotels provide supporting packages for their employees such as tax reduction or flexible loans instead of layoffs. Common hotel practices usually include decreased staff working hours, unpaid leave, and involuntary separation to maintain the hotel business. Generally, if hotels want to operate during the pandemic, they must follow stringent rules and safety guidelines.

Take Away Food

People now can get access to restaurant food with delivery options. Source: Canva.com

Do you miss the sensation of smelling the aromatic hotel dishes permeating in the air? Well, COVID-19 has changed the rules of eating out. Hotels and restaurants soon adapt to this situation by allowing customers to take away their food or apply food delivery. However, for those who crave a fancy make-yourself-at-home meal, the social distancing did not dampen their pangs of hunger for enjoying tasty meals.

In China, some hotel restaurants offered various dishes to soothe the craving for exquisite food, such as NUO Hotel Beijing or The Opposite House. These hotels provide the customers their hotline so that restaurants will deliver the food to the customers’ doorsteps. In Vietnam, luxury five-star hotel JW Marriott also offered high-end specialties with free home delivery of meals for minimum orders of around $65 in pandemic times.

JW Marriott Five Star Hotel – Hanoi, Vietnam. Source: bota.vn

Assistance to healthcare workers

Source: Canva.com

Interestingly, some hotels have contributed their part in assisting healthcare workers amid the pandemic. Among European countries, discount vouchers were utilized. Large hotel chains such as Hilton, Wyndham, or Marriott invested in branding by providing free accommodation services for health workers and charity donations.

Specifically, Hilton and American Express donated one million room nights to frontline medical staff as a meaningful approach to the community (see more here). In addition, from April 2020, HI Hotel in Bari (Italy) offered accommodation for healthcare workers who were involved in the COVID-19 area of the hospital for a month.

What does the future hold for hotel industry?

The pandemic has devastated the whole hospitality economic landscape. However, with the adoption of new methods, hotels are finding ways to recover from the severe damage of the pandemic and looking forward to a better future.


Le, D., & Phi, G. (2021). Strategic responses of the hotel sector to COVID-19: Toward a refined pandemic crisis management framework. International Journal of Hospitality Management94, 102808.

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