#unopuntosiete: the voice of the hospitality sector to confront the coronavirus crisis2 April, 2020
Recipes of Michelin-starred chefs, now online4 April, 2020
Carme Ponsa is the Operations Manager of Hotel Tahiti Playa **** S, located in Santa Susanna, Coast of Barcelona (Spain). It has 447 rooms and 83 suites and, according to Ponsa, they could not imagine that “a few days before opening the hotel establishments” the crisis of the coronavirus would make them “suddenly change all the forecasted planning”. With her we talked about this situation and how they ask clients to trust the hospitality and tourism industry again once the pandemic is over.
As the Operations Manager, in the hotel complex where you work how have you dealt with the changes that the coronavirus crisis has brought?
The measures that have been adopted are focused on containing the virus: an economic, investment and staff containment. At the dates that we are, just a few days away from opening our hotels, we never imagined a global pandemic would suddenly change all our planning.
What has been the impact on an economic level?
Companies have had to readjust by introducing the ERTE (Temporary Dismissal programs) as the first regulatory measure, since they could not bear the structural costs of the workforce without having income. We are preparing for a tough and uncertain future.
The bookings for the month of April and some for the month of May have been cancelled by every issuing market, both national and international, and the booking forecasts to date are on hold. We cannot move forward and know how the markets will evolve because we have no end date for this pandemic, nor do we have an earlier case of such magnitude to guide us.
Reinvent yourself or die, they say.
To reinvent yourself or die? This will be marking a before and an after of this crisis. We’ve had little room for manoeuvre. At the gates of Easter, of opening the hotels, restaurants, shops… the coronavirus has paralyzed all tourist activity.
We are sure that in a medium or long term we will find new business options with a new mentality ready to respond to the concerns of the customer. Our sector is in continuous innovation and we must always find ways to stand out from the competition, based on quality, good service and experience.
“Perhaps the positive part of all this is the option of consuming more in the nearness, putting in value the national tourism offer and proximity”.
How do you prepare for the “aftermath”: what do you ask of public institutions, private bodies and what do you ask of the consumer/customer?
We ask public institutions to reduce the tax pressure to which we are subject, to open credit lines with zero interest, to defer, split and reduce municipal taxes and to seek economic measures that benefit the sector.
To private bodies, to be flexible with consumers, to allow the renegotiation of policies, credits, loans, mortgages… To customers, to put their trust in the hospitality and tourism industry again.
Looking ahead, this will help us to…
Right now it is too early to predict what will happen, but perhaps the positive side of all this is the option to consume more in the nearness, putting in value the national and local tourist offer.