How Covid-19 Reshaped Trends in The Hospitality Industry

The Covid-19 pandemic is unlike anything ever seen in modern times. Economies around the world buckled, and businesses faced unpredictable futures. Industries rebuilding are remaking themselves to survive a new post-pandemic reality. For the hospitality industry, success is dependent on exceptional customer service and human interaction. Consequently, businesses are trying to adapt to consumer fears, vaccine mandates, and health and safety ordinances. The shift in priorities has led to hospitality trends that will impact hospitality far beyond the coronavirus.

Smarter Is Better

QR Code Check-In
Touch-Free, QR Code Check-In

The hospital industry has long relied on technology to simplify its operations. Key card and keyless hotel locks have been staples in the hotel industry for over a decade. Mobile check-in has become a standard in most hotel operations internationally since its introduction in 2013. To further ease solo and business travelers anxieties and adhere to social distancing guidelines, hotels have leaned into contactless guest experiences by integrating more technology. 

Smart hotel rooms are optimized to work in tandem with smartphones — and mobile apps allow guests to take advantage of amenities and services without interacting with staff. Apps enable visitors to make reservations, put down deposits, check-in to their rooms, use touch-free digital menu systems to order room service, and pay for services right from their phones. Digital wallet platforms like Google Pay and Apple Pay have increased contactless payment options, making the check out process quicker and more efficient.

In some regions, visitors can even scan QR codes to launch virtual TV remote controls. Hotel staff can access guest folios for service bills and automate maintenance orders easily through the same apps. In addition, concierges and front desk attendants can address guest questions and concerns via chat features. Housekeeping has also been aided by the technology boost with robotic cleaners and electrostatic sprayers to sanitize rooms after check-out. 

Digital wallet platforms like Google Pay and Apple Pay have increased contactless payment options, making the check out process quicker and more efficient. In some regions, visitors can even scan QR codes to launch virtual TV remote controls.

Technological upgrades come with a cost-benefit for management as well. Apps help with client retention because marketing can track data and engage consumers through in-app messaging and push notifications. Technology in rooms such as motion detectors or thermal sensors for lighting and water are eco-friendly and lower energy expenditure. 

Customer Service & Transparency

Masked flight attendant cleaning plane
Masked Flight Attendant

The hotel and travel industries have had to tweak their marketing strategies. In 2020, global revenue from the travel and tourism industry dropped over 40%. The drop from $685.06 billion in 2019 to $396.37 billion was partially due to travel restrictions. However, consumer concerns also played a significant role. During the height of the pandemic in the summer of 2020, 65% of surveyed travelers reported that they would only fly if airports could assure them of cleanliness and adherence to health protocols. 

The Marriott Bonvoy app and rewards program launched a Commitment to Clean digital content page by detailing their new practices to ensure health and safety. Hilton Hotels and Resorts have introduced a similar page with EventReady with CleanStay, highlighting a disinfection protocol sponsored by cleaning brand Lysol. As global travel resumes, it’s now common practice for hotels, airports, resorts, and other travel destinations to showcase their hygiene practices through marketing.  

In the food and beverage industry, restaurants dealt with closures and strict indoor eating guidelines. In 2010, unemployment in the foodservice industry was at its highest in 10 years. Customers are returning gradually, but the same questions of hygiene exist. As a result, restaurant managers are rolling out new safety and sanitation procedures and trying to communicate these protocols to customers as much as possible during their dining experiences. 

In the food and beverage industry, restaurants dealt with closures and strict indoor eating guidelines. In 2010, unemployment in the foodservice industry was at its highest in 10 years. Customers are returning gradually, but the same questions of hygiene exist.

Hospitality businesses have upgraded their overall approach to customer service. With guest safety as the highest priority, communication has become paramount to gaining consumer trust. Hotels and resorts have adopted pre-visit emails that outline instructions related to Covid-19. These communications relay any operative or systemic changes to returning customers. In addition, some companies have used pre-visit emails to detail the pandemic’s impact on their business. Therefore, clients better understand the precautions they are taking.

