US Virgin Islands Hotel & Tourism Association
March 18, 2020
CHTA continues to provide ongoing updates, information, resources and tools you can use on it’s COVID-19 Resources page. We are also providing members and industry partners with weekly updates on other matters of interest. Here’s your weekly update along with a message from the President and CEO/Director General.
Hotel Cancellation Guidelines
General guidance notes from CHTA and links to guidelines and policies of many of industry’s brand operators. Please click here for information.
Connects you to advisories issued by Caribbean countries, the US CDC and other areas. These are changing rapidly and updated as received. Should a country advisory appear dated, we advise you consult with their hotel and tourism association or public sector tourism entity. Please click here for information.
Confidential Online Monitoring Site for Hotels
Every Caribbean hotel and accommodation provider should be part of this free online confidential monitoring site established by CARPHA – the Traveller Health Information System (THiS). This provides a direct link to health professionals who in real-time will monitor and rapidly respond to guide the hotel on how best to handle the situation. To learn more and register, please click here.
Procedures for Dealing with Guest Containment or Quarantine
A number of Caribbean hotels advise that a limit be placed (typically 24 hours) for a guest to be retained on property in the event of a Covid-19 infection or suspected infection as identified by local medical authorities. The guest would then be securely moved to a location or facility provided by the Government’s health authorities. In the event a quarantined guest remains on property, there should be strict procedures and adherence to such. For a review of detailed room quarantine procedures established by Turks and Caicos, please click here.
Looking beyond the readiness training which CHTA has done and videos and support info on the Resource Center, CHTA is planning a series of training webinars to assist industry stakeholders in getting through the crisis. Surveys to go out to members this week to gauge training interests with the view to commence webinars next week.
Insurance and Pandemics
With the pandemic declaration by the World Health Organization, most insurance policies will exclude loss claims for business interruption coverage. However, you may be able to claim for a limited time of loss depending upon your policy. At the minimum, you should be aware of this information as you look to your future coverage. Allied member Stan Smith from SmithOrloff & Associates, a firm of international insurance consultants specializing in providing hoteliers with professional assistance with claims recovery, provides insights on business interruption coverage in this coronavirus environment. Please click here for information.
Maximizing Down Time
As smart hoteliers did post 9/11 and in late 2008/early 2009, a crisis situation presents opportunity to take stock on operational costs, productivity, capex, and other expense and revenue generating activities. In the coming weeks will be hosting an online training forum for hoteliers to exchange ideas on measures they are putting in place or considering and to get feedback from one-another. Stay tuned.
CHIEF, Taste of the Caribbean and CHRIS
Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum (CHIEF) and Taste of the Caribbean, which were scheduled for June, are currently on hold as guidelines and advice from Governments and health authorities in the region and globally continue to change or update almost daily. CHTA is evaluating all potential options and will keep our members and the Caribbean hospitality industry updated regarding plans for these two events in the weeks ahead. The Caribbean Hotel and Resort Investment Summit (CHRIS), which was scheduled for May, likely will be moved to the fall. A final decision from the organizers should be made any day.
Managing ADR in Downturn
While a growing number of hotels globally and in the region are temporarily closing or downsizing for the near-term, as they look to recover business there will be a temptation to slash room rates, believing this will attract more business. While this may help with a short-term bump in business, history shows that it can have a long-term detrimental impact on profitability. Some research indicates it may take as long as eight years to recover from rate slashing in a downturn. STR’s Hotel News has featured several articles on this which may be useful in guiding rate strategies in the coming months. Please click here and click here for information.
Looking Ahead to Recovery
While it remains unknown when the worst of the Covid-19 crisis will subside, now is also the time to begin to look ahead and develop strategies to minimize damage to the industry and recapture and rebuild business. CHTA is in consultation with regional and global industry stakeholders and will be surveying National Hotel and Tourism Associations and others over the coming week to identify potential company and destination recovery steps which are being considered and might be advanced. Members and NHTAs are invited to share their feedback through CHTA’s surveys and direct contact.
Message from CHTA President and CEO/Director General:
The Caribbean, and in particular the region’s tourism industry, has considerable experience in managing disruptions and risks and bouncing back. We demonstrated this post 9-11, thru SARs, Zika, hurricanes and other natural disasters over the past two decades, while experiencing unprecedented growth.
Admittedly, nothing compares to what we are experiencing today with the global Covid-19 pandemic. The coming months will test our mettle and our ability to weather the storm. While much of what happens is beyond our control, through sound collective actions by companies, organizations, communities and Governments, we can control the duration and intensity of the pandemic. Difficult decisions which are made today will help to allow us to recover sooner and ultimately be stronger.
There are a number of online resources which are available to help the industry to manage the crisis. CHTA has consolidated some of these and has made them available through its Covid-19 Resource Center at www.caribbeanhotelandtourism.
In times like these, it is also important to communicate and collaborate wherever possible. Locally, the National Hotel and Tourism Associations can be a resource for advancing the support mechanisms, advocacy, and marketing and communications efforts which are helpful to managing the crisis and its outcomes.
At the company and organizational levels, it is important to maintain a regular and open dialogue with employees, equipping them with facts and information about the virus and good prevention and monitoring practices, providing a reality-check on the company’s situation, and above all ensuring you are fair and compassionate to their circumstances as well during these difficult times.
Regionally, CHTA is part of a coordinating task force with the Caribbean Public Health Agency, the Caribbean Tourism Organization, and the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Center. Through that collaboration we are leveraging and coordinating resources and information.
In addition to our online resources and coordination efforts, CHTA will continue to providing periodic updates to members, and other support to highlight areas of focus which can support your immediate readiness, contingencies which should be considered, with an eye towards recovery – which will eventually come.
Patricia Affonso Dass, CHTA President
Frank Comito, CHTA CEO and Director General