Debra A. Shinn new consultation with Vino Zona with locations in Sedona and Jerome, AZ
Debra A. Shinn Joins Sedona Rouge Hotel & Spa as General Manager
The Reunion for Stouffer Hotel
A Personal Account: Debra Shinn, hotel consultant
Debra Shinn interviewed by Alex Munford
Sonal Uberoi who is the Founding Director of Spa Balance Consulting and author of The Wellness Asset interviewed select hoteliers including Debra Shinn to understand their point of view on this subject and how the current situation is transforming the hospitality industry
Here are Debra’s answers:
In what way has Covid 19 shifted the way you view the industry?
There is most definitely a heightened awareness of cleanliness, attention to details such as high dusting, behind and under, over and inside of, all areas of a guest room and its FFE. Additionally, public area space has required extra labor for much more attention to areas such as hallways, lobby, restrooms, common areas, and touch points.
What are the three main issues that worry you the most regarding the future of hospitality?
- The introduction of mobile applications that allow guests to communicate via text to hotel staff. This takes away from the one-on-one interaction that is the core of hospitality.
- The extreme shortage of labor due to factors that include relief Covid unemployment insurance increases, lack of affordable housing, and workers not wanting to be in a work environment where they are exposed to potential Covid virus.
- A different generation that has not been raised with the same strong work ethics as in the past.
Where do you see the industry in the short, mid and longterm?
I believe the hospitality industry will come back strong, as travel is an essential part of people’s freedom to enjoy life. Travelers are now looking for safer destinations. I have seen travel come back strong in Sedona AZ as it is an outdoor national park destination that draws guests to its healthy and outdoor activity recreation.
What role do you think spa and wellness will play in the hospitality industry?
Of all the incremental revenue streams in resorts, spas have been the first to come back. While it is a different environment in private treatment rooms with extra cleaning and mask-wearing necessitated, guests feel the spas take the extreme extra precautions to maintain a safe germ-free environment.
Do you see the value in investing in wellness post Covid 19?
Absolutely! There will be changes in amenities offered such as changing from steam rooms to infrared saunas, requiring more disposal items such as slipper footwear and more labor to sanitize treatment and locker rooms, but I believe guests are willing to pay more to bring them to an environment that allows them to relieve their stress and escape in a safe environment.
How do you think wellness will evolve within hotels?
Wellness is becoming more of the direction of spas rather than the “eliteness” of spas that they used to be. Wellness speaks to everyone and it will take away the stigma of spas as a “ luxury amenity”. This will make spas more attractive to all levels of hotel guests.
Do you think wellness could replace business travel? If so, what would wellness need to do/ offer in order to successfully replace business travel?
Incentive wellness travel! That will be the new group business going forward. Companies will be looking for ways of incentivizing their teams that include health as opposed to an indulgence.
What is your top priority as a hotelier for the coming year?
To build service teams that instill guests’ confidence in returning to travel.
What would you change in the hospitality industry going forward and how?
Pay competitive wages, reduce the amount of 3rd party OTA’s and educate upcoming college students to make hospitality a viable career life choice.