As the marketplace turns its focus to the COVID-19 Delta variant, service and hospitality are once again exercising resilience.
After COVID’s original strain forced hotels, restaurants, and casinos to adjust to new restrictions and regulations, including lockdowns and less staff, these industries are now that much more equipped.
They’re applying knowledge gained from the pandemic’s onset to continue to drive profits despite Delta.
This spring, we saw flights at record levels. The airline industry reported over 1,000,000 flyers weekly amidst vaccine rollouts and easing restrictions.
Hospitality took measures to reopen intelligently. World-wide casinos, hotels, and restaurants re-thought operations to integrate increased safety and sustain productivity.
One such measure: optimizing staff by implementing automation and robotics.
“The automation we applied to our accounting operations prior to the pandemic was a game changer as we managed the new norm brought on by the original strain of COVID-19,” Director of Finance for a California-based luxury hotel property, Danette Perrotta, said.
This automation was applied to a wide array of accounting practices.
“Managing cash counting, cash reconciliation, and tip and gratuity distribution with automation and robotics allowed the property to fully function amidst low staff levels.” Perrotta explained.
Particularly with remaining hope on the horizon (after all some experts report that restaurant consumer spending is up and so too hotel bookings), taking advantage of these current positive trends is nothing short of smart.
Delta made its original appearance in 2020, yet hotel bookings continued to trend up through the end of July 2021. STR reports that bookings remain consistent with pre-pandemic 2019 levels.
According to STR, the U.S. hotel industry reported all-time monthly highs in average daily rate (ADR) and revenue per available room (RevPAR). This is based on July 2021 data.
Further, hotel occupancy recently reached a record rate. And that’s not just in the U.S.
In fact, some areas saw their highest occupancy rate since 2019. And despite Delta, experts expect Norfolk and Miami to beat their 2019 RevPAR.
Leaders within the casino industry say they’ve seen no negative impact. Cancellations are non-existent for Mohegan Sun.
Additionally, typically travel begins to fade as August progresses. Then, the market sees an uptick in travel during Labor Day Weekend.
“This is a vital period for hotels as they begin to emerge to a more secure financial position following a period of shutdowns and minimized capacity,” Perrotta said.
Hiring continues to slow, particularly in the service sector. The number of hospitality workers dropped 35%.
As a result, even with hotels, casinos, and restaurants continued hiring attempts, automation will remain key to optimizing operations – including accounting operations.
From a stock market perspective, travel, leisure, and hospitality combined reported over 12% growth compared to last year. Hotel brands continue to make investments to best weather shifting trends.
For example, Hyatt just acquired leisure brand Apple Leisure Group. With less business travel likely in the future, Hyatt recognizes the value of investing in more leisure travel.
Similarly, investments in automation better help hotels with marketplace shifts by making them more proactive and less dependent on manual inefficiencies.
“Automating accounting can help hospitality by not only enhancing operations generally as the industry navigates the unknowns of the Delta variant’s impact, but also offer a cost-effective solution for managing cash, distributing gratuity payroll, reconciling credit card transactions, and billing groups,” Perrotta said.
So, as the Delta variant continues to spread, through automation and robotics, hospitality can continue to function effectively.