The race to get a CoVid-19 vaccine has gotten started in India, I believe. With a late start to the vaccination programme around here and piecemeal vaccine orders, it became a race to get vaccinated quickly. As per data available up to May 30, 2021, 209 Million doses were administered across India, and 43.1 Million people are fully vaccinated.
The adversity gave rise to opportunity in many shapes and forms. There has been enough ink spent on the INR 0.13 Million vaccination trips to Russia, which never took off after going viral. Hospitals that can offer the vaccination privately at cost have been tieing up with corporates to offer their employees and their families, in some cases, the CoVid-19 vaccine.
However, there has been a new wave of commercialisation of the vaccination programme, which, unfortunately, has been killed in its infancy. Over the past few days, a flyer from Radisson Hitec City Hyderabad went viral, offering a vaccine and a hotel room.
Honestly, I found it pretty interesting as an offer since out of INR 2,999, approximately one-third the amount would go to the hospital conducting the vaccination anyway, assuming they charged market rates. So, for just INR 2,000 ballpark, one could get a room as well as two meals. Some conditions apply, which could mean this is a double occupancy rate or something else. We could not discover these conditions because the hotel never placed any in the public domain.
But this could be a template that hotels across India could use to scale up their business, which has been not doing very well over the months due to the pandemic. City hotels have been only getting 10-12% occupancy. You can imagine how they are reeling with overhead costs, negligible hotel occupancy, rates kept low to encourage occupancy and no events business as well at this time.
Indian Government bans vaccinations at hotels.
Now, the Government of India issued an order announcing that these offers were not in line with the guidelines of the vaccination programme and needed to be discontinued immediately.
The memo says that hotels and hospitals coming together is not in the spirit of the vaccination drive against CoVid-19, and it did not check the significant box.
I guess the hotels were only good for when they tied up with hospitals to offer CoVid-19 care facilities over the months, and in some cases, even gave these away for free to those who need them. Still, when trying to resurrect their business innovatively with people who are willing to pay for the vaccine, it becomes a problem.
Hotels pay v high taxes & employ a large section of our citizens.
The hospitality industry is facing a severe crisis due to #COVID19 & Lockdowns. If hotels tie up & offer a package what is wrong? It's a way to revive the industry & help people get vaccinated. https://t.co/lZDPMzOLJz
— Tehseen Poonawalla Official (@tehseenp) May 30, 2021
In Mumbai, there was a case with the Lalit Hotel near the airport, where a surprise inspection by the mayor of the city found that the hospital they tied up with had stored the vaccines without proper temperature control.
A hotel in India decided to offer paid vaccinations and a room to those interested as a package deal. This got noticed by the Government of India which has ruled that such tie-ups are not permitted under the existing national vaccination drive. Hence, hotels are not allowed to make such tie-ups and offer these packages anymore.
Who do you think is in the right in this situation, the government or the hotel?
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