How to Manage Busy Holiday Weekends During COVID-19 at Your Hotel
In a time when states’ restrictions are easing and summer is around the corner, hoteliers need to do all they can to prepare for incoming travelers. During slower months, maintaining safe social distancing and thorough cleanliness procedures may have been easier, but it is more challenging when your hotel approaches full capacity. The question is: what can you do to ensure your guests and staff stay safe and slow the spread of the coronavirus? Hotel social distancing requires cooperation between every staff member and the guests that visit your property during busy holiday weekends.
Before Guests Arrive
First and foremost, you and your staff need to understand how the coronavirus spreads. The CDC has a plethora of resources for COVID-19 knowledge, and their page about the spread of the virus itself is a good starting point. When you and your staff are more informed, they can work to keep each other safe while also being better equipped for explaining to guests why some services and amenities are not available.
Once you’ve reviewed details of the virus with your staff, you can move on to posting signs around your hotel. Appropriate signage should include details for what your property is doing about enhanced cleanliness and how guests can keep each other safe. If you don’t have graphics of your own to use, the CDC has posted a few that you can print and post around the property. “Cloth Face Coverings Do’s and Don’ts” and “Stop the Spread of Germs” are two particularly useful pieces of media to display in gathering spaces or in the bathroom. In addition to this precaution, posting markers along your floor to indicate where guests need to stand will help prevent close contact with each other. Enforcing social distancing is imperative to slow the spread, and you can encourage social distancing in other areas of your hotel as well. If your property has a pool or fitness center, limit the number of guests allowed in the area at a time. You may also want to provide sanitation products for guests to use on equipment, or implement scheduled closures for housekeeping to take over and clean the area thoroughly.
During Guest Visits
As guests begin to arrive at your property, communication is key to ensuring their comfort and safety. Explaining updated policies at check-in will help manage guest expectations. If you’re able to implement a virtual check-in service, sending the guest a text with new procedures is an easy way to get information distributed quickly and efficiently. Alternatively, you can post a notice in the guest’s room for them to read at their leisure. If guests have questions regarding your policies or best practices, provide 1-2 employees – such as your head of housekeeping – for guests to contact at any point during their stay. This will further limit interaction between multiple guests with multiple staff members, overall reducing the risk of spreading the virus.
If you have on-site restaurants that are currently closed due to the virus, consider providing alternatives for your guests to peruse during their stay. If you’ve connected with local businesses or restaurants in the area, you can offer approved delivery services that guests can pick up from the front desk or other designated pick-up area. This allows guests to still experience the luxuries of being away from home without having to feel completely confined to their hotel room.
Providing clear, open communication and being present and available for your guests will help to make their visits with you go as smoothly as possible.
After Guest Visits
When busier weekends calm down, the thing you must stress to your entire staff is: clean, clean clean. Performing a deep clean of each occupied room before the next guest arrives will be the best defense you can offer to incoming travelers seeking a safe place to stay. The CDC has a comprehensive guide for best practices when cleaning your business which you can use to guide your housekeeping staff and check their work to ensure your property is safe for the next guests checking in. Alongside deep cleaning each room and washing linens, the staff should be maintaining routine spot checks of any shared spaces around your hotel that are open.
Remember not to overtax your staff, either – exhaustion may lead to missteps that put your staff and guests’ lives at risk. Close community spaces where necessary to ensure that the areas that are open can be thoroughly cleaned frequently.
Additionally, you can open a conversation with guests and accept feedback. Current Travel Media Group customers can do this simply from their OneView™ dashboard by sending post-stay surveys to guests. Here, guests may take the time to share their thoughts with you if any areas of your hotel felt unsafe, which you can then utilize to assess your environment and build a safer one for the next holiday getaway.
In the hospitality industry, guest safety and comfort are the top priorities for all employees. Taking proper precautions to protect those who want to travel locally and those still in need of overnight, non-permanent lodging will result in a cleaner property and procedures that better reflect our “new normal”. For further information about how your hotel can manage through the crisis, please visit our COVID-19 resources page.