With the vaccine rollout a success and things looking like they might finally get back to normal at some point this year, many hotel owners are wondering when it will be safe to open their doors to the general public again, if they haven’t already. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit hotels hard with many unable to take bookings due to travel restrictions and stay at home orders, and others working on a very limited basis to house essential travelers and people in quarantine only. If you own a hotel or guesthouse, here are some of the main things to keep in mind when reopening after COVID-19.
Customer and Employee Safety
It is unlikely that the virus is going to disappear, so it’s important to take steps to protect the safety of your customers and employees. Continuing with social distancing guidelines in place is important, making sure that everybody has enough space to keep within a safe distance of one another. In areas where this can be difficult, barriers for lobby desks can be used to provide an additional degree of protection. Make sure that hand sanitizer is provided and ask guests to wear masks when in public areas.
It is important to let your customers know about your COVID-19 policy, including what to do if they are unable to stay due to a positive test or the need to self-isolate at home. Many hotels are offering flexible bookings and the ability for guests to change their date at no extra charge if COVID-19 causes them to be unable to travel at the time. Make sure that customers can easily communicate their plans with you via phone, email or webchat and that policies and guidelines, such as how much notice they should give before rearranging their stay, are clear.
Cleaning is always taken seriously in any good hotel, but during a pandemic, it is even more important than ever before. Many hotels have taken to using antiviral cleaning foggers to thoroughly disinfect each room in between guests and ensure that all surfaces are free from any potential traces of the virus. Paying additional attention to high-touch and high-traffic areas like staircase rails, light switches, door handles and key cards is also hugely important.
Reduce Guest Numbers in Public Areas
While guests that are confined to their respective rooms are unlikely to pose a huge risk of spreading COVID-19, large crowds in public areas are one of the biggest risk factors for infection. Restaurants, common rooms, and other public areas of your hotel should be regularly monitored to ensure that the number of people inside is reduced. It may be necessary to introduce a booking system for your restaurant if you do not already have one, so that you can limit the number of guests gathered together at any one time.
With some semblance of normal in the future, people are hoping to soon be able to travel again. For hotels, this means ensuring that strong safety measures are in place to protect the health and wellbeing of their employees and customers.