Reopening hotels and restarting business likely won’t be a one-size-fits-all approach. With different states adhering to different reopening plans, hotel leadership might have to open properties on a case-by-case basis.
In an article for Hotel News Now, Davidson Hotels & Resorts COO Pete Sams said: “We created individual plans for every one of our hotels that were mindful of the local municipalities. While we know where we are today, we have to be able to turn on a dime.”
For this week’s edition of our weekly blog series, Good Works and Great Ideas, which we publish every Friday, we highlight a hotel operations manager checklist, as well as point to resources and guidelines hotel managers can use for reopening their hotel when the time comes. We also provide examples from the industry of how hotels and organizations have shifted to accommodate travelers during these times.
Great Ideas: Create a hotel operations manager checklist for reopening and reassuring customers
Swisher, a cleaning products partner, provides checklists and factsheets for the hospitality industry to prepare for returning to business. Their seven-page reopening checklist for hotel managers goes into detail about cleaning protocols for surfaces, equipment, and machinery, as well as how to prep for food service and amenities like the pool. Here are a few highlights:
- Provide adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), including face coverings, disposable gloves, goggles, as well as safety data sheets (SDS) for new chemicals and cleaning products.
- Assure all hand-washing sinks are cleaned and stocked with soap, dryer or towels, and a hand-washing chart.
- Refill hand sanitizer stations and assure they’re working properly.
- Disinfect all hard, non-porous surfaces in guest rooms, lobby, pool and spa, food service areas, vending machines, drinking fountains, and other public places.
- Check that ventilation and water systems are operating properly and will provide quality airflow and water according to CDC guidelines.
Swisher also provides tips for infection prevention and cleaning specifics:
- Collect laundry from rooms in individual bags for each room.
- Increase disinfection frequency for public/high-traffic areas, and high-touch surfaces.
- Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer stations throughout your hotel for guests and staff.
Join AHLA in assuring health and safety, and renewing excitement for travel
In April, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) launched Safe Stay, an initiative to provide guidance for hotels on how to meet new health and safety standards. This was in an effort to reassure guests and staff that hotels are safe and ready to meet their needs. Hotels can get involved and endorse Safe Stay by visiting AHLA’s website.
“This program is about taking it to the next level to meet the evolving needs and expectations of our guests,” said AHLA president and CEO Chip Rogers in an interview with Lodging Magazine.
Some of the things guests can expect to see in hotels following the Safe Stay guidelines include no-contact check-in, no-touch delivery or grab-and-go food options, and personal protective equipment for all staff.
AHLA also launched the #TakeMeBack social media campaign to encourage travel once restrictions are lifted and it’s safe to do so. The hashtag is meant to tap into the pent-up desire of Americans to begin traveling again and to renew their excitement for planning a trip. Hotels can join the movement by sharing their favorite vacation pictures with the #TakeMeBack hashtag.
Good Works: Open hotels rethink public spaces and provide new offerings for guests
RLH Corporation and others adjust hotel operations and design for social distancing
Another article from Hotel News Now explained how hotels are using things like social-distancing stickers on floors to indicate the proper amount of space between people, as well as plexiglass dividers in places like the front desk and food areas. Some are removing furniture from lobbies and reconfiguring indoor common areas to prevent people from gathering. You can do this at your hotel, too, thanks to new updates within our diagramming tools. You now have the ability to add health and safety items such as social-distancing stickers and hygiene stands, as well as run our new Diagram Check feature, which lets you ensure that social distancing and capacity guidelines are being met.
RLH Corporation is experimenting with separating occupied rooms by one or two rooms in between. While this is not sustainable long-term, it can serve to ease the minds of those who are staying in hotels now, and can always be adjusted as occupancy increases.
Manny Dominguez, principal at Cooper Carry architecture and design firm, said that it’s too soon to tell how the pandemic will ultimately affect hotel design in the future — but social distancing will definitely be a part of the conversation. Lobby designs will need to be reworked in order to avoid overcrowding. Furniture will likely change to be easier to wipe down and clean. Dominguez also predicts a shift towards more hard surfaces for flooring and away from carpets, as they’re easier to clean.
Suzie Hall, president of Cornerstone Design, said in an email interview with HNN that outdoor spaces, especially for dining, will become even more important. She also predicts that the industry will move toward less large communal-style dining tables and be more focused on smaller groups at a safe distance.
The InterContinental Washington D.C. and others offer rooms as office space for new revenue opportunity
Even before the pandemic, some hotels would provide day rates for corporate travelers who only needed a room for a short-term stay — like if they were on a layover. Now, hoteliers are tapping into this idea in a different way — by providing rooms for remote workers who don’t want to work from home. Cat Carter at the InterContinental Washington D.C. — The Wharf noted an uptick in day and overnight bookings from remote workers who needed a change of scenery from their home office environment.
The London West Hollywood at Beverly Hills has converted some of its guest rooms into fully equipped offices that can be rented by the month. The rooms require minimal servicing, because there is no bed, and the amenities — like toiletries, towels, etc. — do not need to be restocked daily.
“We think that temporary, controlled office environments might be the next area of demand,” said the hotel's director of sales and marketing Greg Velasquez via email to Hotel News Now. “We anticipate that this is a stepping-stone solution for companies who are not ready to bring employees back into their offices at this time.”
Use this hotel operations manager checklist and other resources to assist in reopening!
Up next, check out our hotel customer experience guide to learn ways to maximize planner and attendee satisfaction.