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Hotels adapt to win back guests

Hotel chains are performing a precarious budget balancing act as they scrap amenities to pay for more cleaning to rebuild consumer confidence shaken by the pandemic. Many are cutting amenities such as daily housekeeping visits, hot breakfast buffets, and even complimentary soaps and lotions, according to the Wall Street Journal.

  • Be Smart: The moves may help defray the costs of sanitizers, protective face masks, and antiviral cleaning devices… These changes could have long-term effects, some of which could be financially favorable as a hotel’s biggest cost is typically labor for housekeeping. Scaling back on daily room visits in favor of deeper cleaning before guests arrive could allow hotels to reduce costs down the road.
  • Positive macro trend: Hotel occupancy rates across the country have risen for five straight weeks, offering a glimmer of hope that the economy’s gradual reopening and the start of summer will foster a tepid recovery. The occupancy rate for the week ended May 16 was 32.4% with nearly 11 million room nights sold, up from a low of 21% and a million room nights sold for the week ended April 11. Leisure travelers driving to nearby destinations have helped fill beds.
  • Worth Noting: The recovery is expected to be particularly hard for upper-tier hotels, which cater to corporate travelers, business groups, and convention guests. These customers may be slow to return, with many companies suspending all but essential travel. [WSJ]

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