Hotels and business travel - never going to recover ?

Discussion in 'COVID-19 Forum' started by Talay, May 25, 2020.

  1. Talay

    Talay UKBF Big Shot Free Member

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    I sat with the General Manager of a group of hotels at the beginning of the crisis and we looked into our crystal balls and came up with slights but equally worrying pictures of a post Wuhan flu era.

    My take on it is that the real winner from all this is going to be technology. After a decade or so of being on the edge as to whether it can truly work sufficiently well to plug the gap when two parties are not in the same room, well, I think that question has been answered in the affirmative.

    So where does that leave the hotel business ?

    If I am a sales manager with 10 people out on the road and staying overnight 3 times a week and doing perhaps 600 miles per week in their company cars then I suffer a budget cost of something like this:

    Car: 500
    Fuel: 500
    Hotels: 1000
    Subsistence: 500

    This is £2500 per person, per month, equal to £300k a year.

    Roll out past this crisis and do you go back to spending £25k a month on sending guys out on the road or do you save the costs and the time wasted and have your people come into the office once a week and work from home the other days ? They can still go see some people a couple of days a month perhaps.

    There are variations on this theme but all pretty more costly. Why fly ? Why go anywhere ? Why have a huge inner city office ?

    Of course, my compatriot was more optimistic but hesitant but for hotels which cannot fill corporate rooms with tourists then who will fill them and at what rates ?

    For the whole travel sector, they seem to be enthused with a "get back to normal" approach but once you've seen the light, it is hard to turn off the switch and if I were that sales manager's boss, I don't think I am going to easily wear any choice to go spend £300k on putting people back on the road for no reason.
     
    Posted: May 25, 2020 By: Talay Member since: Mar 12, 2012
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  2. Aniela

    Aniela UKBF Regular Free Member

    201 29
    I don't feel the impact will be that large or noticeable. Working from home isn't that easy and as glorious as it appears for the first few weeks/months.

    Motivation, stress, family life etc are all affected when we work from home.

    I'm not convinced most people are cut out to working from home under normal working loads over long periods of times.

    We as humans survive on social interaction and when you remove that, things start going downhill quite fast.

    It's going to be hard to have a sales team keep motivated when they haven't spoken to a person, in-person, virtually all week. Will be hard to stay motivated when they've fallen out with their partner but both are working from home and under each others feet all week.

    The other issue is that the UK economy/landscape would likely start collapsing if there was a mass "work from home movement."

    Can McDonalds survive when there's hardly anyone driving back from work and popping in to McDonalds on the way past? Can car manufactures survive when people realise they're paying £200+ a month for a car that's sitting outside except on a weekend. If cars start getting used 75% less, can companies like AA survive? Can train/bus companies survive when there's even less people travelling to work?

    There are massive side-effects from having a major switch to people working from home.
     
    Posted: May 25, 2020 By: Aniela Member since: Mar 28, 2020
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  3. JEREMY HAWKE

    JEREMY HAWKE UKBF Legend Full Member

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    Is it really that proffesional to have children screaming in background with the dog barking
    I don't think working at home will be such a big thing
     
    Posted: May 25, 2020 By: JEREMY HAWKE Member since: Mar 4, 2008
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  4. MY OFFICE IN CHINA

    MY OFFICE IN CHINA UKBF Legend Full Member

    5,535 1,293
    Wuhan flu - still think its the flu?

    Welcome to the new normal.
     
    Posted: May 25, 2020 By: MY OFFICE IN CHINA Member since: Nov 16, 2011
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  5. Aniela

    Aniela UKBF Regular Free Member

    201 29
    It has worked on a smaller scale. A lot of Apples phone support in the US is done by people working from home. British Gas (Or one of the other utility services, can't remember exactly) have had engineers providing assistance from home via video call for a while now.

    That could be a situation of only ideal applicants applying, which wouldn't be possible if hiring on a large scale.

    Interesting when it comes to large companies that tend to outsource to India though. If they don't care about their support team not having English as their native language and not having a clue what you're saying half of the time, will they care about a dog barking in the background?
     
    Posted: May 25, 2020 By: Aniela Member since: Mar 28, 2020
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  6. JEREMY HAWKE

    JEREMY HAWKE UKBF Legend Full Member

    5,036 1,682
    If China leave Hong Kong alone it will be Corona virus
    If they don't stick to the Hong Kong agreement it will be Wuhan flu or the Chinese virus
     
    Posted: May 25, 2020 By: JEREMY HAWKE Member since: Mar 4, 2008
    #6
  7. MY OFFICE IN CHINA

    MY OFFICE IN CHINA UKBF Legend Full Member

    5,535 1,293
    Chinese virus it is then!