Virtual Reality and Outdoor Entertainment

Virtual Yoga
Virtual Yoga

It’s no secret that businesses across all industries have turned to the internet to facilitate as much normalcy as possible. Zoom meetings have replaced conference rooms, and service workers count on virtual tip jars to make ends meet. Several towns and cities launched virtual restaurant weeks to increase customer traffic via delivery and takeout in response to local businesses struggling to remain afloat. 

Hospitality companies also explored online events to boost business. Bars and restaurants threw virtual cooking and cocktail-making classes. Gyms offered online exercise classes and yoga online. Spas held self-care video sessions guided by estheticians. Although some consumers are returning to in-person health and wellness programs, the success of virtual initiatives and the convenience from home suggest businesses will continue to offer hybrid options.

The events industry was worth $1,135.4 billion globally in 2019 and is expected to grow even with the pandemic, as projections suggest the sector could be valued at $1,552.9 billion by 2028.

The events industry was worth $1,135.4 billion globally in 2019 and is expected to grow even with the pandemic, as projections suggest the sector could be valued at $1,552.9 billion by 2028. The most popular events booked at hotels, resorts, and arenas include conferences, corporate events and seminars, fundraisers, music festivals, sports events, and product launches. Corporations moved events to virtual venues in 2020 and early 2021. 93% of event marketers planning to invest in virtual events moving forward. It appears virtual will remain a prominent factor for business into the foreseeable future.

Other industry trends will emerge and impact hospitality down the line, but the pandemic has been an all-consuming force. Consumer behavior will predicate where the industry goes. Businesses that can cultivate and sustain a high trust level with customers will be the most successful. At any rate, health and safety will be the most critical trend influencing decision-makers as the hospitality industry recovers from the devastating impacts of Covid-19.

For more information on the evolution of the hospitality industry and explore its careers, check out Yellowbrick’s Ultimate Hospitality and Touring Career Guide.

7 Hospitality Jobs If You’re Just Getting Started

Hospitality comprises five sectors: food and beverages, lodging, recreation, travel and tourism, and event management. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the hospitality industry saw a drop in revenue, but the market is expected to recover. 

The global hotel and resort market is forecasted to hit $1.22 trillion in 2021, a slight increase from pre-Covid revenue of $1.21 trillion in 2019. Leisure travel was worth $2.37 trillion in 2020, with an increase expected in 2021. Moreover, the global food and beverage industry had a value of $5.94 billion in 2019 that’s expected to grow to $7.52 billion by 2023.

The market is picking back up and hospitality businesses are attempting to return to normal. As a result, hospitality jobs are opening up across the market. Hospitality places more importance on experience and less value on having a bachelor’s degree or other advanced education, so career development is more accessible. Here are a few hospitality jobs to kick off your career journey in the industry.


Bartenders are members of the service industry that work in casinos, clubs, hotels, restaurants, taverns, and other places where food and beverages are served. They prepare and serve alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks to customers, either directly or through waiting staff. Depending on the type of establishment, bartenders might have other tasks such as taking food orders or keeping track of inventory.

Hospitality Jobs, Bartender

Possible Career Paths: Long-term career goals for Bartenders can include bar owner, general manager, and food and beverage director at a hotel, catering service, or hospital. 

Catering Assistant

The professional service of preparing and serving food at an event or gathering at a remote site is known as catering. These assistants typically prepare meal ingredients, load and unload food off of catering vehicles, set up food stations, clean work areas, and handle orders and billing. They also work on-site alongside catering managers and are often the first contact between potential customers and the company.

Catering Assistant, hospitality jobs
Catering Assistant

Possible Career Paths: A Catering Assistant acquires a combination of experience in food preparation, guest experience, and administrative work. They can also pursue more senior positions as a hospitality manager or a restaurant manager.


A concierge works in a hotel and assists guests by providing recommendations for entertainment and organizing those accommodations. In addition, they make reservations for restaurants, travel arrangements, procure tickets for events, and set up sight-seeing tours. Because they are a client-facing position, a concierge needs to have exceptional customer service skills. A concierge may also work as a front desk attendant.

