As hotels gradually reopen their doors to guests around the world, we can expect some big changes to the guest experience. For one, health and safety measures have taken top priority, with many hoteliers launching new initiatives to step up their hygiene game and ready themselves for when it’s safe to travel again.
Hotel chains with more marketing resources have created new hotel cleaning policies and promoted them actively on their website, membership databases and or through various press announcements. Independent hotels may not have the same marketing resources, but many are taking a cue from the bigger chains, as well as following any existing local regulations, to be able to open their properties to the public.
While cleanliness has long been a key part of hotels' value proposition, some are taking it to the next level by engaging experts in the health and hygiene industry to develop policies and use products in line with the highest industry standards.
Hilton, for example, has partnered with RB (the company that makes Lysol and Dettol) and the Mayo Clinic to launch the ‘Hilton CleanStay’ program to elevate its cleaning and disinfection protocols. Similarly, the Radisson Hotel Group is collaborating with SGS, a leading inspection, verification, testing, and certification company, to audit its properties and award those that comply with protocols with an official label of cleanliness and disinfection.
With hotels making great strides to create a safer experience and inspire confidence among their guests as travel resumes, here are five ways your next hotel stay could look different:
- New standards of hygiene for rooms
Guest rooms are set to become cleaner. Many hotels have introduced deep cleaning as a mandatory routine for each time a guest checks out. As an extra measure, the ‘Hilton CleanStay’ program also includes placing a room seal on the door as an indication that the room has not been accessed after it was thoroughly cleaned.
To reduce the risk of spread via objects or surfaces, some hotels have chosen to lock or remove their minibars, and take away paper amenities such as pen, paper, directories or room service menus, which will be provided digitally or on request.
- Contactless stay
The pandemic has greatly accelerated the adoption of digital room keys, desk-free check-ins and contactless payment solutions in hotels. Aside from reducing the risk of spread in each property, the adoption of these digital solutions will allow guests to manage their entire stays on their mobile devices.
The World of Hyatt application for example, allows guests to book and modify their reservations, check in and out, and view their room charges on the go. Guests can also unlock their rooms and make service requests on the same platform.
- Cleaner and quieter public spaces
In line with safe-distancing policies from local authorities, hotels chains like Marriott International have also made conscious efforts to identify high traffic areas and conduct more frequent deep cleaning of public areas using disinfection technologies such as electrostatic sprayers or ultraviolet lights. Pools, spas and gym facilities will also have more scheduled closures for regular cleaning, and possibly a limit on the number of guests allowed at one time.
- Food safety
Instead of the usual buffet lineup, expect to see more made-to-order and grab-and-go options for the time being. Furniture could also be reduced or moved around to align with safe-distancing measures, and aside from wearing masks and gloves, staff are being trained to follow enhanced operational and safety procedures when serving guests.
Should guests prefer to dine in their rooms, hotels like Hyatt have in place knock-and-go services, where staff will deliver room service orders to the door and notify guests by ringing their doorbell or knocking.
- Sanitizing kits and protective equipment
To ensure the health and safety of all guests and staff, hotels have implemented new policies for guest interactions. Accor for example has introduced new guest contact measures that include the provision of individual sanitizers, wipes and masks, in addition to temperature measurement practices, disinfectant mats at hotel entrances and partitions at front desks. Some hotels also provide their staff with personal protective equipment as they continue to serve guests in close proximity.