Light at the End of the Tunnel
By Daniel Hostettler President & Managing Director, Ocean House Management | May 17, 2020
Here we are starting our third month of the Covid crisis, the biggest global event since the World Wars and certainly the most damaging blow to the hotel industry in the course of my 25-year career. North America has been particularly hard hit, shut down, and shrouded by a thick fog of tragedy, uncertainty and doubt.
But now, hopefully, that fog has begun to lift, allowing intermittent glimpses of the road ahead. I would like to share my four-pronged approach to mitigating the effects of the crisis and some thoughts about what the future has in store.
1. Staff Support
It might seem counterintuitive at this time of deep crisis, but the most important consideration for hoteliers, particularly those working in the luxury sector, must be to protect their hard-won reputation and brand. And that starts with protecting its most valuable asset: its staff. The hotels that rebound fastest after the crisis will be those that open undiminished, offering the same consistently high levels of service they always have.
Our goal at OHM has always been to be an employer of choice, with the ability to attract and retain the best staff. And, from the beginning, we have viewed the Covid crisis as an opportunity to further that reputation. When we closed our three properties, we were forced to furlough the majority of our staff, retaining only the core senior management team. But we have made sure that those managers furloughed receive all the benefits to which they were entitled plus a stipend that makes up the difference between unemployment benefits to their full wage.
2. Staff Engagement