The Covid-19 pandemic sent the travel and tourism industry into a tailspin in 2020, leading to difficult
times for resort and hotel food services and other stakeholders in this field. Figures from the first year of
the pandemic crisis showed a 30% year-on-year slump in the total domestic trips taken in the United
States, as vacation rates fell to their lowest level since 1991. This translated to a 40% drop in domestic
travel spending compared to the previous year. International inbound travel was hit even worse, as total
spending fell by 75% on 2019's total.
The outlook seemed bleak for a while, with 40% of those who took a vacation in the second quarter of
2020 choosing to remain within 100 miles of home, while 72% of Americans said they did not plan to take
a summer vacation at all that year.
Optimism Rising Steadily in the Market
But the situation is changing. Statistics from summer 2021 showed that 85% of survey respondents
described themselves as "optimistic" about the potential for travel across the rest of the year, with 75%
saying they specifically intended to travel during the remainder of 2021. This optimism led to positive
movements in the market, as the leisure and hospitality sector led the way in job creation in October 2021.
Even with the arrival of the omicron variant in December, the mood remained hopeful. Millennials were the
most optimistic about travel in the coming twelve months, planning to take 4.4 trips on average in 2022,
compared to 4.1 for Generation Z, and 3.8 and 3.3 for Boomers and Generation X, respectively.
Hotel and Resort Food Services on the Frontline
So, as optimism increases and recovery appears to be strong, where does this leave the hotel and resort
food services sector? Let's take a look at a few of the factors that operators in this industry need to be
Rapid Increases in Demand
With increased optimism comes increased demand. This is great news for hotels and resorts, which can
begin to target growth in the same way they did before the pandemic hit, but it also brings challenges.
Foodservice kitchen designs will need to support this increased capacity with layouts and foodservice
infrastructure that offer the scaling required for growth.
A Shifting Industry
Even though consumer demand has fallen over the past couple of years, the industry has not remained
static. As vacationers return to hotels and resorts across the country, business owners may find that the
landscape has shifted, with new players entering the industry and seeking to capitalize on the increased
optimism. As a result, these business owners will need to ensure they provide an industry-leading
experience to their customers, protecting their existing market share while seeking out opportunities for
This may involve investing in foodservice kitchen consultant services to help grow capacity without
harming the consumer experience. Business owners in the hotel and resort industry may also need to
refresh their current equipment infrastructure, working with leading equipment providers like Electrolux
Professional and Xpress Chef as they ensure top-notch levels of service.
So much optimism is undoubtedly a good thing, but the pandemic is not yet behind us. There is still a degree of uncertainty in the market, which means an element of caution is required. Hotel and resort food services teams will need to adopt a sustainable attitude to growth and development, continually monitoring the situation as vacation figures — hopefully — continue to rise.
Things Are Looking Up for Travel and Tourism
After some difficult times over the past two years, the situation appears to have turned a corner. With the
right approach to recovery and growth, hotel and resort teams should find themselves back on track and
looking forward to better times in the years to come.
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