When the coronavirus pandemic took over the world, many businesses shut their doors and more than 5,000 American hotels closed in March and April, and 70% of hotel employees got laid off.
With the U.S. gradually reopening after weeks of strict stay-at-home-orders, these establishments will start welcoming visitors once again.
The protocols to maintain health and safety will likely vary from state to state and even county to county. For instance, California labeled hotels as high-risk, allowing them to resume operations during “Stage 3” of its reopening plan. On the other hand, Texas and Florida deemed hotels as essential services and permitted them to remain open during the pandemic.
As a hotelier, it will be your duty to stay up-to-date on your area’s mandates and regulations. Still, what can you expect moving forward?
Fewer Available Amenities
Specific amenities may not be available to prevent the transmission of the disease. For example, you may close the dining room at the on-site restaurant and offer takeout only.
While pools and fitness centers may open with social distancing guidelines, some hotels may prefer to keep them closed. Many properties are also suspending spa and valet services.
Regulated Health Checks
Hotels are implementing mandatory temperature checks for both guests and staff. Anyone who feels ill or has a fever should not be allowed inside.
Properties should also ask health screening questions such as:
- Have you been tested for COVID-19?
- Have you experienced any COVID-19 symptoms?
- Have you cared for or visited anyone diagnosed with COVID-19?
- Have you traveled to a high-infection area in the past 30 days?
- Have you received treatment in a health care facility in the past 30 days?
Health and Sanitation Training
You can and should establish guidelines for hotel cleaning standards and measures employees should take, such as washing hands and wearing face masks. Train staff on cleaning protocols, including proper use of germ-killing products and the sanitation of commonly touched surfaces like door handles, elevator buttons and public restrooms.
On-Site Signage and Guidance
Guests will likely have questions and concerns about which rules they must follow while staying at your hotel. Give them answers by hanging up signage in common areas, on doors and in rooms. Ask that patrons wear masks and practice social distancing by maintaining a space of six feet between them and other individuals.
No-Contact Check-In Options
Some hotels are offering guests the option of contactless check-in. Patrons can download the hotel’s app to complete the process and use their phone as a digital key to their rooms. The app uses photo verification technology that requires users to remove their masks and take a picture, which typically matches up to the image on their driver’s license or other ID.
The Future of Hotel Services Amid COVID-19
Many health experts say the pandemic won’t die down soon, despite states reopening and eliminating shelter-in-place orders. As such, hoteliers should expect these protocol changes to continue into 2021. Take steps now to protect the health of your staff and guests and prevent another shutdown.
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Kacey Bradley is the blogger behind The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. Along with writing for her blog, she has written for sites like U.S. News, SUCCESS, Ruffled, and more!