Travel has ground to a stop while many cities have mandated shelter in place restrictions due to the Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic.
Many hotels are contracting with state governments due to the shortage of hospital beds, or for health workers and first responders in need of temporary housing.
And some guests, whether they are unable to return to their place of origin, or are escaping the high density of bigger cities, are sheltering in hotels.
How should you manage your hotel to protect your business and your employees, and to calm your guests during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Lease and Occupancy Agreement
You may consider an occupancy agreement as an option for your establishment during this pandemic.
THLA has been in constant communication with local governments on this consideration. We are maintaining a list of interested hotels based on a survey you can take here.
Also, the American Hotel & Lodging Association announced the launch of Hotels for Hope, an initiative aimed at connecting hotel properties with the health workers and first responders in need of temporary housing. At the time, it said it had identified 6,500 properties near healthcare facilities that were ready to help.
If you are housing guests who are sheltering in place at your establishment you must adhere to the absolute strictest policies for your guest’s and your employee’s health and safety. Establish strict protocols for food delivery, room service, sanitation and laundry services.
As you remain in operation, these policies are obvious, but can’t be monitored enough:
- Take extra precautions to minimize hotel staff interacting with guests, or guests interacting with each other.
- Maintain social distancing, whereby people keep a 6-foot distance from each other.
- If possible, switch to single-use dining products.
- Hotel staff should wear single-use gloves when handling anything a guest may have touched, and be extremely careful about cross-contamination. Remember, a virus may remain on a glove, just as it would on unwashed bare hands, and gloves should be changed after each interaction.
- Frequently clean and sanitize surfaces that are touched by people such as countertops, elevator buttons, handrails, door handles, etc.
- Put up posters and remind staff and guests to wash hands, maintain social distance, and avoid touching their face
We are advising hotel properties to follow the advice of leading hotel industry health and safety experts. This includes enhancing the cleaning frequency in areas of hotel properties that receive frequent contact by people.
Here is what hotel safety experts are recommending:
- Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs.
- Take special care to frequently and routinely disinfect hard surfaces and high-touch areas such as railing, doorknobs and handles, elevator buttons, restroom surfaces, countertops, tabletops, chairs, fitness equipment, etc.
- Use the cleaning agents that are usually used and follow the directions on the label.
- Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces (for example, doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks) can be wiped down by employees or guests before each use.
- Place alcohol-based hand sanitizers in public areas available for employees and the public to use.
- Additionally, Ecolab released a cleaning guide for hotels.
Read our full discussion on steps hotels should take to suspend the spread of the Covid-19 Coronavirus here.
Calm Your Guests
This is an anxious time, for everybody, everywhere. Do what you can to ease anxieties for your guests, and employees.
First, make sure everyone is aware of your strict compliance with the laws and with your efforts in social distancing, sanitization, and security on their behalf.
Do this for both employees and guests. Communication is critical.
Place posters designating restricted social areas, outlining social distancing guidelines in elevators, providing emergency medical information and contact information in every room.
Add sanitation stations where possible such as hand sanitizers at the front desk and next to the elevators.
Offer some self-care considerations. From uplifting TV, Movie or Audio offerings, to bath salts to aromatherapy.
(Hyatt is rolling out a partnership with the Headspace meditation app. Guests will be able to get content on relaxation and sleep-guided meditation through the Hyatt loyalty program mobile app. The chain will also offer content from Headspace via TVs at its hotels.*)
Keep calm, stay informed and follow the guidelines.