Travel is starting to boom again, but that has not stopped hotels from using the pandemic to justify numerous cutbacks. Sometimes, though, the hypocrisy is just glaring.
Pandemic-Era Hotel Cutbacks Remain, Over Two Years Later
Take for example the Park Hyatt Melbourne. It’s a lovely hotel that I stayed at a few years ago and look forward to visiting again. My friend is there this week and let me know that the bar is closed, main restaurant closed, and other services are reduced. The only thing available is room service or a limited number of tables in the lobby tea area or lounge.
All for the “protection” of customers. And the hotel still costs $500/night.
But this evening the hotel is hosting an event – and look at lobby:
Love the social distancing and masks, don’t you? Truthfully, I’m happy to see hotel lobbies packed again. But I’m not happy to see the contradiction of hosting events like this but then saying that the pandemic requires you to close restaurants and limit menus.
Pick one please. Don’t insult our intelligence.
There are so many other examples. I was recently at the Four Seasons in Dallas and they’ve swapped out real coffee cups for paper ones. Seriously (in Texas of all places)?
If I wanted paper cups, I would have chosen a Best Western. I guess I should be thankful they didn’t take away the espresso machine for my health and well-being.
This sort of hypocrisy will continue. Hotels will happily take our money (with often-exorbinant rates these days), but not offer nearly the depth or breadth of amenities that were offered prior to the pandemic.
And of course they will get away with this as long as they can — you can’t necessarily blame a hotel for seeking to pad margins after two difficult years. Even so, consumers will grow tried of all this and eventually vote with their wallets. Hopefully that will come sooner rather than later. I’ve avoided some of my favorite places, like the Hyatt Carmel Highlands, because of its absurd cutbacks in the name of COVID-19.
Importantly, not all hotels are engaging in this sort of hygiene theatre. That’s a good thing, because eventually it will force other hotels to match. Things are better these days, but we still have a long way to go.