How will travel after covid 19 look like? We explore some of the safety measures that you may see on your next holiday.
A glance into hotel safety measures after COVID-19
The lockdowns worldwide are slowly de-escalating and life seems to be slowly but surely starting to return back to “normal” after the COVID-19. Hotels around the world are slowly starting to open up for business again, which is great for hospitalians, travellers and businesses alike. But through the consequence of COVID-19 the reopening of these establishments will happen with strict guidelines in place to ensure the safety and health of both employees and guests. Therefore, let's take a look at what some hotels around the world are doing to ensure the safety of their customers in the aftermath of the global pandemic.
As a small disclaimer, we will take a look at global hospitality businesses and their implementations of their safety measures. These are within the parameters set by each county’s government. As different countries have different safety guidelines, these may vary from the situation in your own home country.
Firstly, let's take a look at how some of the biggest organizations in the world are attempting to assist the hospitality industry in its recovery. The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) have launched a series of global guidelines to assist hospitality businesses worldwide to resume their operations and support them in strong and sustainable recovery. These guidelines advise governments and businesses alike on how they can reopen businesses and the tourism industry in a safe and sustainable way. The focus is in designing safety and security protocols to promote confidence in travellers and reduce the risks of virus spread in both employees and customers.
The UNWTO suggests the implementation of check procedures, such as: “temperature scans, testing, physical distancing , enhanced frequency of cleaning and the provision of hygiene kits for safe air travel, hospitality services or safe events.” The UNWTO advises the following guidelines to be implemented by all businesses in the hospitality sector when reopening for business:
1) Increase the frequency of cleaning in common areas and contact surfaces.
2) Inform guests about existing protocols in an easy and updated manner.
3) Explore new methods such as electrostatic sprays, ultraviolet lights amongst others.
4) Implement contactless check-in and provide guests with a hygiene welcome kit (including gloves, masks, sanitizer).
5) Get to know more about your guest in advance to the arrival to provide a more personalized service.
6) Keep spare rooms for possible sick or quarantine guests.
7) Keep physical distancing for the use of all common spaces.
8) Introduce technological systems such as “guest messaging” for direct and rapid contact with guests for reservations, refunds, cancellations or possible information about infections.
9) Foster flexibility with operations
10) Create positions such as hygiene manager and guest guardian
In addition to these health and safety guidelines for hospitality businesses, the UNWTO has also issued advice for marketing and maintaining communication and transparency between customers and advising businesses to demonstrate to the public how they are implementing their new measures. They also advise hospitality businesses to partner with local health and hygiene brands and providers.
Let’s take a look at some of the leading hospitality brands, and how they are already implementing these guidelines set by the UNWTO.
The leading brand of hotels worldwide, Marriott International has recently launched their Global Cleanliness Council to advance their hotels’ capabilities of enforcing cleanliness and training staff to combat COVID-19. In addition, Marriott is launching new technologies such as electrostatic sprayers with hospital grade disinfectants to clean rooms, common areas and room keys more thoroughly. The brand has also launched changes to their normal cleanliness routines, focussing specifically on Surface Areas, Guest Contact and Food Safety.
The company is working closely with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to update and implement new protocols as necessary, to ensure the health and safety of customers and employees. This includes everything from: “safety, sanitation and social distancing protocols, to providing appropriate personal protective equipment and access to hand sanitizers while on property.”
Marriott has also launched their Mobile Application for functions such as: check in/ check out services, requests, chat and room service ordering. This application had already been implemented in some properties prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, but has since been rolled out globally in all Marriott properties.
You can read more about Marriott’s policies here
The luxury hotel brand Four Seasons has launched a new program called Lead With Care, in partnership with Johns Hopkins Medicine International. This allows Four Seasons to partner with one of the leaders in global medical care and have access to the latest developments and guidelines to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. It also allows them to educate their employees to best take care of their guests.
Four Seasons president of Global Operations, Christian Clerc has stated:
“Along with already-commonplace measures such as more sanitizers, masks and heightened cleaning and hygiene, our collaboration with Johns Hopkins equips our property teams with access to leading international experts and real-time COVID-19 information, enhancing our tools and training to deliver an experience grounded in safety and trust.”
The phases of the Lead With Care program include: Review and Validation, where Four Seasons and John Hopkins Medicine International will review the existing health and safety procedures of the properties, and enhance them as necessary as a response to the global situation. In the second phase, Ongoing Guidance, Four Seasons will receive the latest guidance and updates regarding the virus, so that they can revise, review and implement new strategies as necessary.
In addition to this, each Four Seasons property now has an appointed hygiene officer, who is in charge of reviewing and implementing hygiene protocols at the property. Four Seasons has enhanced their health and safety program to include Enhanced Cleanliness, Heightened Guest Safety and Comfort and Empowering Employees. You can read further details about these policies here.
Hilton has also followed suit and launched its own program titled Hilton CleanStay. Hilton has partnered with leading disinfectant brand Lysol (Dettol) and the Mayo Clinic Infection Prevention and Control team. They have included new standards to their cleaning which include: Hilton CleanStay Room Seal, 10 High-Touch Deep Clean Areas, De-cluttering of Paper Amenities, Focus on Fitness Centers, Guest-Accessible Disinfecting Wipes, Clean and Clean Again, Contactless Check In and Innovative Disinfection Techniques. For more information visit the following website.
In addition, Hilton Hotels are using a Digital Key application on guest’s phones to allow them access to their rooms, limiting the usage of physical keys.
It is evident that these global hotel chains are establishing huge measures to ensure the health, safety and well being of both their customers and their employees to cope in the hospitality industry after covid 19. These partnerships and programs will not only work to reduce the spread of the virus, but will help in allowing the hospitality industry to resume their operations shortly. It is great to see the initiative and collaborations that leading businesses around the world are instigating as a collaborative effort to combat the virus and its effects.
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