How the hospitality industry is staying afloat during the flash recession

How the hospitality industry is staying afloat during the flash recession

By: Beatrice Silva 

2 min read FORT LAUDERDALE — The hospitality sector is a vital factor in South Florida’s economy. Around 1.3 million Floridians have jobs related to the tourism industry, which contributes $85.9 billion of the state’s GDP, according to A Banner Year for Florida Tourism Performance. On April 1, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a statewide stay at home order that forced nonessential businesses like restaurants, hotels and shopping centers to close their doors. Within days of the shut down, an estimated 1.2 million people lost their jobs and more than 1.5 million unemployment claims were filed, according to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

 Although Broward County is a few weeks into phase one of reopening, uncertainty still looms. However, it has become apparent that the hospitality industry is doing everything in its power to stay afloat during the flash recession. The hospitality industry has endured a difficult four months and although it is making strides, no one knows how long it’s going to take for it to make a full recovery. 

Many industry leaders speculate that normal life won’t resume until a vaccine for the virus is discovered and easily accessible to the masses. The pharmaceutical industry indicates that a cure for COVID-19 could take years. In the meantime, businesses are having to come up with innovative ways to stay profitable. Unlike other sectors of the economy like technology and banking, the hospitality industry relies heavily on face-to-face interaction and physical guest services. “The hospitality industry will have to learn to function in a way not seen before. As the relationship between each brand and consumer starts by building trust, regaining customer confidence will be the first step in overcoming the crisis. Strict sanitary and hygiene measures will need to be applied, with new practices put in place to monitor and control the environment in which the business takes place,” Hassan Djeebet, food and beverage manager for Les Roches Marbella told hospitalitynet. 

Being transparent with guests will become even more important during the transition into a post-pandemic world. Managers will have to make their workers feel just as safe as their customers to ensure an overall positive guest experience. Although Broward County is just a few weeks into its phase one reopening plan, restaurant owners have noticed more and more people venturing out to indulge in their favorite food and drinks. “Eating outside is less risky than eating inside, if everybody is six feet apart and the wait staff are all wearing masks. That keeps the risk as low as it can be,” Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, told CNN Travel. 

Some argue one brightside to the pandemic is the emergence of new innovations in the hospitality industry. Many restaurants have adopted new technologies to ensure the customer experience is as hands free as possible. For example, instead of having a physical menu, restaurants are offering digital menus that can be accessed by scanning a QR code. Other innovations include artificial intelligence systems like FAQ bots to answer customer questions, virtual tours, and smart amenities like voice-controlled rooms and facial recognition. It’s safe to say that the pandemic has pushed businesses out of their comfort zones. However, as a result, easier and more efficient ways of doing things have surfaced. Some industry leaders even go so far as to say that the pandemic has propelled them at least five years into the future. 

 

 

How the aviation industry is weathering COVID-19 turbulence

How the aviation industry is weathering COVID-19 turbulence

By: Beatrice Silva

2 min read July 2020 — Summer this year is drastically different. Instead of hopping on planes to visit friends and family or finally embarking on that European adventure, the majority of frequent travelers are staying put, at least for the time being. It started to become apparent around the second week of March that the novel coronavirus would have a severe impact on the air transport industry. Even some of the busiest airports like Philadelphia International are feeling the weight of uncertainty. Nevertheless, the aviation industry continues to push forward. New air travel innovations have emerged and some airlines have even rediscovered ways to use their aircraft as they weather the turbulence. 

Greater Philadelphia is the eighth-largest metropolitan area in the United States and is located in the middle of one of the largest catchment areas with passport holders spanning from South Jersey all the way to New York, according to PHL CASRIP.  Philadelphia International Airport is the only international airport that not only serves Philly but the northeast region as a whole. Just last year, the PHL welcomed more than 33 million passengers. It was the largest amount of traffic the airport has ever seen and what makes that figure even more impressive is that fact that there are 29 other airports within a 50 mile radius. So while it may take years for the airport to return to those 2019 levels, there is still hope for air transportation. On July 16, American Airlines and JetBlue announced their strategic partnership that will create seamless connectivity for travelers in the Northeast. This will help to provide more choices for passengers across their complementary domestic and international networks.

