Interview Transcript

How do you look at this situation going forward? What are the key factors that you are looking at, to really signal to that, okay, this could actually return back to normal much faster than expected or much slower than expected?

I think that the new angle that can give the edge to some hotel groups or some hotels, versus the others, is actually not the cleaning and hygiene, nor the smart hotel things. Again, I think that that is a given and it was already a trend. What I think could make the difference is how hotels and groups translate this Covid experience into a change of overall policy, with regards to sustainability and climate change.

More and more, there are scientific studies being done, on the relationship between Covid and air pollution. There was actually a study, a couple of days ago, written by McKinsey, on how Covid-19 and climate change relate to each other. There are some compelling similarities, as well as differences, but the similarities are bigger than the differences. I think that a strong stand on what hotels are doing to increase sustainability behavior, making customers aware of what the impact of their actions is, in terms of personal fitness and sustainability impact, could be a key behavioral driver of how consumers are going to change the selection of hotels. I think that the window of opportunity is now, whilst the whole of humanity is still stunned by what is happening. It’s now that can last until, definitely, 2021/2022. That’s the answer to your question.

In terms of your outlook on demand, you mentioned in around two years, you would expect the four and five star hotels to return back to the 70% or 80% occupancy, for example, if international travel opens up tomorrow?

Are you talking about China?

Yes, in China.

For China, it’s going to be faster than that. Cities like Shanghai, Guangzhou, first tier cities, will have no problem. If there is no second wave and if the winter is manageable, I think that by September, at the latest, in key city hotels in key locations, there will be no problem in returning to last year’s figures.

That’s from international travel or fully from domestic travel?

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