For many hotels and resorts, global supply chain issues have made it incredibly difficult to purchase everything from headboards to wardrobes, even chicken.
“I think as a nation we have all realized how dependent we are on [getting goods] from China, Vietnam and India, and with each wave and Covid lockdown, we have seen more delays,” said John “JR” Reynolds, general manager of Kissel Uptown Oakland in California, which is part of the collection Unbound by Hyatt. “And it was also a labor issue, because even after the cargo ships arrived, there weren’t enough workers to unload them. »
Although the Kissel was originally slated to open last October, the slowdown in the supply chain forced the property to delay its debut several times before its final opening on February 24.
Yet only half of the property’s 168 rooms are currently in service, with the rest awaiting a stalled delivery of headboards. According to Reynolds, these offline rooms should open by the first week of April.
In Los Angeles, the recently opened Hyatt Place LAX/Century Blvd and Hyatt House LAX/Century Blvd, a 401-room dual-brand resort, experienced similar supply chain setbacks.
The property had to delay its opening by about a year, in part because bathroom vanities, tile and wall coverings, among other materials and items, were in short supply due to factory shutdowns and delays in construction. shipment.
The Kissel Uptown Oakland has repeatedly delayed its opening due to supply chain issues. Photo credit: Kissel Uptown Oakland
Sometimes a solution could be found closer to home.
When a factory closure in Vietnam made it difficult to purchase cabinetry, the team at Hyatt Place and Hyatt House LAX/Century Blvd partnered with a local cabinetmaker in downtown Los Angeles .
“[The fabricator] was grateful as much of their other work was on hold due to the pandemic,” said Aaron Schock, owner and developer of the property. “We saved tens of thousands of dollars in shipping costs because they were able to transport the finished products to the property.”
However, new developments are far from the only properties struggling to adapt to today’s supply chain challenges.
“Any property undergoing renovation will go through the same difficulties,” Reynolds said. “And any property that’s just trying to replace things on a regular cycle, whether it’s sponge [towels] or laundry or glasses, is also going to be in trouble. We work in an industry where things need to be replenished often.”
According to a survey conducted by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) late last year, 86% of US hoteliers say supply chain disruptions have had a “moderate or significant impact on operations.” “.
“When you combine supply chain disruptions with record high gasoline prices and historic inflation rates, it means hoteliers are facing rising costs in almost every aspect of business operations,” he said. said AHLA CEO Chip Rogers.
Hard hit in the Caribbean
Although virtually every market in the world has faced supply chain disruptions over the past year, the Caribbean, a highly import-dependent region, has been hit harder than most at times.
“Islands like the Turks and Caicos, Antigua and Caymans don’t produce much of their own food, and so things just don’t get to them in time,” said Jennifer Doncecz, president of the based agency VIP Vacations. in Pennsylvania.
“We’ll get feedback from customers, saying, ‘They ran out of some alcohol on the second day,’ or ‘Did you know they haven’t had chicken all week? “”
Today, Doncsecz makes sure to manage customer expectations regarding the availability of certain items.
“We tell people who are going to some of the small islands in the Caribbean to come prepared [for potential shortages]”, she said. “And we encourage them to be graceful and to understand that this may not be the exact same experience they had years ago, because hoteliers cannot just not getting certain things.”
Sandals Royal Curacao has postponed its opening due to supply chain issues. Photo credit: Sandals
Supply chain issues were also cited as the main culprit in Sandals’ recent decision to delay the opening of Sandals Royal Curacao. Originally slated to welcome guests from April 14, the 351-room property has postponed its opening date to June 1.
“Most of today’s supply chain issues are beyond our control,” said Gebhard Rainer, Group CEO of Sandals Resorts International. “It’s an ongoing issue, but as a business we remain focused on what’s within our control – and that’s first and foremost how we support our customers through the temporary delays, by working with them one by one to provide a seamless solution.”
Kim Hartlen, travel consultant and Sandals and Beaches specialist at Kim Hartlen Travel-TPI in Halifax, N.S., said most guests affected by a delayed opening are choosing to move their booking in order to stay at the resort qu ‘they have chosen.
“I usually move the date to accommodate when this resort will be ready, and that might mean moving the trip up an entire year,” Hartlen said. “But what I also do sometimes is book another trip for them for the dates they originally planned. So that translates into new business for me.”
Persistent supply chain delays and shortages are unlikely to confuse travelers this year, according to Hartlen. In fact, booking activity has started to increase in recent weeks.
“I think at this point everyone understands that we’re going through a tough time,” she said. “And I always tell my clients to remember, no matter where you go, [that destination] was also affected by Covid, and you can’t forget that.”