Our innovative partnership will allow us to compete in the New York market where American and JetBlue have traditionally been third and fourth. This partnership will allow us to coordinate schedules so we can provide customers better connectivity, capitalizing on JetBlue’s strengths in the New York market and American’s strengths as a long-haul carrier. Ideally, we envision a time where our passengers can travel into New York on JetBlue and connect with American Airlines for a long-haul flight out of JFK. So it opens up a tremendous amount of new markets to both JetBlue and American customers, complementing our trans-Atlantic gateway in Philadelphia,” Jim Moses, vice president for American Airlines PHL Hub Operations, told Invest: Philadelphia. 

Forming strategic partnerships with the competition is just one way airlines are navigating the pandemic. A majority of aviation companies are also adjusting their travel schedules, waiving ticket alteration fees and offering flights at a much lower fare. When it comes to cleanliness airlines are making sure to broadcast their meticulous efforts. Major U.S. airlines like Delta, American, JetBlue and United are in close contact with health agencies such as the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control to make sure their guidelines for cleaning their aircraft cabins are up to par. 

As for Philadelphia International Airport, customers and employees are required to wear marks. Their TSA screening process has been modified to protect passengers and new touchless check-in technology has started to emerge. PHL also launched an initiative that offers airlines financial stimulus to encourage carriers to fly to certain destinations and to expand their cargo services. “PHL believes that this rapid injection of relief and growth will jumpstart the entire airport ecosystem, thus benefiting the Philadelphia region,” Stephanie Wear, director of air service development and cargo services, told Airport Experience News. “From concessions to ground transportation to tourism and commerce, the halo effect of increased air travel will create immediate wins for all airport stakeholders.” 

Spotlight On: Kevin Miller, President & CEO, Addition Financial

Spotlight On: Kevin Miller, President & CEO, Addition Financial

By: Yolanda Rivas

2 min read November 2019 — As the banking sector gets more concentrated, some financial institutions are implementing rebranding efforts to meet the demands of customers and keep up with the latest innovations and technologies. Addition Financial recently went through a rebranding effort and is now focusing on expanding its footprint. President and CEO Kevin Miller shared the financial institution’s latest updates with Invest: Orlando. 

 

 

What has been the impact of rebranding as Addition Financial?

In the last year we have made multiple changes, the biggest being our transition from a federal charter to a state charter. The state of Florida has a business-friendly environment and they were able to offer us some additional regulatory flexibility, for example a much larger territory and additional flexibility in the way we conduct our business and investments. We changed our name from Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union to Addition Financial. We have also been expanding our footprint and recently acquired a small bank. These efforts have been part of our focus on expanding our presence throughout Central Florida.

 

We are focusing on our name change and rebranding effort to make it clear that more people can join the credit union. The rebranding has been positive, we have more people joining us and our new message, image and culture have been well-received. We have been in Orlando for more than 80 years. We have a great relationship with the community, which is vibrant and growing at a rapid pace. The diversity of culture in Orlando, provides us with numerous opportunities to continue our expansion and reach more people. 

 

What differentiates Addition Financial from the competition?

As a credit union, we are a not-for-profit financial institution, which means that our motivations are different than the for-profit institutions. A differentiator for us is our focus on the community and our educational ties. When we interact with our members we focus on the educational aspect. We support education and we also make sure that we educate people about financial literacy. We partner with K-12 schools in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties and we have student-run branches in some high schools in each of those counties. We train the students to run the branch and teach financial literacy to their peers. We also have a program to educate college students on meeting their unique financial needs. In addition, we are working on housing affordability with these partners. We partnered with the districts to create a custom program to help teachers live in the communities where they work. 

 

What are some notable changes in Orlando’s banking and finance sector over the last few years?

 

A lot of the people who come into our branches are surprisingly young. The younger generations are looking for consulting and advisory types of services, while the older generation comes to our branches mostly for transactions. In terms of services, we have seen an uptick in small business demand. We focus on smaller businesses that maybe don’t feel like they have enough size or capital to go to some of the larger financial institutions. Lending is at an all-time high for us. We are seeing a lot of refinancing, especially with interest rates being so low.

 

 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit:

Addition Financial: https://www.additionfi.com/