Skip to content


How Hotels Are Adapting For The ‘New Normal’

Duetto’s CEO, David Woolenberg, hosted the first in a new webinar series called ‘One World, One Industry, One Conversation’ on May 27.

Available to watch On Demand, the discussion focuses on how hotels are adapting strategies, communicating with guests and altering their revenue tactics.

Taking part in the webinar are:

  • Ivan Kalinov, Group Director of Revenue Strategy, The Dedica Anthology
  • Jutta Moore, Managing Director, vMoore Consulting
  • Steven Gottlieb, Vice President Revenue Management & eCommerce, Graduate Hotels

Building Consumer Confidence

Ivan Kalinov shares how The Dedica Anthology is preparing its collection of eight hotels across Europe for reopening in June. The group has spent the last two months working on its recovery plans, which will see its hotels offering temperature checks for both guests and staff, providing an on-property doctor, testing staff for antibodies before they return to work, and swapping out breakfast buffets for room service.

“Right now everyone is brainstorming and putting their minds together to see what creative ways we can find to bring back that consumer confidence. Health and safety is becoming the main decision factor for choosing to stay in a property or not,” he says.

“The challenge is to understand how to communicate those changes to the customers and not sound like a commercial, but rather to come across as honest about it. We want the customer to feel safe to travel.”

In the US, Graduate Hotels is undergoing a similar set of processes, with an added focus on technology, such as keyless entry.

“None of us understand what the future holds as it relates to what it takes to make a customer feel safe and comfortable in our hotels,” says Gottlieb. “Being a small and nimble company we can tweak our strategies to what those needs are.”

Shifts In Segmentation

The panel discusses how the current COVID-19 crisis is different to other crises, and what previous strategies can be employed today?

Jutta Moore explains how the corporate market has possibly shifted exponentially, as companies realize they can achieve a lot with working online, impacting conference hotels. Similarly, she points to the same challenges impacting hotels built on wholesaler or tour operator business.

“We will see a massive shift in market segmentation,” she says.

Kalinov at The Dedica Anthology agrees. The luxury collection of European hotels is already seeing huge shifts in segmentation.

“Our focus is primarily on leisure and specifically on markets we haven’t even tapped into strongly, such as the domestic market and the staycation market. We are changing the way we are approaching our segments and looking in surgical detail at the data we have in order to try to understand patterns and evaluate,” he explains.

The reservations and revenue team at The Dedica Anthology is going through every booking to determine how likely they are to actually check-in to the hotel. For example, the team is looking at which flight paths are opening up to determine whether or not the guest can actually travel.

“We are contacting every customer within 24 hours of their booking. We explain the new health and safety protocols we are putting in place and get the human touch between us and that person,” he explains.

“We try to understand if there is a real intention to travel, such as finding out if they have booked their flight yet. We really need to find the pattern in order to be able to make solid commercial decisions to ensure that OTB is actually going to materialize.”

Graduate Hotels is also focusing on providing a personal touch.

“Really focusing on the guest and personalization as we strive to get through this and creating these relationships with our clients is going to be critical,” Gottlieb says.

Reopening For Business

In Europe many markets are now slowly starting to reopen. The Dedica Anthology is preparing to reopen its properties by mid-June.

“The key issue is that historical data is not really useful right now,” says Kalinov. “The biggest challenge is unpredictable demand patterns and changes in how customers behave.”

The Dedicate Anthology has removed all prepaid pricing products and is now only offering fully flexible rates.  

Jutta Moore works with hotels from across the world. In the UK there is talk of lifting restrictions in early July, and her consultancy is already seeing pick-up from mid-July.

“We are looking at niches of business that might be interested in staying in the future; identifying new source markets,” she says.

In the US, Gottlieb is hopefully his portfolio of hotels anchored in university towns will be able to re-open in time for the new academic year.

“Right now seeing encouraging demand for the move-in weeks in August, that’s very optimistic at this point,” he says.

In readiness for reopening, Gottlieb is focusing on his tech stack.

“Technology has always been such a key driver to understand what we are going through. How we evolve with partners such as Duetto, that gives us the opportunity to utilize data and help us with our decision-making, will only help us recover quicker.”

To watch the whole webinar On Demand, click here.


Back to Blog

Sarah McCay Tams, Director of Marketing Communications

Sarah joined Duetto in 2015 as a contributing editor covering Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA). In 2017, she was promoted to Director of Content, EMEA, and in 2022 promoted to Director of Marketing Communications. An experienced B2B travel industry journalist, Sarah spent 14 years working in the Middle East, most notably as senior editor – hospitality for ITP Publishing Group in Dubai, where she headed up the editorial teams on Hotelier Middle East, Caterer Middle East and Arabian Travel News. Sarah is now based back in the UK.

Horizontal Line