Hospitality Industry shall commence recovery by June: Zaid Sadiq, Executive Director, Liasoning & Hospitality, Prestige Group

Before the global pandemic hit, the Indian hospitality industry along with tourism was one of the key segments driving the growth of the services sector in the Indian economy. And while COVID-19 and the resultant lockdown brought things to a standstill for a while, the hospitality industry is taking stock and reinventing themselves to successfully revive the sector in the post-Covid world, says
Zaid Sadiq – Executive Director, Liasoning & Hospitality, Prestige Group.


What, in your opinion, will be the long-term effect of COVID-19 on the industry? How long will it take to recover?

Given the dynamic and unprecedented nature of this global crisis, we expect to witness the ripple effects of COVID-19 across socio-economic sectors for at least another year. However, we hope to begin the journey towards recovery by June 2020 – provided India manages to flatten the coronavirus curve. We must not forget that the pandemic is first and foremost a human concern.

The dominos long-term effect of the COVID- 19 pandemic is expected to last for at least another 12 months. Having said that, we are very optimistic in our approach to recovery, which shall commence by July 2020, provided that the spread of the virus is contained. Above all, public health and safety is critical to form a strong base to develop customer confidence.

What will be your strategy to garner business once this is over? Which revenue streams will you focus on?

The pandemic is changing the world as we know it. The lockdown and social distancing norms are likely to have changed customer preferences. Businesses that are able to come up with innovative solutions to offer the right customer experience will be in a position to seize the opportunity and accelerate the recovery journey. We have been working closely with our domestic partners, who have been providers of our largest business pool.

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Collaboration will continue to be our key strategy. Prestige would like to focus on home-grown business, the ideal revenue stream will be Food & Beverage, including catering. In due time, once the economy has stabilized, we will focus on rooms business, which again shall be inbound/domestic.

What are you expecting from the government?

The Indian government has, so far, done a remarkable job of combating the global outbreak, whose exact trajectory is still unknown.

We are yet to fully understand and quantify the financial impact of the outbreak on business. However, one thing is certain – cash flow will be a challenge. To help the hospitality industry mitigate the cash and working capital issues, the government should consider extending the option of delaying of loan repayment / EMIs to business entities. Further, the government could look at slashing GST rates, while enabling the GST collected to be used as working capital for companies for the next couple of months. This will help the Indian hospitality industry survive the precarious business climate.

Every crisis brings learnings for the industry. For a situation like this, what are they?

Change, they say, is the only constant. The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us the importance of business agility, disaster preparedness, collaboration and compassion. We are back to the drawing board, finding innovative ways to cut costs, manage unknown risks, work with lesser resources, have meaningful customer engagements, strike a healthy work-life balance, and brace ourselves for the ‘new normal’.



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