For the first few weeks of March 2020, I will admit I pretty much ignored Coronavirus. It was just another headline in our 24-hour news cycle – something I was sure would go away in a few weeks, never to be mentioned again.
Some of my hotel supplier clients were mildly concerned, but most were holding out hope like me that it was just a blip on the radar. I remember one client was eager to press on: “It really isn’t affecting our business,” my contact said, asking for more content.
A week later I had my weekly call with the same client and his tune had changed dramatically. In fact, most of my calls over the latter half of March became difficult conversations about either pausing contracts or abruptly ending them. I couldn’t blame anyone; hotels were being forced to close overnight and travel all but stopped. It was all of a sudden useless to market solutions to an industry scrambling to survive.
Another week later, and it was clear that COVID-19 would have a dramatic effect on hospitality. Priorities shifted from, “How can we position our products in the market?” to, “How can we stay afloat and help the industry through this?” By April, there was an industry wide collective effort to help each other mitigate the damage and stay relevant until this passed over.
And that’s exactly why Hotel Recovery 2020 was born: There were so many hospitality leaders “pitching in” with new free products, new data offering insights and new thoughts on how to get through this, it seemed clear we needed a single place to aggregate all of the industry’s recovery efforts. I named the site and the daily newsletter Hotel Recovery 2020 because I was 100% certain Coronavirus would run its course by the end of the year. It was deliberately finite; this was not a resource that would be needed for more than a few months.
And here we are, closing the end of the year at the peak of disaster. Many of our colleagues have lost their jobs. Those of us who have continued working in hospitality are barely hanging on, often finding new ways to reinvent our roles. To this day, many of us struggle to predict how our industry will look when we come out of this.
Travel Is Once Again a Privilege
Personally, I’m confident travel will come back stronger than ever. I believe there is no good or service you can spend your money on that can replicate the feeling (or ROI) of traveling. Even as airlines do their best to make flying a logistical, physical and emotional nightmare, there’s no emotion that resembles the clarity you have in your head when returning from a trip. For me, gazing out of the airplane window on a return flight, I always have a renewed sense of zeal and optimism. I’m often struck with ideas that for whatever reason would never have occurred to me during the daily office grind.
I also truly believe that no Zoom call will ever be able to replicate the benefits of meeting face to face with colleagues and peers. I’ve been fortunate to build some amazing relationships with people from all walks of life, just by having the opportunity to shake their hand, exchange business cards, sit in a hotel hallway, or share a beer in a hotel lobby. While at one point in my career I thoroughly despised “networking,” I am now grateful the practice forced me to shed my anxiety and thankful for some of my closest friends and business partners I’ve met along the way.
What’s Next for HR2020?
Again, as we close the year with hospitality in perhaps the worst shape it has been since March, the editorial staff at HR2020 is left with some difficult decisions. Up until this point, we’ve humbly been creating content and aggregating resources with no revenue to show for it. While we were glad to donate our time to help the industry recover, it’s not sustainable in the long term.
At the same time, simply folding Hotel Recovery 2020 on December 31 just wouldn’t feel right. We’ve built an amazing readership, and engagement with the site and daily newsletter has been overwhelming. The support from our contributors has been incredible. As much as a newsletter can, we really feel we’re building a community and helping the industry rally by sharing data, tips and best practices. Folding it now, we feel, would be doing a disservice to our readers and the industry we love.
So as of this week, we’re introducing “partnerships,” as a way to help sustain the site. Through these partnerships, hospitality companies can reach an amazing global audience of hotel leaders and at the same time contribute to industry wide recovery. You may have noticed that, for the first time, this week’s newsletter has a sponsor: Revenue Analytics, a longtime revenue management consultancy chaired by the great Robert G. Cross, who just this year launched an RMS tool called N2Pricing. We’re grateful Revenue Analytics committed to being HR2020’s first “partner,” and we hope their presence in the newsletter sparks others to fill the same space.
Oh, and one last thing. We get this question every day: What happens to Hotel Recovery 2020 once the calendar flips to 2021? Nothing. While “2020” represents a calendar year, it also represents the acute vision we’ll all need to get past these current trials and tribulations. Just like COVID-19 was born in 2019, the counterpunch to help hotels conquer this awful pandemic was born in 2020. However long it takes us to get us back on our feet, we’ll always remember 2020 as the year we began mounting our recovery.
Interested in contributing to the industry’s recovery while at the same time getting your message in front of hospitality’s foremost leaders? Check out the partnership options here, or request information by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.