Will you still be in business in 2022?

Max Hitchins – aka The Hospitality Doctor in Australia, and the Wizard from Oz in the USA – has been focusing his attentions on helping the industry survive COVID-19.

It is estimated that 20 per cent of hospitality businesses have or will fail, due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has created havoc around the world between March 2020 and now.

Will your business be included in that 20 per cent? Whatever stage your county/area/region currently is in the pandemic cycle, it is important you act now to ensure you are not in that unfortunate group. This article is designed to help ensure you are still in business in 2022, and beyond.

Over the last twelve months I have researched with mentors, friends, colleagues and operators, asking for strategies and ideas based on their knowledge, skills and proficiency. I have collected video clips and stories from around the world that tell of these strategies and ideas and have incorporated them into an eBook titled Post Pandemic Thinking for Hospitality and Tourism.

Available at The Hospitality Doctor.

Here are two of the ideas we have devised to help beat the pandemic and stay in business.


One person who has inspired me throughout my career in the hospitality industry is Teddy Roosevelt

(US President 1901 - 1909). He once said: “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care”.

Teddy Roosevelt

A particularly memorable thing that happened to me during the COVID isolation period in Australia in 2020 was a telephone call from a staff member of our local member,

Will you still be in business in 2022?


Trent Zimmerman. The caller said: “Hello Mr Hitchins. My boss asked me to call you to see if you are OK, and if there is anything we can do for you to help you get through to the other side of the pandemic?”.

At the time, I barely knew Zimmerman, but I found this strategy of having one of his staff contact me very impressive. What a simple and effective thing to do. I give Zimmerman the credit for motivating me to write my eBook, and I have written and thanked him for doing so. Today, I have a new good friend, and he has a new loyal supporter.

Whatever size your hotel or pub is, I recommend adopting this idea and doing something similar, contacting all the people in your database. It is easy to get a call centre to make these calls for you, but I suggest you the owner, or the general manager, dedicate some time to call your ‘very best’ customers.

You may choose to have selected staff members make calls to much of your database. It could be a regular ‘to do’ task, as part of your daily marketing strategy. Staffers could systematically do two to five calls a day, and simply ask: “How are you doing now in these pandemic times? Is there anything we can do to help you?”

Remember to do some training with your staff first. Give them telephone conversation guidelines and play-act the calls.

Does the idea work?

I recently received an email from Bec Hepworth. She is a Senior Account Director at advertising & PR agency Admentum.

“Hi Max. A note to say thank you for the many ideas you crammed into Post Pandemic Thinking For Hospitality and Tourism. I've already had success from the very first idea you mention in the eBook.

“We certainly had a downturn in our business, so I decided to follow your advice and call all our clients to ask if they were OK. They were pleasantly surprised when they realised I genuinely cared about how they were faring, not just from a business perspective. The conversations naturally turned into how I could help their businesses through this difficult time.

“I believe this simple act has prompted our clients to see us in a whole new light. We have already received a number of new briefs and business has certainly picked up. This is particularly so in the events space, which is an area we thought would take a long time to get back up and running! Thanks again, Max!”


Winston Marsh is one of the marketing gurus I approached about contributing to my eBook.

“Pre-pandemic or post-pandemic Max,” wrote Winston Marsh, “Many business basics never change.”

Here is an example: If you are in love then you’d probably say that the best words you can ever hear are contained in the simple phrase/sentence “I love you!”

In business, if you love your customers and you want them to love you, the best words your clients can ever hear are “Thank you!”.

And while you may initially be sceptical about the idea of loving your customers, it is something you’ve absolutely got to do if you plan to stay in business for the long haul. You need to make it part of the way you and the rest of the team do things through the business.

Loving them does not mean physically, it simply means you ensure customers feel appreciated, respected and valued. You demonstrate that you appreciate them, and when you do, they will keep coming back – and bring their friends with them.

The love can be shown by saying:

  • “Thank you for calling” when they telephone for information
  • “Thank you for letting us know” if they have a complaint
  • “Thank you for the referral” when they send in a friend
  • “Thank you for waiting” if you have to ask them to wait

There are two other groups that deserve the same big, generous thanks: your suppliers, and your colleagues. Generally speaking, these people are the first to cop it when they do something wrong, but rarely do they receive a “thank you” when they do something right.

Try telling a supplier “Thank you for getting that to us so promptly” or surprise an employee with a “Thank you for getting that job done so quickly”. You might be amazed how contagious the “thank you virus” can be, and when people catch it … they’ll love doing business with you.