How can the hospitality industry maintain its emphasis on welcoming guests while also enforcing the safety precautions that are likely to remain in effect in a post-COVID travel marketplace? That’s one of the topics that Decker/Royal co-founder and principal Cathy Decker talks about with Doug Simon on the latest “PR’s Top Pros Talk” video interview.

“So many of our clients have really had to institute health and safety protocols,” Decker says. “As we go forward, you're going to see that these protocols are going to stick beyond this period.”

But she adds that “hospitality is about making everyone who comes through our doors and our planes and our hotel rooms feel understood and welcomed. I think we do that best when we lay a really terrific foundation and then respect the people that come, no matter what your rules are.”

Making health and safety protocols just another part of the overall travel experience is key to keeping that balance, Decker tells Simon.

“The protocols that we're putting in place are going to become a fait accompli,” she says. “They are going to become part and parcel of an experience that is well designed, that is welcoming, that is warm.”

She predicts that this summer will be “the summer of reunion. So, while the protocols have to be in place, I think we can easily talk about this pent-up demand, and how leisure is really leading the industry's return.”

To succeed in this new environment, Decker says, one of the best things you can do is “be a terrific partner”—and that starts with ensuring that “the people that you are working with, the comms team, know exactly what you're doing.”

She also talks about the difference between working with corporate brands and family-owned companies. “Especially with corporate, you have to be so very careful about what you say, especially if you're looking forward with a publicly traded company. With a family-owned company where the ownership is so close to the communications challenge, it's much quicker to get an approval.”

It’s also important to keep the lines of communications open with your employees, she says. “I do think that as we start to come back, we want to bring a team that is prepared and whose expectations are being met so that they can do the best work for us.”

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Interested in taking part? Contact Doug Simon at [email protected]

D S Simon Media helps clients get their stories on television through satellite media tours and by producing and distributing content to the media. The company also produces live social media events.