Concierge, Hospitality Jobs

Possible Career Paths: After developing experience as a Concierge, you could pursue several management positions. Some jobs include front desk manager and hotel general manager.

Cruise Ship Lifeguard

A lifeguard on a cruise may sound like a niche hospitality job, but the cruise industry generated $6.6 billion in revenue in 2021 despite the impact of Covid-19. The market is expected to bounce back, with revenue projected to increase to $34.1 billion by 2025. 

Cruise Ship Lifeguards patrol marine recreational areas to enforce safety protocols. They also rescue guests in danger of drowning, administer first aid and CPR, report and follow up with incidents, and open and close any marine recreational areas. 

Cruise Ship Lifeguard, hospitality
Docked Cruise Ship

Possible Career Paths: A job as a Cruise Ship Lifeguard usually only requires a high school diploma and lifeguard certification. Hence, it’s a chance to gain a unique perspective of what it’s like to work at sea if you’re considering enrolling in maritime school or pursuing certification for a higher-level job with a cruise line.

Event Coordinator

Event management is one of the pillars of the hospitality industry. Types of events can include weddings, business meetings, celebration dinners, sporting events, and fundraisers. Event Coordinators work under event managers and assist in planning every aspect of the planning of the occasion. For example, they may help in venue selection, invoicing, arranging vendor services, and communicating with clients.

Event Coordinator
Coordinators at an event

Possible Career Paths: An Event Coordinator with years of experience can successfully transition to a management career like an event manager or a senior event planner. 


A host is essentially the face of the restaurant. Because of this, they are the first impression the customer gets as they greet and welcome patrons into the restaurant. Hosts manage reservations, escort customers to dining or bar areas. They also coordinate with wait staff and ensure patrons have an enjoyable experience throughout their dining experience. 


Possible Career Paths: Hosts gain valuable experience coordinating between the front of the house and the kitchen. As a result, they get in-depth knowledge of restaurant logistics and can apply those skills to a role in restaurant management.

Hotel Clerk

Clerks coordinate room reservations, greet hotel or lodging guests at arrival, and check them into their rooms. Hotel clerks must maintain knowledge of room rates and housekeeping schedules to coordinate room availability. They also provide customer service to guests during their stay and complete check out when they depart.

Hotel Clerk
Hotel Reception Area

Possible Career Paths: Hotel Clerks interact and work with all members of the hotel staff. They can apply their experience and knowledge of the different facets of running a hotel to pursue a career as a front desk manager, housekeeping manager, hotel general manager.

For more information on the industry and about more hospitality jobs, check out our Hospitality Career Library.

Destination Marketing and Placemaking: Hotels And How They Market

The hotel company Marriott is a global leader with 29 brands, 6,800 locations in 150 countries, and various lifestyle brands. They also have an element, which is an extended stay. They have Aloft, a sort of an innovator in this space for Gen X and millennials. Then they have Moxy, which is probably targeting Generation Z, which will be a customer group in the future. So those are the brands. And then they also have AC Hotel, which is a company they bought. It’s a European Spanish company. And that profile, sort of a Spanish lifestyle with tapas and other Spanish cuisines in New York City. How Does the Consumer Differentiate These Brands? And having 29 brands, it’s a challenge because of consumer demand- the same consumer might be a business traveler during the week and leave a traveler during the weekend. The brands need to position themselves very clearly in the marketplace. The challenge is that the same customer can use the brand for different purposes. Luxury Within Mariott’s luxury category, there are two subsets. St. Regis and Ritz Carlton fall in the classic luxury subset. They also have distinctive luxury, which is the joint venture between Bill Marriott and Ian Schrager. Ian Schrager is an innovator in the 1980s after Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton created the first boutique hotel in San Francisco with the theme. And then Ian Schrager and his partner, Steve Rubell, who founded Studio 54, got stuck with the hotel. That’s how that segment started to evolve. Ian talks about host boutique hotels, which are also called lifestyle hotels. So what makes them different? The consumer who considers a lifestyle brand has a solid affinity for it because it is part of their lifestyle. Lifestyle Brands Lifestyle brands emulate the customer’s life versus traditional brands that offer a standard fare. A customer seeking a New York City experience may choose two hotels, where they’ll stay for, say, seven days. The hotels they pick will be ones that really cater to their needs and desires.

