Life After COVID-19 – An Industry Wide Analysis


The first half of 2020 has resembled something out of a horror movie as the virus that shall-not-be-named threw the world into upheaval. Whilst effects (in some form) have been universal the impacts have been varied on differing industries. Many industries have been absolutely devastated, while others have had to be nimble and quickly adapt to survive, then there are the lucky few that have been somewhat unaffected. We spoke to thought-leaders from a diverse pool of businesses to gather insights into the hurdles and opportunities COVID-19 has presented. 

From travel and hospitality to events and construction, all experts in their field highlighting that while the repercussions have been wide-reaching there is a great sense of promise for what is to come. 

Luke Butler, Specialist & Executive Recruitment Agency, Hastings People’s MD and ex Keystone Group, General Manager said the most surprising thing to come out of the hospitality industry during the pandemic has been “the speed with which the industry came together. It has traditionally been a competitive, segmented industry however there has been a real shift towards businesses collaborating and helping each other out which is great”. It has been inspiring to see business, groups and individuals supporting one another and working towards a common goal. Luke has however said that hospitality businesses are not out of the woods “getting through the first six months of trade will be the primary challenge for all businesses. Revenue will be low and costs will normalise. I think the biggest opportunity is within the event space. New solutions/options are needed for guests, and innovation will be critical to success.” 

While the blows to the hospitality industry have been widely examined, construction is an industry segment that has been considered to have remained largely unaffected, however there are significant ramifications that we may continue to see for some time. Jason Cashman, Made Property, Project Manager told us “the impacts on the construction industry have been multifaceted. The impacts have included; disruptions to the global and domestic supply of materials with shortages, delivery delays and an increase in cost, greater pressure placed on the industry by government enforced constraints and the implementation of another level of risk mitigation, all disrupting the construction program and delivery.” Jason also foresees that “the industry will be changed forever, with the overhaul of WHS plans and risk assessments and the introduction of new safety measures. This could be a positive move as a safe workforce is an efficient and motivated workforce.” 

The industry in the most distress as a result of COVID-19, is the travel industry. Kate Cameron, General Manager of Travel Partners (part of the Flight Centre Travel Group’s network) says “Nothing surprising has come of out COVID-19, as travel agents are forced to bunker down to find a way out.” When asked what the biggest challenge and/or opportunity for SME travel agents coming out of the pandemic, “the focus goes back to the customer” she says, “Agents need to stay connected to their clients and pivot fast to get customers moving as soon as they’re allowed to do so.” A common misconception is that travel agents aren’t busy right now, whereas in fact “agents are busier than they’ve ever been, helping customers rearrange and deal with booked travel plans.”

It’s safe to say that the travel industry will be the last to bounce back fully post COVID and whether it will look the same is still very uncertain. The voluntary administration of Virgin Australia and now Hertz declaring bankruptcy, indicates signs of fragility in the industry right now and more of what we might expect going into the future. “The industry is incredibly resilient and tough” says Kate “We’re going to come out COVID-19 and be stronger from it”. 

A ban on large gatherings was one of the first restrictions implemented, and overnight many businesses connected to the events space were crippled. Julie Little, Director of Sydney event & catering institution, The Fresh Collective said the impact of COVID-19 was “swift, dramatic and intense”. Coming out of the pandemic and staying afloat will be no mean feat for any event-related company, Julie said The Fresh Collective will need to “dramatically adjust [their] day-to-day operations immediately”. Communication with both staff and clients is going to be key. However there will be light as Julie sees new business potential “with the new restrictions and changes there will also be new business opportunities based on changes to client’s needs and requirements as everyone adjusts to the new normal

One of Brisbane’s iconic watering hole’s – QA Hotel General Manager Alannah says that one of the best things she has seen come out of COVID is the sense of community within the hospitality industry particularly, venues, groups and alike individuals showing support for others, yet the biggest challenge the industry will experience is yet to be seen. “With a lot of people having lost their jobs in this industry, some businesses may be on the brink of not being able to open again” she says. Hospitality workers in Australia, who form a reasonable proportion of the Australian workforce might also “look at gaining work in a different industry that could be considered more reliable”. All in all, this presents unique opportunities for a lot of businesses who can start again in a new and exciting way that will “change the game forever”.

COVID-19 had the country in a tight stranglehold, wiping out income streams and industries altogether. A devastating time for Australia and the world at-large. While we start to see an ease in restrictions and some new norm return the effects of the pandemic will be felt into the future with consumers’ habits changing, companies now must be more agile than ever.

Want to prepare your business for life after COVID-19? Get in touch with us at Find + Seek – hello@findandseekdigital.com.au