If there was ever a time when owners and operators need to be partners it is now, according to Ennismore's chief investment and development officer Keith Evans.
Evans was speaking at the Hospitality Tomorrow webinar earlier this week run by Bench Events, and was joined by hospitality leaders from companies such as Radisson Hotel Group and Corinthia Hotels during a session to discuss what the future of hotels could look like in the ‘post-corona age'.
Thomas Page, global head of the hotel and leisure group at law firm CMS, added there could be "tensions" between operators, who may want to open to travellers, and owners, who may not wish to fund loss-making hotels.
He added: "That's going to be a challenge for them to communicate and ensure they make their decisions jointly, because too much self-interest is going to cause a great deal of problems."
Elie Younes, executive vice-president and chief development officer at Radisson Hotel Group, pointed out that reopening a hotel to only 30% occupancy "is not sufficient to pay your electricity bills", adding that it could take years for hotels to return to occupancy levels seen in 2019.
Evans said Ennismore – which owns and operates a portfolio including three Hoxton hotels in London and the Gleneagles resort in Auchterarder, Perthshire – expects at this point to reopen its hotels over the course of the second and third quarter of the year and for them to operate at a loss during the fourth quarter, with occupancies in the 20%-40% range.
He said: "We're a few years away of getting to where we were in 2019 on the basis that some people will change their travel patterns, whether that's corporate or leisure… eventually human nature is to come back to the way we were, but it will take time."
Paul Pisani, senior vice-president of hotel development at Corinthia Hotels, which includes the five-red-AA-star Corinthia London, said the group is planning business travel levels to be "very low" as companies are making better use of technology and seeking to operate more cost-effectively.