    As you've brought up Hong Kong - Major changes taking place.

    There will be no more 'One Country - 2 Systems'. Trouble at mill, me thinks.

    Again, the new normal.

    Hong Kong residents will start leaving, especially the expats that can work elsewhere in the Far East. Singapore will be the 'country' of choice.
     
    Posted: May 25, 2020 By: MY OFFICE IN CHINA Member since: Nov 16, 2011
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  8. Interestedobserver

    Interestedobserver UKBF Regular Free Member

    381 62
    All the big companies will have to create their own Health and Safety Policies to reduce the risks of their clients being at risk to Covid.

    One of those for sure will be to reduce the need for face to face meetings of any size

    It's co-incidental you mention Mcdonalds above.

    A good 2 weeks before lockdown started in the UK they cancelled a big Charity dinner in London for 800 people where their franchisees all attend together to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House Clarity together

    They didn't have to cancel the event their management personally chose to as they didn't consider it a safe thing to do anymore. They cancelled at huge expense to the charity. But took the financial hit to put safety first.

    Weve already seen big organisations pledge for their staff to be able to work from home. They won't pledge that and then send them off travelling and staying in Hotels

    They won't pay for client hospitality either in the future at sporting events for a very long time. It's not safe and will look like a poor decision

    The banks are also allowing you to sign things remotely now that they would neve have done before - everything will become remote where possible

    Theo Paphitis was on BBC this week also saying that Covid has changed retail forever

    He said online retail is 5 years ahead of where it would have been now without Covid as it's forced people to buy online who never would have before

    He mentioned his wife has found it so easy to do etc

    And that now he has to make his own plan for more online sales and less face to face sales

    As well as face to face sales meetings being removed the big networking/conference events will also be hugely hit by this

    Face to face will become only when really necessary from now on

    Before Covid I often wondered why I travelled to meet people for my own businesses when I could use Skype instead. I used to think of the lost time travelling etc when I could be doing more useful things.

    Now I know I simply won't do it unless really necessary. But will use technology instead.

    I would suggest asking for face to face meetings with anyone will be frowned upon from now on and not showing a duty of care for a colleague or a client

    All but really essential face to face meetings will fall away hugely

    And so less travel and less hotel rooms needed. Less restaurants etc etc etc
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2020
    Posted: May 25, 2020 By: Interestedobserver Member since: Apr 15, 2020
    #8
  9. Interestedobserver

    Interestedobserver UKBF Regular Free Member

    381 62
    Yes but the fact is those organisations and individuals choosing to work remotely and avoid travel and face to face meetings where possible are looking after their OWN interests. They can't be forced to travel or stay in hotels etc.

    They simply won't have the interests of property landlords, or car dealerships, or hotel owners or transport owners to worry about

    And many will overall have far less to spend regardless so will be pleased to lower their travel budgets accordingly for business and pleasure etc
     
    Posted: May 25, 2020 By: Interestedobserver Member since: Apr 15, 2020
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  10. Aniela

    Aniela UKBF Regular Free Member

    201 29
    He mentioned he was talking about a post-flu era.

    You're talking about the current situation; not post-flu.

    There wouldn't be a "not showing a duty of care for a colleague or a client" after the COVID-19 is no longer an issue. You're talking about a different thing alltogether.
     
    Posted: May 25, 2020 By: Aniela Member since: Mar 28, 2020
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  11. fisicx

    fisicx It's Major Clanger! Staff Member

    32,736 9,705
    My wife used to commute to London but now works from home. The whole company is now more productive and uses technology to communicate and work as a team. There are no plans to return to the office. Talking to others it seems many other city firms will be doing the same. Client visits are now done using Skype, zoom and Teams. So no need to travel anymore.

    Things are changing and it’s likely a lot of the service industry will cease because there won’t be enough people to service.

    As an aside, my mate lives in Spain. Restaurants and Hotels can open but the restrictions are so great it’s not viable for many. Eg: a restaurant may only open if you can eat outside and customer numbers are limited of 30% of the tables.
     
    Posted: May 25, 2020 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006
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  12. Interestedobserver

    Interestedobserver UKBF Regular Free Member

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    Well first let's accept "post flu" is at least a couple of years away

    And most of what I read suggests we will be living with Covid ongoing in some shape or form

    The days of shaking hands are over

    All the time we get out of the habit of face to face Interaction and get into the habit of remote then we re-programme ourselves

    And remote will become easier and better and tried and tested. And safer.

    You are kidding yourself if you think there's going to be a huge appetite to travel and meet people face to face again. It will be looked upon as dark ages to do that IMO

    Some will want to do it. But the new normal will be remote meetings for sure.

