The Impact Of COVID-19 On The Hospitality And Weddings Industry

The impact of COVID-19 on the hospitality and weddings industry has been devastating to say the least.This could not have happened at a worse time for our industry. The high season for weddings in South Africa is anywhere from January to April. Broadly speaking South Africa boasts long, hot summers and is known for its sunshine and beautiful sunsets during this time. At Vrede en Lust we host many international guests and local wine lovers , hence why the timing of this pandemic is so bad.

COVID-19 has caused havoc, heartbreak and devastation.

As International travel restrictions started, we started noticing big changes. Wedding guests were not able to leave their home countries to attend their loved one’s weddings. Weddings intended to host a hundred guests, dropped down to forty guests within a week, or even a day. Then South Africa closed their borders to stop the flow from high risk countries. We were all waiting for this to happen, and I just don’t think we truly understood the impact that this pandemic would have on our industry. All our international couples, especially those from high risk countries, had to either cancel or postpone their weddings.

As a result, we went into disaster management trying to assist the couples in finding alternative dates. Our goal is to ensure that every couple is still able to make their special day come true. It is extremely unfortunate for our international guests who had saved for months for their trips and for that to be cancelled on such short notice.

The Hospitality industry had to act, not only against the virus but also to maintain damage control. We had to educate all our employees on the correct hygiene and sanitisation procedures for all the facilities and equipment, as they have all been exposed to international travellers. Establishments had to encourage their guests to rather postpone their bookings, rather than just cancelling them. They started offering guests flexible cancellation/postponement policies as well as agreeing to waive all fees. This assisted in building a better relationship with these travellers. Booking Portals such as; Tripadvisor and many others have suggested offering substantial discounts for year-end bookings. Hopefully, this will encourage guests to book now for these trips as this will bring in cash flow for establishments. These bookings will only be confirmed once international travel restrictions and guidelines have been lifted.