Claire Barrie heads up the Vice President of Sales at Synergy Global Housing. Based in London, Barrie oversees sales throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, and generates new clients and sectors, as well as leading her own team to nurture relationships with global clientele.
What are some of the changes you are seeing about length of stay, safety & security following the COVID pandemic?
Sanitisation measures are table stakes, but the real question is how are suppliers seeking to measure and report on these required standards across their own properties and in supply chain to ensure compliance. Comprehensive and enduring standards to ensure that we are providing a safe environment for guests and staff alike.
In addition, the consideration for environmental measures is still paramount and therefore how are we balancing the two e.g. towels packaged in plastic for cleanliness guarantee, is detrimental to the environment
• Over 60% of travel buyers expect accommodation suppliers to provide hand sanitisation and masks
• The ability for travellers to choose personalised check-ins through technology • Over 70% of buyers will not permit travel to countries where quarantine exists
• LOS impact is yet to be seen however many companies are requesting that traveller reconsider for one night trips, and that these meetings remain virtual.
What are the minimum expectations you are finding your clients are seeking from hotels to provide certainty around cleanliness and hygiene?
Health & Safety measures are a minimum requirement. I would anticipate and hope that all suppliers have additional new measures in place. The Association of Serviced Apartment Providers is trying to standardise minimum standards within the sector.
As we see restrictions relax and the ability to travel commence, there remains hesitancy with travellers due to personal risk, what is the opportunity for hotels and airlines to boost traveller confidence?
At the moment, the focus is mobilising the work force and managing return to the office. The biggest challenge is the use of public transport which is causing the most anxiety. This is the key reason that companies are delaying return to office, even with the most stringent office onsite, social distancing measures.
Building traveller confidence comes in many forms, but the most important is:
1. Communication of WHO and government updates and how these are interpreted into the workplace across policy.
2. Employee and Stakeholder Surveys. Many companies are conducting ongoing surveys to gauge employee comfort levels and appetite to travel and to return to the office.
3. Supplier Measures. A close monitoring of supplier education which can be shared with internally and externally
4. Policy amendments. As a first step only business critical travel will be permitted.
5. Quarantine restrictions. Almost 80% of companies would not permit travellers to country who have quarantine measures.
6. Financial stability, reputation and brand strength
7. Traveller wellbeing will have a greater significance, with more poignance than ever before
What do you foresee this will look
like in 5 years as an industry?
5 years is a very long time at this point – perhaps I could say the next 12 months. I think it will be a tough road to recovery. IATAs estimated a loss of US314bn in passenger revenue loss due to Covid in 2020 (55% decline on 2019). Airline reduced capacity, low load factors & airline refunds, future increase in oil price. 2021 will see a significant rise in airline costs. This is particularly difficult for low-cost airlines who rely on full flight capacity.