What Will Hospitality Look Like in a Post-Covid Ireland?

No one knew what 2020 would have in store for us. New Years always rings with an air of anticipation, of better things to come. Every company in every industry projects growth, and they all had high hopes for 2020. Fáilte Ireland expected a 2 – 3% growth of tourism in Ireland. It was expected to be lower in rural areas, as many small pubs were already closing because of insurance hikes, the ending of the 9% preferential VAT rates, which would hurt the bottom line. No one could have predicted back then what issues we, as a country, would face in 2020, nor how it would affect the tourism and hospitality industries. 

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What will hospitality look like in a post-Covid world? In a post-Covid Ireland? How will it affect how we holiday, where, and for how long? Coronavirus has impacted every aspect of our lives, and travel will be a major one, and when it recovers, culturally and socially it will not be the same as it once was. The focus will shift towards hygiene, health, risk assessment and keeping people safe. Hotels in the United States are already partnering with disinfectant brands, to try and assuage guests fears. We may no longer have spare hangers in hotels rooms, and clean sheets will be packaged and portioned for each room. There will be many changes worldwide, industry-wide and culturally. 

In an attempt to counter low tourism numbers, Fáilte Ireland launched a €6 million advertising campaign, promoting holidaying in Ireland this year. It encouraged people to holiday in Ireland, rather than abroad. People felt safer, as they wouldn’t be travelling through busy airports, sitting on airplanes, and possibly asked to self-isolate upon their return. Staycation in Ireland was a way to get a break from working from home, relax, and still be secure.

Tourism in Ireland is vitally important, as it supports rural areas, mostly outside Dublin, and many livelihoods depend on tourism coming to their area. 

“Domestic tourism, or holidays taken in the Republic by people from the Republic and from the North, is worth €2.4 billion to the State.” says the Irish Times. They also shared a statistic from a Fáilte Ireland report that states 56% of people say they will holiday at home. If that percentage rose to 58 per cent, the associated revenues would be boosted by about €96 million over three years.

Hotels, hostels and Bed & Breakfasts are among those reliant on tourism, and an increase in staycationers would ensure they remain afloat while we wait for things to get back to normal, and for international travel to resume as it once was. 

The tourism and hospitality industry in the Republic of Ireland employs up to 250,000 employees across all areas and earns  €6 billion for the Irish economy. The sector has rebounded strongly from the economic downturn, and research by Avvio shows Ireland ranks highest in searches for “Is it safe to travel to”. This shows us that tourists are eager to come to Ireland, once they feel it is safe to do so.

Hotels will have to be very conscious of any potential site for transmission, and preempt those to ensure the health and safety of their guests and staff. Introducing changes to how bedrooms are cleaned, what spare items are in each bedroom, booking into restaurants and more must all be considered and implemented. 

Change doesn’t come without challenge. Are Irish hotels ready for these changes? Are they prepared to ensure all their staff are prepared and trained in how to deal with large parties, with anxious guests, with those who don’t wish to follow the guidelines? Are hotels prepared to hire new staff for positions that were previously unnecessary, like dedicated staff in the lifts, or to ensure the pools, gyms or restaurants do not exceed capacity? Are they prepared for open buffet breakfasts to disappear?

It is an ever-changing landscape and all hoteliers must be prepared for these changes, what they mean for hiring and training of staff and how managers interact with staff. We at Sapphire Recruitment are eager to support hotels as they prepare, upskill and hire new staff to deal with this ever-evolving landscape and the new challenges that emerge with it. 

To find out how Sapphire Recruitment can help you, call us on 085-7072977 or email  info@sapphirerecruit.ie

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