Experts in the hospitality industry said COVID-19 has permanently changed the way hotels operate. The Doubletree in Downtown Tulsa tells us it's seen a steady increase in business and a decrease in cancellations since December of last year.
The owner of Hyatt Place said business has taken one step forward for two steps back, and he's learning a lot along the way.
"Basically, the hospitality industry has gone through a complete overhaul. It's almost like we set a reset button in 2020 and we are learning how to walk again," said Romel Chatterjee, CEO of 3S Hotels Group.
Hyatt Place in Downtown Tulsa opened in December of last year and has non-contact protocols, a limited breakfast menu, and room-cleaning requests.
Romel Chatterjee said it’s been difficult navigating the new hotel through the pandemic.
"Every new hotel usually takes about I would say a year to stabilize, to grow to its true potential," said Chatterjee. "It's like trying to run with you know one arm and one leg tied down."
Chatterjee said virtual meetings and the nationwide staffing shortage haven't helped.
"It's very erratic. It's very volatile," said Chatterjee.
Charles DiClemente with DoubleTree by Hilton said staffing numbers aren't even half of what they were before Covid but are slowly improving.
"They enjoy giving the experience to our guests and it's easier when the hotels are full," said Charles DiClemente, General Manager for DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Tulsa Downtown.
He said similar hotels usually see 70% occupancy, but that fell to 20% during the pandemic.
Now, Doubletree sees anywhere from 35 to 75%.
DiClemente said they clean public spaces often and rooms upon request or every fourth day of someone's stay.
"They're not comfortable with people entering their rooms on a daily basis," said DiClemente.
But he said there may be a silver lining to all the changes.
"They can literally check in to their room and go directly to their rooms using their app," said DiClemente.
Hotel experts said weekends are the busiest, with concerts coming back, more social and youth sports and a resurgence in corporate travel.
There are two trends taking over right now: last minute bookings and staycations.
I’m told many hotels are already selling out during the week of the PGA and Ironman in 2022.