Recognizing Member Needs During a Crisis

coronavirus cellThe three segments of the economy hardest hit by the effects of COVID-19 shutdowns and business operation restrictions include the hotel, restaurant, and travel industries. Even after business restrictions are removed and businesses are allowed to resume operation at some level, consumers may not dine out, stay at a hotel, or fly for many months, according to The Harris Poll. Survey results show that it may take two to three months before the majority of Americans feel comfortable dining in a restaurant and four to six months to stay in a hotel or fly on a plane.

A few steps taken by associations to helps members during the crisis and in preparation for recovery include:

  • Free access to continuously updated information related to the restaurant, hotel, and travel industry was provided by the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association (PRLA) via its website.
  • To ensure members continued to receive valuable articles during the crisis, the California Hotel & Lodging Association switched production of its magazine from a print to a digital publication to minimize handling by multiple people and deliver it in a timelier manner.
  • PRLA suspended dues collections during the crisis and will roll out a restaurant and small hotel dues model that reflects lagging revenue in the upcoming months. Read more from the PRLA here.

There are many associations with members who have not been hit as hard by COVID-19 as the travel and hospitality industries. While these associations may and should continue to reach out to members for renewals as normally scheduled, remember to keep messages focused on member value:

  • Recap lobbying efforts by the association to ensure members were deemed “essential” during shutdowns or to negotiate regulatory changes to help businesses during the crisis.
  • Describe resources made available to members to help them navigate the myriad of changing rules and programs.
  • Outline future efforts to continue supporting members as businesses re-open and members navigate their recovery from the crisis.