The new era of hotel operations post COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted almost every sector in the world, bringing businesses to a new low. The travel and hotel industries are amongst the worst hit. Recovery for these industries is also expected to take time with hotels needing a whole new game plan moving forward.
Hotel management and consumers will both have new expectations from the accommodation sector. From contactless services to an increased focus on cleanliness, the hotel industry will undergo a new era post the pandemic.
One of the important points of concern for hotel management is employee safety. A COVID-19 case of a hotel employee could impact the entire hotel chain. Frequent testing of all employees along with new safety protocols that keep them healthy are a must. This will require a whole new training program for employees which could be expensive and time-consuming. Professional housekeeping services with trained staff can help bridge this gap efficiently. Practices ranging from wearing mask and gloves to constantly adhering to sanitization protocols are going to become the new normal for hotel employees.
With the global lockdown over, people are returning to their earlier lifestyle. For a lot of people this includes travel. Currently, a lot of guests are travelling due to necessity such as for business. Leisure travel is expected to pick up but at a slower speed. At such a time, guest confidence is vital to ensure repeat business. With professional housekeeping service, guests receive peace of mind in cleanliness and hygiene maintenance. In turn, hotel management can turn their full focus to important business matters without being distracted by routine services.
As hotels resume operations, occupancy is going to be a concern. A lot of hotels are operating at a much-lower occupancy than they are used to. Having a payroll of permanent employees staffed in the hotel till occupancy picks up can add to the hotel’s financial burden. Additionally, excess staff in the hotels could hinder safety and distancing protocols. Contractual services for housekeeping and guest services, will be an important consideration to ensure a comfortable guest experience while reducing expenditure for hotels.
New Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)
Hotels will need a new SOP for all staff and guests in the days to come. These protocols will ensure guest and employee safety while promoting a positive hospitality environment. Some of the safety protocols for the new normal in hotels may include:
- Contactless thermometers for temperature check as well as a contactless welcome.
- Regular sanitization of all common areas including the front desk, elevators, corridors etc.
- Deep cleaning of all surfaces in common areas and the guest’s room.
- Detailed sanitizing of every surface in the room before check-in and after check-out.
- Developing a new staff schedule that reduces exposure to guest and each other while maintaining efficiency in hotel services.
These are just some of the new safety protocols that hotels will need to adhere to. Having to retrain staff on every safety parameter can be time consuming and expensive. At such a time, professionally trained teams and outsourced services are likely to gain importance. These teams have undergone rigorous training and enhance the smooth functioning of the hotel.
According to the McKinsey Consumer Leisure Travel Survey in April 2020, most leisure travellers marked additional health and safety measures as an important factor to travel again.
The outlook for the hotel industry post 2020 looks promising. However, hygiene and cleanliness practices will play a huge role in determining which hotel succeeds and which doesn’t. Presently, hotels need detailed SOPs as well as competent staff to follow these protocols. In addition, as demand increases, it will become crucial for hotels to have an experienced housekeeping team that is capable of adhering to safety protocols in large numbers.