Businesses worldwide have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, but the most affected are those in the hospitality industry like bars, restaurants, and hotels. Many have been forced to reduce operations in order to limit the spread of COVID-19. Despite the impact, hotel sales and marketing teams are creatively looking for solutions to improve revenue while ensuring the safety of their customers.
Here are some of the innovative ways hotels are adapting to safely serve their guests during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following Health and Safety Guidelines
The nature of the pandemic has forced hotels to amp their hygiene measures and make health and safety their priority. First on the list is by making sure they follow national and local guidelines. Although every country and city has different rules, many hotels include these general precautions:
- Frequent washing or sanitizing of hands – According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by keeping your hands clean. They advise sanitizing your hands every 15–20 minutes. They also specify to wash all parts of the hand properly for at least 40 seconds when using soap and water and at least 20 seconds when using alcohol-based sanitizers.
- Maintaining a safe distance of at least one meter – WHO also recommends keeping a physical distance from other people and avoiding hugging, kissing, or shaking hands.
- Wearing a face mask while in public areas – This is an added safety precaution, especially in public areas where it’s not possible to practice social distancing.
- Keeping your nose and mouth covered when you cough or sneeze – To avoid spreading any respiratory droplets, use your bent elbow or tissue to cover your nose and mouth. Also, remember to throw the tissue in a trash bin and sanitize your hands after.
A key part of suppressing the spread of the virus is to reduce physical contact, so hotels are making changes in their guests’ check-in and check-out experience. The contactless check-in process typically involves reducing the amount of human interaction needed at the reception area as well as limit interaction with the rest of the hotel staff. Some hotels are implementing express check-in or check-out by allowing guests to do these things online or via smartphone app, making the process quicker and safer for staff and guests. Additionally, some hotels are also investing in new technology by replacing room key cards with digital keys.
Reduce Access to Recreational Spaces
Guests who want to use the hotel’s recreational areas like swimming pools and spas will find new rules. This still depends on national guidelines, but one restriction is following a maximum number of people allowed in the area to ensure social distancing. To achieve this, some hotels have come up with an innovative solution of requiring guests to book an online appointment through their website, managing the number of people who can access the area at a specific time.
Another solution is reserving areas such as spas, hot tub, sauna, and relaxation room for the use of individuals and family groups traveling together. They can pre-book usage of the facilities at certain time slots. This lets guests enjoy the facilities safely and exclusively.
Workcation and Long-Term Accommodations
Guests are given a chance to escape their daily lockdown routines by booking a workcation. Some hotels are offering accommodations to workers who want a relaxing yet conducive environment for work since hotel rooms already have dedicated workstations. Other unique benefits of a workcation are butler services to take care of work-related tasks like scanning and printing as well as babysitting for the guests’ children.
On the other hand, some beach resorts are also allowing customers to combine work and play with special packages that include long-term accommodation, dining and spa treatment promos, and free hotel transfers.
These are considerably good deals, and they also ensure your safety. Staying longer at the same property will reduce your contact bubble as you are only interacting with the same people, lowering your risk of catching and spreading the virus.
Flexible Bookings and Online Transactions
Many hotels realize that their guests are looking for flexibility when it comes to booking accommodations during the pandemic. Customers are concern about hotel policies, especially if new and sudden restrictions come up and lead them to cancel their trips at the last minute. They want to know if hotels will let them rebook, reschedule, and refund the full amount.
Although online reservations and payments have been around even before the pandemic, many hotels used to rely on online booking agencies. With hotels improving their direct booking services, they can offer lower hotel rates, since they no longer need to give online booking agencies commissions that could be as much as 20 percent of the published price. To encourage guests to book directly, hotels give out several promos and benefits. Also, online booking provides you with a direct line of communication, which is essential when travel restrictions can change anytime.
These are just some ways how hotels are adapting to resume operations even with COVID-19. In Manila, many hotels are also making changes on how they can continue offering excellent services while ensuring the safety of their guests and staff. Some are giving out promos to encourage guests to stay with them. For example, you may receive discounts when you book directly at Kabayan Hotel instead of using online travel agents.