Naim Maadad on the path to recovery

The Gates Hospitality founder and chief executive talks about the shifts in consumer demand, the rise of technology and preparing for anything

Naim Maadad
Naim Maadad

COVID-19 has forced us to make a lot of changes. Will it permanently change our way of life? This is a million-dollar question.

As many countries around the world have almost succeeded to flatten the curve, the next task is to figure out how to revive the economy and start adjusting to the new norm. The reality of massive job losses means that people have less financial resources to spend on entertainment, leisure, tourism and restaurants.

The return of social confidence is a challenge which will be difficult to revive to pre-pandemic levels. Still, slowly but surely, this will happen too, just as living with the virus has become the new norm. 

As we attempt to enhance social confidence, simultaneous efforts need to focus on relaunching ways to boost the economy too. As local domestic air travel is being opened in countries, the internal tourism and airline industry will get the much-needed oxygen to help survive and get the energy to wake up related industries. 

As and when domestic tourism revives, the next step would be special arrangements between countries who have strong relationships. These green zone countries can enter into visa free travel for their respective citizens. The two-week period of quarantine at source and destination is not a sustainable solution. Hence special mutual agreements would need to be made to drive the the sector.

Did you like this story?
Click here for more

Another aspect would be to acknowledge the fact that there is a huge inventory of oversupply. This is the time to put a stop to all big investment plans and focus truly on awakening the existing business. The refurbishment of venues can be undertaken to welcome the guests when doors are open.

Grit, resolve and patience are needed for the road ahead. It will not be a quick fix. Every business needs to ensure that their clients feel reassured by the hygiene and sanitation standards put in place under the new normal. Technology and creative innovations would need to be explored to ensure the health and safety of all guests. And when the new normal does set in, the economy will slowly but steadily return to the recovery path. To do so, we must all unite. Now is not the time to fall back to the survival of the fittest. 

For countries like the U.S. and China, domestic travel will play a huge role during the recovery phase. It is vital for airlines, hotels, and tour operators to capture such a shift with enhanced agility, with very focused operational and marketing strategies.

The post pandemic period will witness a shift in consumer behaviour and lifestyle. It is forecasted that clients will be more cautious with their spending patterns. Expenditure on luxury, travel, hospitality, movies, fine dining, white goods and gadgets are seeing a drop. The recovery from this changed behaviours and spending pattern, is estimated to continue for a rest of this year. Still, experts predict that, in the last quarter of this year and into 2021, there will be a bounce back.

In the meantime, it's important to use this period wisely to reinvent and relearn new growth strategies for recovery. Needless to say that it is absolutely vital to stay connected with your clients during the pandemic period through the effective and innovative usage of social media, surveys, smart digital campaigns and even interesting online contests and quizzes.

It is necessary that you are always in your consumers minds and hearts, not just for financial gain, but also as a show of support during these challenging times. Maintaining strong lines of connection and communication is extremely important to maintaining a wide consumer base. People will always remember who stood with them during thick and thin and these are the people who will be there during re-launch and recovery.

About the author With more than 28 years of hospitality experience globally, Naim Maadad is the founding CEO of Gates Hospitality, which owns and operates Ultra Brasserie, Bistro des Arts, Reform Social & Grill, Publique and Folly by Nick & Scott. The company also has ownership of Six Senses Zighy Bay.

For all the latest hospitality news from UAE, Gulf countries and around the world, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page.

Most Popular

Newsletter

Reports

Human Capital Report 2017

Human Capital Report 2017

The second annual Hotelier Middle East Human Capital Report is designed to explore the issues, challenges and opportunities facing hospitality professionals responsible for the hotel industry’s most important asset – its people. The report combines the results of Hotelier Middle East's HR Leaders Survey with exclusive interviews with the region's senior human resources directors.

Hotelier Middle East Housekeeping Report 2016

Hotelier Middle East Housekeeping Report 2016

The Hotelier Middle East Housekeeping Report 2016 provides essential business insight into this critical hotel function, revealing a gradual move towards the use of automated management and a commitment to sustainability, concerns over recruitment, retention and staff outsourcing, and the potential to deliver much more, if only the industry's "image problem" can be reversed.

From the edition

From the magazine