A bright and shiny future has arrived for the hospitality industry: One in which everything is polished and sanitized to a sterile and germ-free shine, and for lack of a wide, tooth-faced grin with which to welcome your guests, contactless communications will have to take on the challenge of making guests feel special from behind the masks, and without anyone crossing the social distancing barrier.
Relaxation and fun take on a whole new dynamic in 2020 as holiday destinations’ first priority becomes to reassure and diffuse fears and anxiety around health and hygiene. To get this right is to get ahead quickly.
Protect your guests above and beyond
While laws, regulations, and self-preservation will have the post-COVID19 guest wearing face masks and carrying hand sanitizer, hotels will need to find new ways to impress. Presenting visible cleaning logs and checklists, as well as certifications and trust symbols online and around your property keeps your cleanliness standards top of mind. In addition, industry-leading partnerships, technology solutions and innovations can show your guests that you make the extra effort to prioritize their wellbeing.
Make sure the local area stays clean
If you have to get involved in the local community to ensure that your surroundings are safe and tidy, do it. Whatever you give to support your neighbors, you get back in brand perception and the security of your employees and guests. Besides, it shows grace and elegance to lend a helping hand where it is needed, and it often takes less effort than you may think at first. There is ultimately no way to control your surroundings but building relationships based on goodwill shows that you value others, and creates a foundation of trust. This can also be shared further in your online communications to showcase how you contribute to community health.
Keep your staff safe and sanitized
It’s not only about gloves and disinfectant. Make sure your staff is trained and retrained on hygiene measures and service standards. The future of hospitality also depends on a resilient mindset and a positive approach which could and should be reinforced by the business values of your hotel. Even if you have the most self-motivated staff, a little additional encouragement always does wonders for the general morale. Internal messaging tools can help to keep communication clear, look out for each other and pick up on any potential health risks quickly. Standing together on a human level is now more important to internal culture than ever.
Prepare a COVID-19 response plan
Communicate with your guests ahead of their stay, making clear all the measures and details you have in place to make them feel at ease before they arrive. This can be done publicly on your website and followed up with more personal, direct communication using online messaging tools. Do include clear information regarding cancellation policies in case this may be necessary. Moving over to instant on-site messaging tools is the next step in the customer journey and can be leveraged as a central tool for responding to any potential health issues on the spot. Ensure that your guests are aware of all the messaging tools you offer and how they benefit from full digitization before, during and after their stay.
Come clean on your status quo
Never before has it been so important to make your cleanliness efforts known to the wider public. Make sure you promote your certifications and initiatives, especially online. Ensuring visibility of your cleanliness efforts with future guests during the booking process is now an integral part of securing the deal. A consistent and clear indication of your pure and wholesome public health efforts, backed up by guest reviews, will give you that extra edge over the rest. That said; why not introduce your cleaning staff in (digital) person, bringing those responsible for this key task to the fore?
Now is the time to reposition your hotel by putting public health and cleanliness front and center. Build trust and exceed your customers’ expectations in order to win the long game, lure back and retain your guests. In all cases, communication is key to remaining virus-free and trustworthy.
Lize De Kock has a zest for technical innovation, writing, and traveling. She won the jackpot with the TrustYou team and has come to realize that you really can have it all. Lize draws her inpiration from good hotel rooms (with a view) and great restaurants.