🍍Lessons from opening a hotel during the pandemic

Plus: Kimpton’s low-cost way to build brand awareness over the holidays

Today we’re looking at:

  • What one general manager learned from opening a hotel

  • Kimpton’s low-cost way to build brand awareness over the holidays

  • Tracking progress on giving back

  • The SNL skit on what not to provide your guests

Lessons from opening a hotel during the pandemic

When news began to spread about the upcoming launch of Meliá Chiang Mai, the first five-star hotel to open in Thailand since the onset of the pandemic, the response was generally one of surprise if not outright pessimism, general manager Edward Snoeks shared.

"It’s a grim time to run a hotel, much less open a new one." "Why, of all times, open a new hotel now?"

Despite the arched eyebrows, there’s a list of compelling reasons behind this new 260-key urban hotel’s opening, and there are lessons to be learned that can be implemented in properties big and small, old and new.

Taking a glass-half-full approach affords management teams a unique opportunity to fine-tune operations before large numbers of travelers return. Despite all the research that’s conducted before a hotel opens or a new service is added, there are always things we expect to appeal to guests that don’t and vice versa.

For example, it’s much more difficult to improve your culinary landscape and wellness offerings when you’re tied up with the demands of the hotel’s daily operations. Based on what a hotel initially learns about its guests’ preferences, management can better focus on scrutinizing and improving the guest experience relatively quickly wherever possible.

The bigger picture is that the economy will rebound and business as usual will return. The pandemic has lasted a long time and there’s a lot of pent-up demand for travel. Will you be ready?

There’s no playbook for launching a hotel, or even operating an existing one, amid a pandemic. We’re all writing this story ourselves as we go, all the while thinking about how we’ll put it all into action. As the old adage goes, fortune favors the brave.

Kimpton’s holiday gift guide

Curating gift ideas for other travelers is a great way to build brand awareness. Doing it with influencers? Even better.

Tracking giving

I’d like to see more charts like this of hospitality companies giving back:

Anti-inspiration

Finally, some inspiration on what not to provide your guests: