Heathrow’s aftermath

The impact to the industry of the attempted terrorist attacks at planes departing Heathrow for the US is too early to be assessed as flight disruptions have yet to result in significant cancellations. But an immediate outcome of the new rules regarding carry-on baggage is the need for hotels to respond to customer needs for room amenities that were heretofore seen in hotels in the mid and upper scale segments. These include shampoos and toothpastes, all banned per new DHS (Department of Homeland Security) rules. Chains like Super 8 and Motel 6 were beginning to roll out shampoos prior to Heathrow but now it likely will become a must for all segments. The Washington Post reports that Marriott’s Renaissance and Ritz-Carlton hotels has moved up a gear and “beefed up on toiletries for their arriving guests, including contact lens solution and sunscreen, and fielded calls from departing guests about shipping the items they couldn’t take with them on flights.” While lesser chians are unlikely to go as far as lens solutions, they are likely to consider offering not only toitet amenities but also help out with regard to luggage that customers are unable to carry on. One added help would be for hotels to consider installing real time arrival departure information – that is a fairly easy proposition as most airports have web based information that can be displayed on any TV or computer. Eventually, if the airline industry is (as is likely) badly affected by the latest onslaught from the terrorists, it has grim portents for the hotel industry.

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Vijay Dandapani

Co-founder and president of a New York based hotel company for 24 years. Grew the firm to five hotels in Manhattan and also developed a greenfield project at MacArthur airport, New York. Speaker at numerous prestigious forums including Economy Hotels World Asia, Lodging Conference, NYU, Columbia University Real Estate Roundtable, Baruch College's Zicklin School and ALIS. President and ceo of New York City Hotel Association since January 2017.