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An Insight From The Hills

I visited the hills recently and witnessed what the pandemic has done to the erstwhile flourishing hospitality business in these areas. Businesses, today, are inviting people back to the hills by offering huge discounts and long stay packages. Once I got in, the lowly maintained properties spoke a bit about the cuts and losses businesses had to incur due to reduced operations.

While a lot of them have suffered, there were some that thrived. Not profits, they say, but they were able to break-even. What helped them? Empathy & Resilience.

Covid-19 safety is the topmost priority for many customers, if not all, who make an intention to book a holiday now. Businesses that quickly adjusted (or will adjust) to this need are likely to show a quicker recovery. However, is empathy and the promise of safety enough?

The promise needs to translate into action. That is where resilience played a role.

Picking on the values and needs of changed behavior, businesses had to turn around their models in a month. Balancing quality of service with quality of safety required them to change staff behaviors to mask up, infrastructure changes to ensure social distancing, and establish practices to keep customers safe.

The intent of safety is now visible across all these behaviors. Unlike the promise of service, however, the promise of safety is a shared one.

Customers are asked to get themselves tested before booking. Refunds are being made based on test results. There are some customers who have tried to negotiate their way in, but businesses– that were already in loss– have upheld their part of the promise and turned them away.

Opening to success in the pandemic would need businesses to be resilient and customers to be dutiful. As the markets open, empathy will continue to play a huge role in defining operational safety & success. But how might we make sure customers keep up their part of the deal?

Hit reply to let me know your thoughts/experiences.

Zulaikha, Empathy Spark

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