After the onset of the pandemic, there was a gradual shift toward catering to domestic visitors and what they desire
By Akhil Anand
Two years ago, the COVID-19 pandemic came in like a storm and nothing has been the same since. The hospitality and tourism industry of India, along with everyone else, was compelled to rethink, restructure and rebrand and adapt to a new normal to ensure survival. With widespread and unending travel restrictions and a looming fear of safety and health concerns, the hospitality and tourism industry had to come back stronger than ever before.
A country as culturally rich and diverse as ours saw a considerable amount of tourist influx every year. A major chunk of hotels and resorts banked on these inbound tourists and had messaging that catered to them. After the onset of the pandemic, however, this changed. There was a gradual shift towards catering to domestic visitors and what they desire. For domestic tourists, a property that truly channels and reflects its location’s essence in its decor, setting and food stands out more than a generic modern aesthetic. They look for a safe, serene space where they can immerse themselves in the region’s culture and also have solitude simultaneously.
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Another major change brought by the pandemic in the hospitality industry was the inclination towards sustainable and environmentally-conscious practices. The masses are now more aware of the consequences of human behavior on the present and future of the planet as well as our future generations. This collective awakening has led to consumers looking at companies and their values and practices with a thorough lens. The hospitality industry is an influential industry in terms of its impact. Properties must revisit their protocols and establish new ones to clean up their footprint. An organization that cares about the planet and its inhabitants and knows how to communicate that effectively is one that stands out and establishes credibility.
Travel will always be an indispensable part of society, however, there is now an incredible amount of research that goes into its planning. To make it through the planning stage and emerge as the choice of tourists, companies need to stay one step ahead of the tourists’ demands and have seamless operations in place. Most reputed hotels and resorts understand the mindset of the consumers and equips its properties with everything essential to ensure the guests’ safety, comfort and serenity. All of their properties pan-India, tap into the essence of the location and are modelled to seamlessly blend into it. They have the highest measures of safety and sanitation in place and provide ample space and experiences for guests to be engulfed in the trenches of nature and solitude.
Owing to COVID-19, the world as we know it will never be the same as before. We are living in a new normal and to thrive moving forward is to understand what the consumers are looking for and figure out the best possible way to offer that.
(The author is Director, Tree of Life Resorts and Hotels, India.)