Destination Marketing and Placemaking: Module Overview

Dr. Jukka Laitamaki is a clinical professor at New York University SBS Jonathan M. Tisch Center for Hospitality. His background is management consulting and he holds a doctorate from Cornell Hotel School. His expertise is in strategy, branding, and business development. With his background in management consulting, Dr. Laitamaki was with McKinsey and Company and Service Management Group, and worked in the hospitality industry in several sectors in Europe and the United States. As a professor, he has taught in all six continents in executive programs. An avid world explorer, Dr. Laitamaki has traveled to a total of 63 countries. He has also spoken at the United Nations. His most recent research is on sustainable tourism and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage sites. He has focused on Cuba which has 11 sites and four historic city centers. Sustainable development, especially in tourism hospitality, is very important to Dr. Laitamaki. The principle that we should leave this planet in a better condition than we received it for the future generation is important. UNESCO does wonderful work in preserving many historic, cultural, and natural sites. Sustainability in the hotel sector is also important because it saves energy. More consumers, especially millennials, are looking for environmentally conscious companies. Companies like Marriott, for instance, has a brand called Element, which is an extended stay brand. Element is very energy efficient and uses recycled materials for their buildings from floor to ceiling. With this online hospitality education course you will learn about the tourism industry. You will learn about global destinations as well as a lot about New York City. Why do consumers come here? You will learn about hotels and how consumers choose hotels, cruises, and car rental services. You will learn about this growing industry and how it’s transforming.

Destination Marketing and Placemaking: Success Criteria for Hotels

How do you know what makes a great hotel? Well, consumers can use TripAdvisor. They can look at consumer reports. And they can find out what the most preferred brands are. If you look at the JD Power list, you’ll see all the best hotel companies. These comparison companies use specific criteria to rank hotels. Often it is based on the service, location, loyalty program, and facilities provided. But there could also be other criteria considered. Think about restaurant ranking lists. For instance, the Zagat survey is a respected publication that ranks and rates restaurants. They look at the food service and decor. And they use a zero-to-five-point scale. Bernardin and other New York restaurants usually top global restaurant rankings. So, these are just some of the ways to set a benchmark and make your restaurant or hotel successful. Similarly, you can use a list like the 6A to help make your destination successful globally. To understand what makes a hotel successful, you need to follow and understand your customer’s journey. Firstly, they dream about staying in a destination and hotel. Then they do their research. Following this, they choose the hotel, make the reservation, travel to the hotel, check-in, stay and check out. Finally, the hotel keeps in touch with them by asking them to review their stay and persuade them to sign up for their loyalty program. During their stay, the room experience is essential. Rooms don’t have to be big to be good. A small room can have efficient service. If you are in a luxury hotel, the room has more amenities. So, again, the room is important. As is the food and beverage service. What services does the hotel provide? Remember, overall service quality is also critical. Administrative processes are also vital to making your hotel successful. The check-in process, the check-out process, and overall customer satisfaction. Not to mention the cost and the fees. How much do you pay for a hotel? Because above all else, it’s always about value for money. Yes, people in New York City pay over $1,000 for a room at the Mandarin Oriental, Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton, St. Regis, or Peninsula. And that’s because they offer value for the price, and they feel it’s a reasonable, fair rate. However, in comparison, at independent hotels like Moxy and Lifestyle hotels, people may pay $200-300 for a night’s stay. So you’re likely not expecting as much. However, it is still good value for money as although what you get in those hotels is less than the more expensive hotels above, it’s relatively competitive for the rate you pay. When you consider all the criteria above, you will understand precisely what it takes to have a successful hotel that people want to stay at.