    Same as online retail will advance 5 years. Remote meetings the same.

    I had never even heard of zoom before this. I had heard of Skype only.

    Now I've had 5 experiences of zoom already in last 6 weeks.
     
    Posted: May 25, 2020 By: Interestedobserver Member since: Apr 15, 2020
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  13. Aniela

    Aniela UKBF Regular Free Member

    201 29
    It's efficient in certain instances now because the laws haven't really caught up with working from home situations.

    If working from home because a massive 'norm', laws are going to adjust and bring problems and inefficiency along with it, as they always do.

    GDPR, insurance, healthy and safety, security would all be a pain. I can't see there being a stance of 'Well if you're working from home, it's all your responsibility' as that offers no protection for workers. Some of those things do have things that apply to working from home but I envision large changes if working from home becomes a new standard as the 'bad things' from working at home come prelevant.
     
    Posted: May 25, 2020 By: Aniela Member since: Mar 28, 2020
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  14. fisicx

    fisicx It's Major Clanger! Staff Member

    32,736 9,705
    Laws don’t need to change.

    I’ve been working from home for years without any problems. Many others are the same.
     
    Posted: May 25, 2020 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006
    #14
  15. Aniela

    Aniela UKBF Regular Free Member

    201 29
    I'll place a £200 bet with you now that within 12 months, we will be in a "post flu" situation where people are walking round shops, going into cafes and having parties all as if nothing ever happened. I see a change of some people working from home and some businesses doing meetings via Skype or whatever but it will not be a massive change.

    We're humans. The reality of sitting at a computer for every meeting instead of going and meeting people is one of those things that sounds alright until you've done it for 6 months and not met another person. Certain things life seem good until you've experienced it for a while.

    Relationships are a good example...
     
    Posted: May 25, 2020 By: Aniela Member since: Mar 28, 2020
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  16. mattk

    mattk UKBF Newcomer Free Member

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    In the fullness of time kids will go back to school and/or childcare. Therefore the screaming kids phenomenon is only temporary.
     
    Posted: May 25, 2020 By: mattk Member since: Dec 5, 2005
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  17. Darren_Ssc

    Darren_Ssc UKBF Ace Free Member

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    More like 3 months.
     
    Posted: May 25, 2020 By: Darren_Ssc Member since: Mar 1, 2019
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  18. Aniela

    Aniela UKBF Regular Free Member

    201 29
    Working from home for years without any problems doesn't mean there aren't any problems though, does it. It's just that you haven't run into any. You may be breaking rules/laws already just genuinely not aware of it.

    A lot of people working from home at the moment are using their standard internet connection, which for most ISP's isn't technically allowed. Personal broadband usually states it can not be used for business purposes. They have business broadband packages instead for that. Things like that would need to be reconsidered.

    Things like that would become more prevalent if working from home became a standard. If companies move towards working from home, who is responsible for paying the business broadband costs?

    Most work from home companies state it's your responsibility but if it become more widespread, maybe companies would be forced to pay for services like that needed to operate their company.

    What about working from home when you deal with extremely sensitive information or high risk information. Should you require security alarms on your personal property, what about security cameras? Who's responsible for that?

    Someone breaks into my house, steals my laptop containing company documents. Am I responsible or is it the employers responsibility that the workplace is safe? Very grey areas if you move to a mass at home economy as the goal posts are moved when everyone is doing it compared to a small minority.

    Thoughts of how things should be handled change; even though it's the same situation.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2020
    Posted: May 25, 2020 By: Aniela Member since: Mar 28, 2020
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  19. Interestedobserver

    Interestedobserver UKBF Regular Free Member

    381 62
    Of course some people will be going to cafes and restaurants and living life

    We all will to some extent

    But being careful and in a new way

    And making choices to do it our own way rather than anything like we've done til now

    25 per cent may remain very cautious

    25 per cent cautious

    25 per cent a little bit cautious

    25 per cent not cautious at all

    (If we are allowed to choose)

    Those figures obviously a random guess

    The bottom group alone will allow you to see enough people out living life to win your bet

    So it's not a fair bet!

    I would class myself and wife as being the second one. My son and daughter the third one.

    That's enough to totally change how all 4 of us do things though and how often we do them significantly

    The new normal will be to look after yourself. Simple as that.
     
    Posted: May 25, 2020 By: Interestedobserver Member since: Apr 15, 2020
    #19
  20. Darren_Ssc

    Darren_Ssc UKBF Ace Free Member

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    Cafe next to me opened for pre-booked takeaway orders a week or so ago. Within two days they had to stop because of the number of people walking in thinking it was business as usual.
     
    Posted: May 25, 2020 By: Darren_Ssc Member since: Mar 1, 2019
    #20