Life After Lockdown; How Hotels are Preparing to Reopen Post Covid

June 26, 2020, 08:53 PM EDT

Now that many countries have released the dates that hotels can reopen their doors to the public, hoteliers are rushing to make the necessary changes and improvements to their accommodation in line with current recommendations. We decided to take a closer look at some of these guidelines to see how different countries are preparing to keep their hotels and tourists safe. 

 In the USA a lot of emphasis has been placed on testing and screening for both employees and customers. One document produced by US Travel makes the following suggestions: 

  • Employees should not report to work if sick and self isolate in the event they show symptoms
  • Hotels should provide plenty of signage and communications explaining symptoms and encouraging travellers to stay home if unwell. 
  • A set of protocols should be established in line with CDC guidance and strictly adhered to if a staff member or guest test positive 

The EU has written a white paper outlining a set of health protocols for hospitality establishments. Some of their guiding principles and suggestions conclude that:

  • Staff should be aware of symptoms and briefed on basic prevention and control measures.
  • Where possible staff should perform duties from home but if this isn’t an option measures to decrease their physical contact should be considered. 
  • When it comes to  implementing measures that will affect a travellers arrival, stay and departure, the advice from local public health authorities should be followed. 
  • Physical distancing should be achievable in communal areas where guests are likely to gather. 
  • Protective measures with regards to cleaning and sanitation should be considered and then communicated to staff and guests. 

Everyone wants to feel safe and protected for as long as this situation continues.

So how does these recommendations look like they’ll translate when it comes to the actual running of a hotel? Our research concludes the following changes will likely become commonplace for many hospitality providers:

  • It looks like Covid-19 will hasten the switch from cash payments to digital. It’s expected that payments will often be taken prior to a guests arrival but backed by plenty of cancellation policies designed to favor the customer. 
  • It’s imagined that the check in process will become a far more stripped back affair in many hotels with doormen, bellboys and check in staff being made more conspicuous by their absence. This will be replaced by contactless check in and staggered check in times to limit human contact and allow extra time for rooms to receive a thorough clean.  
  • Temperature checks will be standard in many places and complimentary masks, hand sanitiser and gloves will make their way into public spaces to provide guests with added reassurance. 
  • The all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet will be a thing of the past with customers preordering from a menu the evening before and with some hotels eliminating the room tray charge, it’s likely many guests will choose to eat in their rooms. 
  • Where possible, activities like eating and drinking will be relocated to patio areas and kids clubs will be operated outdoors instead. 
  • It seems as though many spas will remain suspended for the duration of the pandemic although some hotel leisure centres and gyms are staying open. In order to maintain social distancing guests may need to prebook their sessions and swim lanes will likely be introduced to pools with guests following a one way system. 

While not perfect solutions, if you choose to adopt similar approaches you can be sure they will not go unnoticed by your guests. Everyone wants to feel safe and protected for as long as this situation continues. It will certainly go a long way towards increasing consumer confidence and surely nothing can be as important as that.