Crowded hotel lobbies, long lines to check-in, packed hotel bars, & ballrooms packed as full as the fire marshal would allow are a thing of the past. The Coronavirus will have an impact on how hotels return to business and operate for years to come.
Given the financial implications, hotels are motivated to open in this new world and prove that they can provide a safe environment for all. Given that luxury properties can take years to build and bring to operation, how can these same properties make such drastic operational changes in response to the pandemic? Brands are communicating global guidance with the expectation of local execution with dozens of expected protocols.
- Health screenings and temperature checks at entry with directive to a local medical care if needed
- Masks mandatory in every hotel uniform; guests encouraged to wear masks and hotels to offer access to PPE when needed
- Physical barriers in places like the front desk, hostess stand, or between machines in the gym
- Redesigned lobby, restaurant, pools and public spaces to allow for social distancing from guests that are not part of your family or group
- More mobile and digital opportunities like check-in, key reprints or settling a folio so check-in and check-out can be contact-less
- Lower occupancy to limit guests on property
- Protocols for compromised or infected guests so guest rooms will be placed out of inventory until proper sanitation protocols are completed
- Deeper more frequent cleanings in public spaces with a greater more dedicated housekeeper presence
- Reduced in-house guest room housekeeping service to limit contact with guests
- Hand washing with sanitation stations throughout public areas
These protocols will vary from destination to destination and brand to brand but we are about to enter a time of change and evolution.
Hotels are battling to bring back individual business meanwhile the impact to group business looks to be much bigger. It’s likely that how these changes are implemented for leisure will catapult groups to examine event strategies and implement for larger crowds. As planners, it’s time to be innovative…our industry is no stranger to challenges and it will be exciting to see how groups can thrive in this new normal.
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