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Hospitality and Tourism in a Post-COVID World

POSTED: Jul. 12, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the hospitality and tourism industry severely, as it did to other industries. Restaurants, hotels, and event venues have stood empty for almost a year to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Due to travel restrictions and safety regulations, many hospitality and tourism organizations have had a hard time running their businesses, opting to survive in the market rather than aim to make a profit.

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However, the harsh influence of COVID-19 seems to be fading away. With the wide availability of COVID-19 vaccines and more people getting vaccinated, the hospitality and tourism industry is heading toward the end of a dark tunnel. Even though many hospitality and tourism organizations are seeing a new surge in demand, the operating environment cannot be the same as before COVID-19. Hospitality and tourism organizations need to reshape the customer experience and find strategies to engage with customers as we go through financial resilience and experience a new norm of travel post-COVID-19.

People are more likely to travel after experiencing year-long social restrictions, canceled trips, and postponed events. However, not all countries apply the same regulations for international tourists. Because each country has different restrictions for even fully vaccinated people, there has been an uptick in domestic travel and drive-to destinations. People also opt for traveling by car instead of taking a plane; thus, higher interest in local tourism is expected.

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Future industry leaders in the hospitality and tourism industry need to know how we can create authentic, unique, and memorable customer experiences to attract demand. In this rapidly changing industry, digital transformation has been at the forefront of service delivery procedures. For instance, mobile check-ins at hotels and digital menus in restaurants became the norm after COVID-19. Hotels, restaurants, event venues, and tourism organizations will need to reevaluate their use of technology and embrace advanced technologies to enhance people’s experiences, such as digital concierge, welcoming apps, virtual reality, and service robots. At the same time, as technology cannot perform what customers want precisely, hospitality and tourism organizations need to find a balance to offer high-tech yet high-touch services.

As we look to a new, bright future in the hospitality and tourism industry, we have revised our Master of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management program curriculum to align with rapidly changing industry needs, and to provide convenience and flexibility, yet high-quality education to students. Our 100% online, cohort-based M.S. program is for the current or prospective industry leaders who will take advantage of discussing current and upcoming trends in the hospitality and tourism industry, meet other industry leaders in the industry, learn the need for adjusted operational procedures to deal with the new normal after COVID-19, and explore the cutting-edge topics in hospitality and tourism management. This program will prepare students to better respond to these uncertain times, develop critical analysis skills, and understand advanced hospitality and tourism issues.

Written by Dr. Seon Jeong (Ally) Lee, program coordinator of the Hospitality and Tourism Management program, and avid industry researcher.