The second wave of Covid-19 cases hit businesses like no other. The government once again rules very tight restrictions (PPKM) to stay home and minimize public activities. Travel, tourism, and hospitality industries are heavily impacted. In the face of several booking cancellations and government restrictions, the occupancy rate going down drastically. This even happened during the first wave of pandemic hit in Indonesia last year.
To discuss how hotels in Bandung handling business during the pandemic, we interviewed 5 female hotel’s general managers in Bandung about how their hotels adapting and handling business during the pandemic.
Cita Hepiningtias – General Manager G.H. Universal Hotel
What do you think about the Emergency PPKM during the second wave of this pandemic?
Last year alone was already heavy, plus now PPKM is really a tough time for all, especially the hospitality industry, because last couple months ago, we were starting to get better, of course, by following the health protocols and regulations. We didn’t expect something like this to happen, because in April through May, our business went well and it was only in mid-June that we were shocked by the emergency PPKM due to the increasing transmission of Covid-19.
On the other hand, we have to support the government so the active cases can go down quickly and hoping that we are all healthy at home. I must admit that it gives a huge impact on business so we must take action wisely and immediately carry out a shifting strategy by always updating the regulations to determine what the future strategy will be.
What positive things can you share during this pandemic??
Actually, all problems depend on how we respond to them. Indeed we were all in shock, but in this second wave, we don’t think it is possible to temporarily shut down the hotel like the initial period, because if we close we will worsen the conditions economically.
What I emphasize to all employees is that this is not the fault of the company, no one wants a situation like this, nor is it the fault of the government (this is a Force majeure situation) so let’s fight together. If you are willing to fight, let’s join, if you don’t want it, then don’t, there is no coercion. We don’t want a team to grumble in the middle of the struggle, because literary this pandemic is like a war, everyone must be full of energy, all must fight and be productive. They must be able to do anything to survive.
Another positive thing that we have is a new energy hand in hand from top to bottom, we are at war, if you give up the results will be worse, but if we try and always involve God more in every effort we have, we believe there will be a way to get through this.
How does the current situation affect you as a General Manager?
I, as the highest leader at G.H. Universal Hotel, actually have to convince the owner that the company is safe in the sense that the hotel is well maintained because this condition is not a good position for any investors anywhere. From the beginning of the pandemic, we have not been able to provide good profits. But we believe our owner has a noble heart.
In the midst of having to be able to coordinate with the local government to adapt to the new regulations and obey the existing regulations, we also have to convince our team that we must fight together to survive and they all have to be productive
In the current position, the GM must have full power with positive vibration because if the GM only complains about PPKM, low occupancy, etc., we will not have time to make a new strategy, therefore we as GMs must quickly shift strategy and see opportunities. I must quickly embrace the team and convince them that if we don’t want to fight together, we can die together, thus worsening the economic condition.
What is your hotel’s strategy as GM in dealing with PPKM this time?
So in this PPKM period as a GM, before we talk about strategy, we must know, understand and read in detail the local and central government regulations. Without violating the rules, is there any chance from there? For example, because the restaurant’s opening hours are very limited in order to increase the volume of purchases we open a delivery food service. At this time we focus on food delivery, this is our strength right now apart from waiting for room reservations to improve.
From the beginning of the pandemic, we have been consistent with food delivery every day. There are purchases for this delivery of food. During this pandemic I decided that GH delivery should be a separate outlet for us, this is now our focus because I believe everyone needs food maybe for themselves and for their loved ones who are still in self-quarantine, and it turns out during this PPKM period our food delivery is increasing.
What are your hopes for the future with the current situation or condition?
Every morning we have a prayer together, we pray every day that this pandemic can be resolved properly and the pandemic status will be immediately lifted. Of course, Indonesian tourism will rise soon which we really hope, because tourism is a sector that has a tremendous impact. We saw Bandung a few months ago and it had started to improve. We can’t imagine to our friends in Bali and other areas, so we hope that all of them can hand in hand help the government to quickly resolve this pandemic properly, and we can return to activities as before without anxiety. For this PPKM condition, the key is 3 for us; involve GOD more, see opportunities, and don’t be afraid to make strategy changes.