How to Go Above & Beyond for Your Guests During COVID-19
During these unprecedented times, people across the globe are exhibiting intense levels of caution when it comes to travel. It’s situations like this one where your strategy to reinforce guest comfort and safety is critical for those who are coming through your doors. There are several strategies available to you, and today we’ll shed light on some of these ideas to maximize your success.
Be completely transparent about your cleaning procedure.
First impressions are critical as guests will be making snap judgments about your hotel. Having clear and comprehensive messaging about steps you’re taking to increase cleanliness measures can greatly influence a guest’s mindset in a positive way. Guests are going to take their experiences online, and how your hotel responds to this crisis will become a measure for future guests to stay at your property. Is your housekeeping staff wiping down frequently touched areas, such as railings, doorknobs, and the front desk counter? Share that with your guests! Don’t shy away from the specifics, either: let guests know the level of disinfectant you’re using along with your cleaning schedule. If you have the resources available, offering guests pocket-sized hand sanitizer may also help to ease their concerns. Honesty is pivotal to earning your guests’ trust, as they choose where to stay during and after COVID-19.
Partner with local restaurants for extra delivery and food options.
Medium and small businesses are those most likely to be financially impacted by COVID-19; it is in these times when partnering with local businesses can help you, them, and your guests. Small businesses across the country are identifying ways to support each other. For example, a Spokane Valley web developer put together a website for all the local restaurants in the area offering delivery, inviting any and all to use the hashtag #OrderUpSpokane to encourage those in self-isolation to continue to support these smaller businesses. Your hotel can have a similar positive impact on the local economy.
Learn which nearby restaurants offer delivery and take-out options, and provide a list as a resource for your guests and employees. One thing many guests often need is good food, and if your area can support an endeavor like this, it can help bring a sense of community through your doors (and maybe even a lasting business partner).
Have flexibility with cancellations and re-bookings.
Revisiting our first point, your guests are intently aware of the actions you and your staff are taking in response to those affected by the crisis. Everyone’s plans are shifting, and with it comes a wave of stress on both sides. If your guest’s booking isn’t tied to one of the many globally canceled events or gatherings, then there’s a heightened chance they may be willing to rebook with you for the future. That is, as long as the process is simple and straightforward. By clearly communicating your COVID-19 policies with your employees and guests, and approaching each request to cancel with empathy, you can aim to secure that booking again in the future. Easing the burden from your guests will stick in their minds – and they’ll be more willing to trust you when they’re ready to get back on the road.
Open your arms to atypical travelers and first responders.
While occupancy hits a record low for the hospitality industry, it’s time to start thinking about other areas where your hotel may be able to make ends meet. Many standard tourists and travelers may be staying home, but there are still travelers in need of a clean, safe space to rest their heads, and these would be visitors you want to welcome warmly. Think of traveling first responders, such as nurses, or students who need short- or long-term housing due to closures at their own universities. Atypical travelers can also include families visiting the area to take care of a loved one. Some hotels are also offering their rooms as daily office spaces for those who need to work from home, but don’t have the appropriate tools. Offering a helping hand and a place of shelter for these visitors can make all the difference, and that kindness will be remembered.
Innovate the use of your amenities.
Many hotels have had to close down certain group-use or high-use amenities such as the pool, and taking these measures is certainly one way to foster a safe experience for your guests. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get creative with curating a different experience in other areas. For example, you may want to consider having a reservation form for use of your fitness room – guests can sign up for a designated time slot, and you can provide wipes for them to clean the equipment before and after use.
While this system may take some time to implement smoothly, it can help your guests feel like they still have access to valuable amenities they may want or need. Innovations like this are something guests appreciate, and if you’re able, you can even open up your fitness center reservations to locals whose gyms are closed down during this time.
Today, we’ve discussed some strategies for you to implement that can help you go the extra mile in providing a uniquely safe and comfortable experience for your guests. The idea of curating a “home away from home” experience is relevant now more than ever before, and finding innovative, interesting ways to provide to your guests can help you get close to that goal. Are you implementing initiatives like these at your property? Don’t forget to share your efforts on social media, where future travelers can appreciate all the hard work you’re doing to make your hotel safe for all who enter.