Destination Marketing and Placemaking: The Six A’s of Destination Marketing

New York City competes against Paris and London. These are all known cities. But if you want to start a tourism destination, there are six things that need to happen. I have developed this framework called the Six As. The first is awareness. You need to build it. How do you do that? You may want to have some world-class events taking place in your destination. For instance, Finland organizes crazy competitions like marsh football. Teams play football in a marsh and then in a swamp. They also organize a wife-carrying competition. You carry your wife, and you have to be legally wedded. In addition, they organize throwing cell phones and rubber boards, which gets the country publicity — global publicity. So, that would be one of many ways to create buzz and awareness. Then, you need attractions. New York City has an amazing set of attractions, from Central Park to museums. Then, you need activities. In New York, you have a fashion week, a lot of trade shows, and the New York City Marathon. So these are world-class activities, that also bring awareness to the destination. More often than not, they’re the reason to visit New York City. Out of those attractions and activities, you can form associations or consumer forums associations, which is basically their perception of the destination. When you hear the word New York City, what comes to mind? It could be the New York City Marathon; it could be some of the movies (e.g., When Harry Met Sally). So, New York City is a place for movie making, which helps put the destination on the map. And there are actual tours; people go around New York City to hunt down the places where the movies were made. That’s a great way to create associations. Then, you need access. Access is, especially for international tourists, the flights. How many direct flights from your home country come to JFK or Newark? And then how do you get to the hotel? How is ground transportation organized? In this case, airports — like LaGuardia — are behind the many international airports. But they are investing in this. So, we need to have very good access from the airport to the city and back. Finally, it’s affordability. That’s the A number six. How much does it cost? I benchmarked places like Arctic destinations in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Greenland, and Alaska. I measured all these items, including affordability. Of course, you take a perspective. In my case, I studied a tourist from New York City who wants to go on an arctic holiday. The most competitive was Iceland. Alaska was the most known. But when it came to activities and attractions, Finland offered the best. So, this is the way to do it. You can calculate the actual cost using search engines like Kayak, which gives you the airfares and four-star hotel rates. I did one about jazz festivals around the world. You have to factor in how much it costs for five days to attend a jazz festival in Havana, Montreal. These are the necessary things. In summary, the six A’s you need are awareness, attractions, activities, associations, access, and affordability.

Alternative Accommodations: Home-sharing Services Impact on The Hotel Industry

Hotels have begun to view the home-sharing industry as an alternative and a competitor. They’re also making sure guests know many of the desirable hotel amenities. Security, housekeeping, and round-the-clock service are not available at many home-sharing services. Hotels offer a wide range of services. They also employ a large number of people. Home-sharing services began as a fee-based online matchmaking service for tourists seeking lodging. A local host with a spare bedroom or apartment wanted to rent it out for a few dollars. Airbnb can scale extremely quickly because it doesn’t need a lot of host-owned and managed real estate. Home-sharing doesn’t need a massive network of housekeeping, maintenance, sales, and marketing services. Airbnb has grown to be larger than many hotel companies. This is due to the number of units available and the number of guests they can accommodate. When you consider the hotel industry from the perspective of ownership, corporations like LaSalle and Sunstone aim to buy hotel assets, have them properly operated, and profit from them. In contrast, an apartment owner might list a unit on Airbnb or a similar service to rent for a night. Yet, that individual is unlikely to buy a property to turn it into an Airbnb investment. A hotel ownership company wants to create an attractive real estate return. An Airbnb host usually wants to reduce part of their monthly ownership expenditures. There was no incentive to earn a real estate return like there is in the hotel investment market. This trait alone aided the expansion of the house-sharing companies.

