The on-going lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, has resulted in offline conferences and gatherings are being cancelled or postponed. To overcome the situation, a growing number of webinars and virtual events are being hosted, to provide industry participants with networking opportunities.
Keeping in line with the trend, India International Hospitality Expo recently organised a webinar named, ‘A Crisis Opens New Windows of Opportunity: Keeping the House in Order Post-COVID-19’, which was moderated by Rakesh Kumar, Chairman, India Exposition Mart Ltd. and Sourish Bhattacharyya, Food Columnist, Mail Today and Curator, IHE Hotel Awards 2020 .
The webinar speakers were some of the eminent personalities from the industry, Nirmal Khandelwal, Chairman, FCML Distributors Pvt. Ltd., Jayashree Nagaraj, Founder President and Chairperson of Professional Housekeepers Association, Nitin Nagrale, Founder and General Secretary, Hospitality Purchasing Managers Forum, Ish Madaan, Regional Manager (India, Sri Lanka and Maldives), Rubbermaid Commercial Products, Ravinder Pal Srivastava, Executive Housekeeper, ITC Kakatiya, Hyderabad and Vice President PHA Telengana Chapter, Preeti Sharma Gulati, Executive Housekeeper, Hyatt Regency Delhi.
The webinar panelists discussed whether the hospitality sector will find itself burdened with the new sanitary and social distancing regulations along with mounting bottom-line pressures. The panellists also deliberated whether housekeeping decision makers are preparing for the new reality, which will require housekeeping departments to develop new protocols, pare their numbers, centralise operations (or outsource them), and sell their expertise to corporate clients.
Ravinder Pal Srivastava, Executive Housekeeper, ITC Kakatiya, Hyderabad and Vice President PHA Telengana Chapter asked hotels to proceed with new SOPs and protocol, “as it will never be the same post COVID-19.” She also pressed upon precautionary safety and suggested that hotels should heighten hygiene and sanitation practices and highlighted the importance of information by saying, “Proper signage across hotel properties have to be put about washing hands, wearing masks, gloves etc.”
Nirmal Khandelwal, Chairman, FCML Distributors Pvt. Ltd. also emphasised the importance of SOP and explained that the maintenance of hygiene and safe environment at hotels or restaurants will decide the increase of footfalls.
Nitin Nagrale, Founder and General Secretary, Hospitality Purchasing Managers Forum urged the industry leaders to clear the payments of small vendors in the hospitality industry, as in these trying times the vendors are also facing trouble to make their ends meet.
Preeti Sharma Gulati, Executive Housekeeper, Hyatt Regency Delhi who was earlier associated with a hospital said it is imperative for hotels to maintain hospital like hygiene in the near future to gain customer’s confidence.
Jayashree Nagaraj, Founder President and Chairperson of Professional Housekeepers Association commented that the Government alone cannot do everything, so the hoteliers have to show vigilance about the subject. Moreover, she along with the other panellists pressed upon for a common compliance standard for safety and hygiene, which should be adopted by the industry.