Innovative ways how hotels are surviving and bouncing back! - eNidhi India Travel Blog

Innovative ways how hotels are surviving and bouncing back!

Hotels are affected badly by the worldwide crisis triggered by corona virus. With huge investments in property, staff and facilities, hotels are affected by near complete stoppage of cashflow. However, the industry is slowly bouncing back with various counter measures to regain customer confidence and invite them over in a safe and convenient manner as economies open up. In this post, I have compiled 10+ ways in which hotel industry is innovating to stay afloat and bounce back. If some of these interest you, you may take advantage of the offers.
1. Pay now, stay later schemes.
Earlier hotels had strict cancellation policy. Now several hotel chains have launched schemes that offer unlimited rescheduling or modifications. 

Several popular hotel brands such as Marriott, Ginger, Hilton, ITC have launched these flexible advance payment schemes. If you are guaranteed to travel in near future, these are worthy investments as savings are significant. However check fine print such as expiry date and other terms.
More details
  • Marriott Pay Now Stay Later scheme:
  • Ginger Hotels
Related: JW Marriott Jaipur

2. We pay, you Stay scheme by Narendra Bhawan Bikaner and other custom offers
Narendra Bhawan Bikaner has introduced a "You Stay, we Pay" scheme. Under this, accommodation is offered for free while guests need to pay INR 3500 per day for food expenses. While the headline captured attention, everyone wondered "where exactly are we getting paid". That apart, it is a clever marketing and I am sure many would have booked Narendra Bhawan rooms under this option. A typical stay would cost 5000-50000 in room rent + meals extra. So at 3500 per day for stay+ meals it is still a great deal.

ITC Group is offering a similar package under "Welcombreak All-in Getaway" offer, for about INR 5299+ Taxes. It includes stay, breakfast, lunch and dinner, complementary laundry, happy hours, WiFi, late check out and other discounts/benefits. Most of the popular ITC Hotels are participating in this offer.

Suryagarh Jaisalmer is offering "Shelter at Suryagarh" scheme starting at 10000 per day (plus taxes) that includes stay, dinner, live music with drinks in the evening, high speed WiFi,  Airport transfer and other benefits for long term stay. Suryagarh is amazing property in Jaisalmer because of large number of pets in the facility, a fort like campus, eye catching interiors, several curated, unique experiences such as Kuldhara visit, breakfast with peacocks, evening by the lakes etc.

3. Lockdown Packages
Evolve Back Hampi had announced a week-long discounted package targeted at Bengaluru lockdown in July. Lockdown packages are aimed to free willing customers from restrictions in their city by asking them to check into a resort before lockdown begins and return home after lock down is lifted. I have made a separate post on Evolve Back Hampi's lockdown package here.
4. Donation Campaigns
AirBnB had introduced a campaign where guests can donate some money to their former hosts. The idea was probably launched with good intentions- if you have stayed with a poor host, happy with their services and willing to small amount to them since their income from rentals have stopped, you can donate. However the campaign received lots of backlash on twitter due to general perception that those who own a building and give them on rent are most likely to be richer than people who rent them.

5. Aggressive discounts
30 to 50 % discount is the new norm over standard rates. You might be able to negotiate better deals in case of long stay/more number of rooms. Travel agencies and portals have started flooding their customer database with these 30-50% never before offers.

6. Offering hotel as quarantine centers: 
Many hotels have tied up with local administration to offer their facility as paid quarantine centers. This helps them good revenue as guests stay longer- for 7 to 14 days. In lots of cities Govt has fixed a cap on rates but hotels can circumvent that a bit by charging more for foods or other tricks.

7. Workation and Staycation Offers
Good internet and a comfortable room in a safe & scenic place: Several corporate executives would prefer such an environment over their homes. Workation offers attract well paid executives looking for a break and can offer long term business. Many hotels are promoting their property as a workation destination. Hotels in less crowded, less Coronavirus affected cities are capitalizing on this.
8. Refined focus on restaurant services
While guests who check-in and stay are less, there is still good demand for food. Lots of frontline workers need regular supply of food and several individuals locked down in rooms without cooking facilities or those who don't know cooking would order from a trusted restaurant. Hotels have refined focus on their restaurants and arranging takeaways and deliveries in their locality.

9. Focus on CSR
While guest business is low, many brands have not given up or sitting quiet. Hyatt Regency Dharamshala has got itself involved in lots of CSR activities in the area, helping locals cope with lockdown and other pandemic related issues. This may not bring cash flow but will earn lots of goodwill for the brand.
Photo from Hyatt Regency Dharamshala's Facebook page. More details here

10. Extended loyalty point validity
Hotel chains with loyalty points and membership schemes have extended validity of the loyalty points and sweetening redemption rules. These are aimed to help their customers stick with them for longer and will definitely payback later.

Marriott for example has extended loyalty point status till Feb 2022 and Loyalty Points will be protected till February 2021.

11. Hotel Bonds
Some websites have come up to encash this crisis and offering what's called "Hotel Bonds". You pay 100$ now, wait for 6 months and then get to stay in hotel rooms worth $150. Looks interesting but dealing with 3rd party sites have their own risks. Also hotel room rents can be manipulated to give a sense of false saving. So don't fall for this unless you're 100% sure what you want and what you will get.

12. Day visit packages by ITC Group
ITC Group is offering day visit packages starting INR 4499+ taxes, which gives you access to boardroom for 2 hours (Subject to availability), WiFi access,  INR 1000 worth cashback/credit and hotel room access for 12 hours. Ideal for business visitors.

What is happening with timeshare membership like Club Mahindra?
It is not clear how timeshare memberships like Club Mahindra, Sterling etc are dealing with pandemic and what relaxations have they offered to their customers. I asked in a tweet but didn't get any response. Prima-facie it appears no specific relaxations have been given. Else the brand would have promoted it aggressively.
Do spread the word about these offers, so that those who find value in these deals can benefit from the same. It is time to support our friends in hospitality sector. If you are aware of any mouth watering deals and offers, do let me know in comments.


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