Reopening hotels safely will mean reducing as many touch points as possible
Restricted occupancy, constant cleaning, and contactless everything; the covid-secure measures being implemented across the hospitality sector.
Hotels perhaps face the biggest challenge to operate safely and maintain the high standards of customer experience paying customers expect.
Restricted movement and occupancy
Like all reopening establishments, there is a huge effort being undertaken to minimise touch points and maintain social distances.
One-way systems are therefore likely to become a feature of hotels, in an attempt to reduce the number of close contacts.
In the same vein, occupancy itself might be lower at least in the first few months.
Fewer people in the building, means fewer customer-to-customer interactions.
Additionally, a reduced capacity in the short term will help hotel staff with an initial period of adjustment.
A new way of working normally brings with it new and unforeseen challenges.
Furthermore, restricting access to portions of the hotel, ensures that refurbishments and covid-secure adaptations can take place before the hotel opens, or while the hotel is still operating.
For those guests and staff within the hotel, the social distancing rules will apply.
The guidance on social distancing actually differ from country-to-country; as we all know, this is currently 2 metres in the UK but in France for instance only 1 metre is required.
Furthermore, at present there is considerable pressure from the UK hospitality sector to reduce the distance to 1 metre and a review is currently (time of writing) underway. *
From the moment you arrive at the hotel you will immediately notice covid-secure measures in action.
At very least, the receptionists will be safely behind clear plastic screens and cash-less payments will be expected.
Some hotels however may choose to roll out contactless check-in, instead relying on technology.
The uptake of virtual key systems, such as the examples used by the Hilton Hotel group and Marriott hotels for some time, could feature more in most big hotel chains.
In fact, Marriott’s Bonvoy phone app allows guests to access the hotel’s services without needing to touch any surfaces or interact with hotel staff.
The app can function as a room key, a check-in tool, a device to order food items, and even allows the guest to order extra towels to their room.
One hotel director described the ideal planning app “to generate a welcome the moment you arrive at the hotel, to create a virtual key, for the lift to take you to the right floor without having to touch a button.”
Room service and dining
Room service deliveries will be made by hotel workers in masks and gloves and only during specific hours, again the assist in movement planning.
This will be a similar story in the dining room where the waiting staff will follow suit. Many hotels are installing screens between tables in their dining rooms.
Again, technology might assist here with greater adoption of remote food and drinks ordering through a mobile app (such as the Wetherspoons pub example) or tablet supplied at the table.
This would go some way to limiting the number of interactions between customers and staff.
And, it almost goes without saying that buffet-style dining options will probably not be making a reappearance any time soon.
Whilst both the amount of and frequency of cleaning regimes is clearly going to increase throughout the hotel at large, there is a consensus that individual room cleaning will reduce to minimise risk of spreading the virus.
I.e. cleaning would not be done on daily basis unless specifically requested by the customer.
The configuration of rooms might also change, so that they are quicker and easier to clean – more continuous or non-porous surfaces.
Anti-microbial paints and coatings could be utilised to refurbish rooms, before guests are welcomed back into the hotel.
As such, coffee makers and similar potential touch points might disappear from hotel rooms and any welcome package could soon contain your own supply of hand sanitiser, gloves, a face mask and a copy of the hotel covid rulebook.
Novus are ready to help
As always, Novus are ready to help you plan and refurbish to become covid-secure.
We are a respected name within the hospitality sector and trusted by some of the biggest names in the business.
Just a selection of the huge range of hotel refurbishment projects we have undertaken are available to view on “our work” page.
*Update: Since the time of writing the 2 metre social distance rule has been reduced to 1 metre+
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