Survey: Half of webinar attendees plan to keep hotels open despite pandemic

Analytics firm Knowland also advises a focus on the local market for recovery

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A live poll of 700 webinar attendees by analytics firm Knowland found half had a “stay the course” attitude and planned to keep their hotels open despite the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Webinar attendees were advised to train their sales team and focus on the local market in preparation for coming back after the crisis.

DESPITE THE SUDDEN hardships foisted upon them, some hoteliers remain optimistic that they will survive the COVID-19 pandemic with their businesses intact, according to a live poll conducted by analytics firm Knowland during a recent webinar. The recent passing of the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus AID, Relief, & Economic Security Act has survey respondents planning on keeping their hotels open.

Of the 700 hoteliers who responded to the survey during Knowland’s “COVID-19 Preparing Today for Success Tomorrow” webinar on March 25, 50 percent said they planned to keep their hotels open despite 70 percent saying 75 percent of their reservations had been cancelled. That “stay the course” outlook is the product of the CARES Act, said Robert Post, Knowland’s CEO.

“Today we are in the middle of a crisis unlike anything we have seen in the past. While we may have a tendency to panic, now is a time to plan and prepare. In light of the economic evaporation of our business, closing the hotel makes the most sense to some,” Post said. “However, with the upcoming CARES Act, there is hope on the horizon that there will be lower cost loans by property that will allow hotels to reduce the impact of the furloughs and keep hotels open and able to prospect for business. Now is the time to help sales teams better manage warm ‘relationship-building’ calls out to their local markets. Customers will absolutely remember how you approach them during this time because at the end of the day, thoughtful communication will win the day.”

At the same time, 23 percent of the webinar attendees said closing their hotels was under consideration.

During the webinar, Kristi White, Knowland’s vice president of product management, told participants to encourage their sales team to reach out with compassion and assistance rather than a focus on making the sale. The survey also found that 50 percent had marketed their hotels toward local businesses this year, up from 38 percent last year.

Those local customers, including corporate, government and local catering business, will come back first, according to Knowland.

In February, the 2020 Annual Global Rescue Travel Safety Survey by travel risk and crisis response provider Global Rescue found 85 percent of respondents had concerns over travel safety.