In an exclusive with Today's Traveller, Nikhil Sharma, Area Director - Eurasia, Wyndham Hotels and Resorts shares, "Our industry is extremely resilient and although the impact of COVID19 will likely be felt for some time, we feel optimistic and confident that the hospitality industry will eventually recover. Our key priority in this new era is to ensure our guests feel confident to travel once again and that their health, safety and well-being is being put first."
He speaks on wide-ranging issues from Wyndhams Count on Us campaign to contact-free technology.
TT Bureau: How different is the impact of Covid19 in different countries under your watch?
Nikhil Sharma: The effects of COVID19 has varied for countries around the world, making it difficult to pinpoint the exact impact it will have in the long-term. Our industry is extremely resilient and although the impact of COVID19 will likely be felt for some time, we feel optimistic and confident that the hospitality industry will eventually recover. Our key priority in this new era is to ensure our guests feel confident to travel once again and that their health, safety and well-being is being put first.
TT Bureau: What kind of business strategies to regain market share will you be looking at? Will these be different for specific hotel products and locations? Can you give some examples?
Nikhil Sharma: Wyndham Hotels and Resorts throughout this challenging time has been and will continue to be the safety, health and well-being of our guests, partners and team.
To show our commitment to this, we’ve recently implemented our “Count On Us” initiative, which focuses on further enhancing our broad range of health and safety protocols across properties in the EMEA region. This includes the consistent use of top-of-the-range disinfectants at all hotels, the introduction of robust new training and guidelines, and on-going access to critical health essentials through trusted suppliers.
We will be leveraging our long-standing relationship with Ecolab to ensure consistent use of industry-leading disinfectants across all EMEA hotels, including rooms and public spaces. This initiative is part of our long-term efforts to build confidence among guests and to support Wyndham hotel partners as they prepare to welcome back guests.
We will continue to monitor each region closely and implement guidelines, business practices and initiatives that will help us to regain market share and ultimately help our partners welcome guests back to their properties across the region.
TT Bureau: Will the post-Corona era see a major shift in new technology in customer interface? What kind of technologies are likely to be adopted?
Nikhil Sharma: It’s difficult to say what the exact shift will look like but overall a growing trend is the uptick in contact-free technologies, enhanced safety and hygiene measures, along with the implementation of social distancing guidelines to protect health and safety.
TT Bureau: Will the new standards to ensure Covid-free offerings for guest safety add further stress to hotel bottom lines?
Nikhil Sharma: The safety and well-being of guests is our number one priority and we are working diligently to ensure that new hygiene measures being implemented are in the best interest of our hotel partners, keeping operational costs top-of-mind. Leveraging relationship with preferred third-party suppliers and higher scale can ultimately help deliver efficiency.
TT Bureau: What kind of recovery period are we looking at when we use the word Revival for the hospitality industry?
Nikhil Sharma: As each region is on such varying trajectories, it’s difficult to know what an exact recovery period will look like. There is likely be demand for domestic leisure travel once hotels re-open, followed by domestic business travel.
Once air travel restrictions and numerous government guidelines begin to ease or change, we will likely see the gradual return of international travellers both for business and leisure. This industry is resilient and we look forward to welcoming guests back to our hotels when the time is right.