Building A Successful Business: Case Study: AirBNB

Everyone knows Airbnb. Founded in a one-bedroom San Francisco apartment, Airbnb is now valued at more than $22 billion. The great opportunity for a hotel alternative was recognized by the Airbnb founders when they realized that San Francisco needed more hotel rooms. With insufficient availability, the founders believed that alternative accommodations should be available for anyone travelling, whether for business or for leisure. The founders thought “Wouldn’t it be nice if people shared their homes with travelers? Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a platform, or a marketplace, for renters and travellers to meet?”. With these questions, Airbnb was born. The founders started by creating a basic platform where people could post their couch or bedroom for rent to travellers coming to San Francisco at a busy time. They created a value proposition of alternative accommodations that were not only easy to book but also much cheaper than hotels. Over time, the experiential aspect was added with the notion of living like locals, staying with locals, and meeting locals. It was this experiential aspect that really helped Airbnb overall. Starting in San Francisco, Airbnb eventually grew and expanded into other key American states, and eventually they achieved globalization and entered Europe and Asia. As Airbnb grew so did their offering, with different services, experiences, and attractions added to the platform. They also started hiring hospitality executives to train Airbnb employees and hosts on how to act and think so they could compete with hotels. This was one of their key differentiators. Now, Airbnb is regarded as one of the most well-known alternative accommodation platforms. The key to Airbnb’s success? Persistency. The founders truly believed in their idea, and they never gave up pursing it. In the beginning, the founder’s received 150 rejection letters when seeking funding money. But these rejections never stopped them for pursuing their ideas, and eventually they received the funding. Persistency was their key to success.

Building A Successful Business: The Seven Rules To Building A Successful Business

We are going to talk about the seven rules of building a successful business. We’re also going to use an example company that everyone knows: Airbnb. The number-one rule for building a successful business is to recognize an opportunity. Airbnb founders, when they were starving students in San Francisco, realized that there are many citywide combinations where people cannot get hotel rooms. So, they came up with an idea. They bought an air mattress for their apartment and made money off of it. That’s why it’s called Airbnb. The number-two business rule to creating a successful business is to evaluate said business with critical thinking. Airbnb’s founders — one is an artist, another is an engineer — evaluated the offers after they got their first customers for a citywide convention. They thought “Hey, wait a minute! This might be an opportunity. How can we make it bigger and better for everyone?”. Number three is building a team. It is one of the most important things in business because, as a leader, you’re as successful as your team. So, Airbnb owners started hiring older and talented individuals in the San Francisco area. Number four is to write the business plan. It is the roadmap to success. So you have to write it with its components to show your company’s mission and idea’s vision. Number five is gathering resources, and one of the most important resources is financial. They are what you need to create your company; anywhere from human to material resources. Number six is to decide the ownership. Airbnb founders didn’t start the company by themselves. They had different partners. So, you have to decide the owner, the ownership structure, and the main shareholders. This is important, especially when you start with a friend or a colleague. The last rule is to create wealth. Once you start creating value for any industry, people will recognize that you and your company are solving an existing problem and that you’re creating solutions with your ideas. Consequently, you’re going to create wealth, not only for yourself but for society as well. To summarize the seven rules for creating a successful business: Start with an idea; recognize the problem, how to solve it; who can help you solve this problem, and then, write a business plan. Once decided, look for resources; anywhere from financial to human resources. Lastly, create wealth and value for your market and your society.

Business Events: Convention Venues

Hosting a successful business event or convention is an important part of hospitality management. There are a variety of types of venues, including the following: Convention Centers Convention centers are typically larger in size, allowing them to host very large meetings and conventions. A good example is the Jacob Javits Center in New York City. These spaces are generally a bare boned concrete space that can be set up the way you want to bring your event to life. A stage can be brought in, and very often there’s roll out seating that can be tiered, in rows, or with round tables. Hotels Some business events or conventions don’t require the amount of space that a traditional convention center holds. Hotels come in all shapes and sizes, different star ratings, and different styles from traditional to very modern. They generate revenue from renting out event space in either a ballroom or smaller meeting rooms. The ballroom can be divided up into smaller areas or can be fully used and set up with staging, lighting, and production elements. Guests for the event may also need a room to sleep in and need to eat during the day. This is a great way for the hotel to market and maximize revenues by selling other services that it’s already offering. Unusual venues Event organizers sometimes choose unusual venues to make sure their event stands out from the competition. Examples would be a museum, a zoo, or a theme park. These unusual venues provide a surprise and something that will make people take note. These different atmospheres and décor can provide a more personal venue for your event. Cruise ships are another notable example. In the wintertime they may be docked at the harbor. You now have everything you need for a large convention including rooms, big spaces, big theaters and meeting rooms. The ship also doesn’t have to leave the harbor.