The hospitality industry is facing the greatest challenge in our lifetime as hotels around the world have been closed, international borders restricted, and flights cancelled in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic. There is no question that travel will return, but it won’t be easy and the hospitality landscape is likely to be forever changed by current events.

We are starting to see some signs of optimism in the countries that have made the most progress in terms of managing the virus. In China, for example, where the outbreak originated, hotels are operating again and occupancy is growing although it is still far below pre-covid levels. But we are seeing domestic travelers visit our hotels and the hotels continue to be an active hub of the community with busy restaurants, lobbies, etc.

In Hong Kong, we have recently reopened our spas, and have been delighted to see our local spa guests returning to our spas, a clear sign of the trust that they place in our brand to operate at the highest levels of safety and cleanliness.

These initial glimmers of hope are important because they give us a glimpse into the brighter future that lies ahead, but they don’t ease the long road that we have ahead of us nor diminish the hard work that will be required to bring business back to the levels that they were previously.

 In my role as the Group Director of Spa & Wellness for Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, I’m considering the following steps as our pathway to recovery:

1. Stay Connected with Guests

The entire world has turned to online platforms and communication channels to stay connected with their customers. If people can’t visit our hotels, we still want to be here for them and communicate with them regularly. We have been sharing wellness tips, cooking classes, live streaming fitness and yoga classes, and more as ways to maintain contact with our guests and to try and support them through a difficult time.

2. Stay Relevant

While we are trying to communicate more with our guests, we need to be aware that everyone else is communicating more with them at the same time. We need to ensure that we are not just adding “noise” in an attempt to promote ourselves, but that we are providing them meaningful information that brings real value during the pandemic.

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