Although hardly any of us are traveling right now, eventually we will. Hotels realize that most of us will be very apprehensive about health and safety in those early days of travel, and with good reason. Until a vaccine is available worldwide, any of us are still at risk for transmission of coronavirus. So hoteliers are planning and making the necessary changes NOW, to ensure their hotels are safe for us. Here’s what some brands are doing:
IHG’s website discusses the updates they’ve made in light of coronavirus:
Our number one priority is your health, safety and well-being. We are closely monitoring developments around the world and are in contact with global organizations including the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and relevant authorities for country-specific requirements, to ensure the actions we take are comprehensive and suitable.
All our hotels are required to adhere to comprehensive health and safety procedures including all local laws. In addition, we provide our hotels with best practices and guidelines and have supplemented these resources with additional COVID-19 cleanliness specific guidance, training and information consistent with our own high standards.
- Activation of response teams to provide around-the-clock assistance to our hotels.
- Hotels have increased the frequency of cleaning public areas (including lobbies, elevators, door handles, public bathrooms) and high-touch points in guest rooms.
- All hotels have been advised on cleaning products and protocols which are effective against viruses.
- We continue to review food and beverage service in accordance with current food safety recommendations.
Hilton has offered 1 million rooms to frontline U.S. healthcare workers who are helping with the coronavirus crisis. Hampton by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, DoubleTree by Hilton and other Hilton brands will be used. However, obviously, much of the changes they’re making to accommodate those people will be permanent changes to keep all of their guests safe.
As per a press release:
Hotels will be staffed by Team Members who have received additional training on relevant health and safety measures to safeguard their own and their guests’ well-being. Hotel rooms and common areas will continue to be sanitized using industrial grade cleaners and updated cleaning protocols. In some high-demand locations, room availability may be limited at times.
They’re also looking at single-serve foods instead of a traditional buffet, signing up for gym slots to allow for social distancing and cleaning between usage, as well as possibly having select in-room gym equipment.
Choice Hotels discusses the updates they’ve made in light of coronavirus:
Our commitment to health and safety
The health and safety of guests is a top priority for Choice Hotels and its thousands of independently owned and operated franchised hotels:
- We have shared best practices with our hotel owners regarding heightened cleaning, sanitation and disinfecting protocols. Our vendors provide our hotels with training to meet these standards and necessary cleaning supplies that may be used to combat the spread of COVID-19.
- We have adjusted most on-property food and beverage service to focus on pre-packaged offerings.
- We have activated our response teams to provide around-the-clock guidance and support to our hotels.
- We continue to provide our hotel owners with up-to-date information and training from vendors and health authorities (including the CDC website) through our online portal.
- Hotels may be changing services and amenities to comply with local jurisdictional requirements and support public health best practices to flatten the spread of the Coronavirus.
Marriott is upping its game considerably, with increased frequency of cleaning protocols, rearranging furniture to allow for more space between people in hotel community areas, partitions at the front desk, and even more focus on food safety than before. They released this press release that goes into more detail.
Not surprisingly, the Four Seasons is greatly ahead of the curve (literally and figuratively) and working on going above and beyond. The Four Seasons in NYC has also opened its doors for healthcare workers and has already implemented the following:
- Check in & check out are done virtually
- Only 1 guest at a time in the elevators
- Meals are limited to boxed selections (the hotel’s bars and restaurants are closed indefinitely)
- They’ve removed minibars, excess linens and excess pillows from the rooms
- In-room housekeeping during a guest’s stay has been discontinued. Instead, guests are given 3 bags – one for soiled towels, one for soiled linen and one for trash. They’re left at the doorway so housekeeping doesn’t have to fully enter the room
- Rooms are deep cleaned when people check out. Dr. Robert Quigley, senior vice president of International SOS is a consultant the hotel is using. He told NBC News: “The room is left vacant for a full 24 hours after a guest checks out. Then a cleaning crew comes in with hazmat suits and does deep cleaning, after which the room is left empty for 24 more hours. Then housekeeping enters to prepare the room for the next guests while wearing appropriate PPE” (personal protective equipment).
- Nurses are taking everyone’s temperatures before they are allowed to enter the building. If they’re above normal, they’re denied entry.
Other Hotel Brands
Other hotels do not appear to have announced specifics of what they’re doing in terms of updated health and safety protocols in light of the “new normal,” but I’m sure that they will, as time goes on.
A hotel management guidebook for housekeeping has recently been released as a PDF file. It appears to be of use for supervisors, as a guide for teaching those involved in maintaining hotel cleanliness.
A free app is also available, thanks to Beekeepr and Whispr, so those involved in housekeeping of guests’ rooms can keep better track of everything that needs to be done in the “new normal.”
I can’t help but think some of those will also be implemented as we all get used to our “new normal.”
I think some of the changes they’re implementing sound great. For example, checking in and out virtually should be simple to implement for most modern hotels, and some, of course, already have. And if this means hotel blankets and pillows will be cleaned on a truly regular basis, I’m all for it!
Other aspects, I’m not so sure. I mean, some hotels’ elevators (amount and speed, in particular) are not their positive points – can you imagine how long you’ll have to wait to catch an elevator around check-in or check-out times if they only allow 1 person (or even 1 party) at a time? Better pack a lunch 😉 Of course, if rooms aren’t being utilized for 3 days to allow for deep cleaning, then fewer people will be using the elevators to begin with. But can hotels afford only a 30% occupancy rate over the medium-term (read: after we’ve gotten used to the new normal and more people are willing to travel, but before a vaccine is available)?
And if you think about it, is a Holiday Inn Express or Motel 6 going to employ people with hazmat suits and do a deep cleaning after each party checks out? On the other side of the coin, will the clientele that a Four Seasons usually gets be OK with having to remake their California king-sized bed if the sheets somehow get soiled during their stay?
It’s a whole lot to consider, huh? Gonna be a whole, new world out there. Sure hope they come up with a vaccine soon.
#stayhealthy #stayathome #washyourhands
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary