The coronavirus pandemic hit the tourism and hospitality sector the hardest. This work-intensive industry supports such branches of our economy as aviation, B&Bs, hotels, restaurants, pubs, and business conferences. During the first months of COVID-19 pandemic, most of these businesses (bars, restaurants and hotels) shuttered and its staff was laid off. Right now the industry is slowly reopening doors to the customers while doing all they can to fight against a repeat closure.
This sector is undoubtfully vital for our economy, especially for rural Ireland area. Its development is also essential to build a sustainable economic model. In the last decade or so Ireland has become an attractive destination for leisure and business tourists, precisely from Europe and the US. As a result, a 56% rise in overseas trips to Ireland by international tourists was recorded in 2009-2019. The growth of tourism has benefited both Dublin and the rest of Ireland. About 18% of jobs in Kerry and 13% in Donegal depend on the tourism and hospitality sector. Thus, the Irish regions are much less resilient to COVID-19 consequences. According to the Northern Ireland Hotel Federation, 90% of staff at hotels have been laid off or put on furlough.
To save the industry, the government needs to take some bold actions such as provide guidance for the hospitality sector and other public venues, implement clear restrictions, core requirements and checklists. The businesses are recommended to re-align their marketing strategy for the domestic market, react to fast-evolving government restrictions, guarantee business security and adapt to customer expectations and health authority guidelines.
Probably, the most critical ones are business interruption, loss of income, consumers hesitant to stay in a hotel or eat out, slow business travel, lost employees, physical vandalism and the unknown (any emergency). Many of such problems could be addressed by optimizing your business security system and implementing different tools such as CCTV security cameras, audio or video intercoms, contactless switches, fever security systems. Let us consider some of the security risks and how to avoid the consequences.
Reports of cybercrimes significantly increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, so restaurant and hotel employers should be on guard. Cybercrimes can lead to credential theft and financial fraud, and very often they are related to actual physical access people have to the building, especially if it is vacant or half-empty. It could provoke break-ins, trespassing and theft.
These days guests may express concerns regarding their well-being and safety in terms of the spread of the coronavirus. First, to attract customers, the industry should provide the highest standards of cleanliness. Many hotel groups have announced their own campaigns, protocols, and standards of health and safety.
Second, reducing contact with surfaces is necessary for eliminating the virus spread. People touch a lot of objects to gain entry (door handles, access keypads and elevator buttons). So, the best way to deal with this issue is by implementing some modern business security solutions.
Every company commitment is to follow the official safety regulations to make sure the hotels and restaurants are free of infection risk. The top priority of the hospitality sector is to give peace of mind to employees, guests, and investors.
To ensure better business security, it is also essential to protect your employees, which involves, for example, making sure they have the necessary supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE). It is recommended to establish a strict policy: sick workers must stay home. Those who show any symptoms should be able to see a healthcare professional immediately. One more thing to do is to introduce frequent handwashing, sneezing/coughing etiquette, and social distancing rules at the workplace.
There are also some business security solutions to help reduce the risk of catching and spreading the virus.
CCTV Security System means using video cameras to transmit a signal to a particular place. It is a regular business security solution used by almost every kind of company to prevent vandalism, burglary, theft and unauthorized access. These days surveillance is especially useful for monitoring home-quarantined residents and, may help monitor all activity at your place of business, so you always know, what is going and that your employees, customers, are safe.
The fever security system is a type of CCTV security system which allows not only to detect the face of people entering the building but also to measure their body temperature. This way it is possible to prevent the entry of a potentially sick person to your premises and guarantee the safety of your employees and guests.
Access control is essential to ensure business security, and the access control points can be located everywhere throughout the building. Nowadays, all the businesses are forced to switch to contactless access control, especially within the hospitality industry as touching surfaces has become of the biggest concerns of the guests. Contactless technology is becoming the guests' core experience. Even though implementing such solutions requires an initial investment, they are to make operations more efficient.
This technology is another solution ensuring contactless access to the building or communication with a service provider (administrator, receptionist etc.). It is one of the best ways to share information with your employees internally. Besides, modern wireless intercom systems come with extra features, for instance, verifying the identity of visitors, providing alerts and notifications, granting or denying access remotely.
Ireland’s hospitality industry is a key component of the Irish economy. The industry’s total economic contribution is valued at about €5 - 7.6bn (1.5% - 2.3% of GDP). Due to Covid-19 pandemic, hospitality experienced large numbers of job losses and businesses shuttered. Now it is critical to get these people back to work and to retain the hospitality accommodation capacity as Ireland slowly emerges from the Covid-19 shock.
The result will depend on strategic and coordinated decisions and actions of tourism businesses. The recent survey has shown that 72% of respondents in Ireland want to travel domestically in 2020. Thus, it might be the best time to implement some modern business security solutions, such as touchless access points, wireless intercoms, CCTV security system (including fever security system) to resolve the guests’ biggest concern – the fear of contagion.