By THE NATION
Many industries across the world have had to halt economic activities in order to prevent or control infections, and though the outbreak has started to abate, the economies have not started recovering. At this period, countries are starting to cautiously lift lockdowns to prevent a potential second wave of infections.
Nevertheless, the business sector can consider this crisis as a lesson in strengthening their preparedness. One of these businesses is Minor International Pcl (MINT), a global leader in hospitality, food and lifestyle industries. It has persevered through the deep recession triggered by the pandemic, and is illustrating that diversification will help it grow stronger.
William Heinecke, chair of Minor International’s board, said the outbreak has taught the company lessons.
The first is that hygiene certificates will convince customers to use services during the period of lifting of lockdown measures.
For instance, the Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel was awarded the Tourism of Authority of Thailand (TAT)’s “Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration: SHA” certificate as well as the Hotel Facility with High Hygiene and Safety Standards certificate from the Public Health Ministry’s Department of Health. These certificates help guarantee guests’ safety.
Other hotels under Minor International have also submitted requests for hygiene and safety certificates in order to reassure guests using Minor Hotels, which are using Ecolab and Diversy brand sanitising equipment. These brands offer high-quality cleaning tools designed specifically for the food service industry as well as for food processing, hospitality and healthcare industries.
Cleaning products used in Minor Hotels have the same level of quality as those used in hospitals, and every effort is being made to keep items touched by guests, such as keycards and pens in lobbies and hotel rooms, regularly disinfected.
Minor International is also adapting to the digital age in operations. In the post-Covid era, more and more people are leaning towards digital transactions, which are both convenient and safe. Though restaurants were stopped from providing dine-in services during the lockdown period, Minor International began providing online food-delivery services.
Heinecke added that one of the most important lessons learned is diversifying investment. He said operating in just one particular industry will pose a lot of problems, but if businesses diversity across multiple industries and regions, they will still gain revenue and manage to survive. They will also be able to reduce risks and limit losses caused by economic instability.
Minor operates in the Asia-Pacific, Middle East, Africa, Indian Ocean, Europe and America markets.
Despite the impact of Covid-19, the food delivery business and the online lifestyle store business have grown due to changes in consumer behaviour.
However, the impact of this crisis will not be permanent. Though the tourism industry has suffered from natural disasters and political instability, it has always recovered and now that countries are carefully lifting restrictions, domestic tourism will pick up followed by regional tourism, which will benefit Minor Hotels.
Minor owns more than 530 hotels in 55 countries, as well as many large restaurant brands such as Sizzler, The Pizza Company and Burger King that serve western food, and Thai Benihana, Thai Express and Bonchon for Asian tastes. It also has popular dessert brands such as Swensen’s and Dairy Queen.
Heinecke also said that Minor International also sells lifestyle products under Anello, Bodum, Bossini, Brooks Brothers, Charles & Keith, Esprit, Etam, Joseph Joseph, OVS, Radley, Scomadi, Zwilling JA. Henckels and Minor Smart Kids brands. He said business diversification will help support the business once consumer demand returns. Minor International is ready to respond to demand everywhere regardless of the industry or region.