2020 has been an incredible year, wouldn’t you agree?
The corona virus pandemic took the world by storm and brought it to a standstill.
The hospitality industry took the biggest hit. Hotels were forced to shut their doors to the public and wait it out. Restaurants didn’t fare any better. Flights were grounded and travel agencies starved.
But hope is rising.
As the months go by, more and more countries are opening their airports and allowing travellers in. The hospitality industry has started to swing back into action.
Many countries have given a reopening date to hotels. Now, there is a mad rush to put all the necessary requirements and changes in place to match up to safety recommendations.
The world may have conquered the pandemic (hopefully). But it has certainly left its mark and changed the way business will be conducted.
Want to find out?
In this post, we’d be looking at the changes that the Hotel business would expect as they reopen to the public.
First, we go to one of the most hit countries – the USA.
The USA travel has published a 15-page industry guide for promoting the health and safety of travellers. This guide was developed following guidelines from the CDC and the White House.
Here are a few headlines from the US Travel guide:
- Travel businesses should adapt operations, modify employee practices and/or redesign public spaces to help protect employees and customers.
- Travel businesses should consider implementing touchless solutions, where practical, to limit the opportunity for virus transmission while also enabling a positive travel experience.
- Travel businesses should adopt and implement enhanced sanitation procedures specifically designed to combat the transmission of COVID-19.
- Travel businesses should promote health screening measures for employees and isolate workers with possible COVID-19 symptoms and provide health resources to customers.
- Travel businesses should establish a set of procedures aligned with CDC guidance should an employee or customer test positive for COVID-19.
- Travel businesses should follow best practices in food and beverage service to promote health of employees and customers.
You can read the full guide here to get more detail.
The European Union published a white paper detailing a number of health & safety protocols that should be strictly adhered to by businesses in the hospitality industry. Here’s a summary of some of the guiding principles for the safe and gradual restoration of the tourism activities:
- All staff should be educated on fundamental preventive and control measures and should be aware of symptoms.
- Whenever the opportunity presents itself, staff should perform duties from their homes. And when this is impractical, steps should be taken to ensure physical contact is limited as much as possible.
- Businesses should seek the advice of the local public health authorities when it is time to apply measures that will affect the arrival, stay, and departure of travellers.
- Physical distancing must be enforced in areas prone to crowding.
- Businesses should consider protective measures in regards to cleaning high-traffic areas and such measures should be communicated to staffs.
As you can see, the guidelines published by the US Travel and the European Union contain similar public health protocols.
For hotels, following these guidelines is crucial to the success of your business when you reopen. Customers will be wary of establishments who default in observing health & safety measures.
Can you blame them?
Everyone is eager to get back to their normal lives: traveling, dining out, checking into a hotel, etc. but they want to feel safe do so.
With these public health protocols in place, there are 6 major changes hoteliers should in their businesses upon reopening.
The following changes will become the new normal:
Hotel management should expect to receive all payments virtually as credit cards and checks increase the risk of infection spread. This means they’d have to request payment from visitors before they even arrive on the property. To earn the trust of visitors, they’d have to back up the full advance payment with favourable cancellation policies.
Touchless Check-In Process
Where you’d normally have doormen, bellboys, and other check-in staff, visitors will be met with contactless check-in stations. Plus, they would have to rearrange check-in times in order to reduce human contact and also to allow time for proper sanitization.
Temperature Checks And PPEs
It will become the new standard to check the temperature of arriving guests using a temperature gun before checking them in. This will be accompanied by mandatory use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) such as face masks, face shields, gloves, and the use hand-sanitizers.
No More Buffets And Tray Change
Serve yourself buffets will no longer be allowed. Customers will have to pre-order their meals in advance and will be permitted to eat in their rooms. However, tray changes will be reduced or eliminated altogether.
Spas Will Not Be Allowed To Operate, For Now
While gyms and leisure centres will be reopened, hotels with spas and massage parlours will be mandated to keep them closed for the meantime. Guests would have to book their gym sessions in advance accompanied by staggered start times to prevent crowding. If swimming pools will be open to the public, swim lanes will be introduced.
In-Door Gathering Will Be Largely Limited
For the duration of the pandemic, eating and drinking in-doors will be eliminated and transferred to patio or outdoor settings. Kiddies groups or clubs will be taken outdoors to limit crowding.
While these changes will be inconveniencing and sometimes difficult to adhere to, they are important for the safety of both staffs and guests.
Every one of your guests wants to feel safe throughout their stay in your hotel. This means that most visitors do their homework to know what hotels have been marked as safe by other travellers.
And if your hotel is marked as unsafe, you will be off to a bad start.
There is one thing that won’t change in the hospitality industry – social Wi-Fi.
The pandemic will not stop guests from checking for the availability of social Wi-Fi in their hotel of choice. It is important that you factor that into your reopening priorities.
The best part is that with social Wi-Fi comes the ability to collect customer data.
With the right Wi-Fi marketing platform, you can gather valuable customer data and gain incredible insight of how customers are interacting with your business.
Want to know more?
Go ahead and shoot us a message through our contact us page.POSTED ON August 27, 2020