The hospitality sector has been one of the most profitable business segments of all times. However, the sector received a huge blow in the form of the pandemic. As the world continues adjusting to the ‘new’ reality, we asked Sanjeev Nanda, CEO of Claridges Group of Hotels, about his views on the future of hospitality in a post-pandemic world.

According to the hospitality maven, the sector is undergoing a phase of immense transformation. With change in operational norms, hoteliers need to remodel their standard procedures, shifting their focus on providing greater care and ensuring safer experiences for the guests through ‘low contact hospitality’, suggests Sanjeev Nanda.

As the CEO of Claridges Group of Hotels, Sanjeev Nanda admits having seen a great many ups and downs in the industry, but none have been as damaging as the pandemic. However, he is positive about the resilience of the sector, adding that it is now ready to serve the guests with a highly advanced level of hygiene standards, infectious disease prevention programmes and care.

“Getting the basics right is of utmost importance here. Disinfecting guests’ luggage, hotel vehicles, rooms and common areas, along with ensuring wearing of masks and ‘safe’ status in Arogya Setu app and thermal screening at entry gates, are some of the simplest and yet the most important steps towards making the guests feel safer,” says Sanjeev Nanda.

Discussing the financial aspects of running a hotel business in post-pandemic world, the Claridges CEO says that write downs are essential for business during the current fiscal. According to him, through a careful restructuring of operating costs, businesses in the hospitality sector can keep themselves afloat until the crisis is over.

“A great many overhead expenses can be reduced through sensible usage of technology and rationalizing of payroll costs. For example, wastage of water, power, heat, food and other resources can be minimized. Additionally, non-essential IT and capex expenses can be postponed in order to generate a positive impact on the cash flow,” he says.

According to Sanjeev Nanda, the hospitality sector needs to adapt to new strategies for bouncing back, since the pandemic has created blocks on the road ahead. Cash reserves, spending need and deferred payment plans for creditors’ need to be cautiously monitored and managed by businesses in order to avoid working capital infusion.

The Claridges Group CEO also recommends hotels to continue serving as quarantine facilities since this could help them avert a revenue crisis. “It is still a long way for the hospitality sector to return to the 2019 RevPAR levels. However, with calculated decisions and micro-management, businesses can survive this crisis,” says Sanjeev Nanda.