Industry Update
Opinion Article11 June 2020

The Re-Opening Process Post COVID-19

By Korosh Farazad, Founder & Chairman of Farazad Group of Companies and Member of Board for Trinity Hospitality Group

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We all hope for a v-shaped recovery globally after pandemic lockdown later this year in Q3-Q4. When the government and health services finally give the greenlight to reopen the hotels, it will be the time to get back to business as the market will pick up its footing. People are super eager to go on holiday again as long as it is safe. Therefore, once the demand starts to increase, hotel owners/operators need know how to deal with the post COVID-19 situation. The essential keys are understanding guests behavior and implementing health and safety regulations for guest confidence.

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"Customer surveys clearly indicate that safety and hygiene will be of paramount importance for holidaymakers after the lockdown," said Sebastian Ebel, the member of the Group Executive Board responsible for Holiday Experiences.

Businesses/sectors in each country will have different guidelines on the reopening. For hotel industry, intensive staff training, limited capacity of people and social distancing will be mandatory to restrict the spread of the virus.

Moreover, the hotel can adopt masks, hand sanitizer, UV light air purification, rooms seals for hygiene. Special cleaning equipment for rigorous cleaning in the property to prevent the infection. As well as present the local health authorities' guideline in all public areas and guestrooms so customers can follow these steps to remain a safety environment for both customers and employees in the hotel. New policies need to be introduced, for instance the minibars, restaurants, busy pool parties may be eliminated.

The arrivals (Check-in)

  • The front-desk should be wearing face masks and gloves on check-in and check-out process. Medical masks and gloves should be provided for guests upon request and availability
  • Hotel should screen temperature checks on guest's arrival
  • Touch-free hand sanitizers should be placed around the property such as hotel reception
  • Self-check in or online apps via mobile phone should be implemented to avoid contact at hotel lobbies
  • If possible, hotel rooms should be adopting keyless room keys by using apps and technologies

Dr Tracy Xu, Lecturer in Hospitality at The University of Surrey's world-renowned School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. In her recent study, she said that "Application of service robots in the hotel industry is on the rise. With the added factor of a need to reassure potential guests that their stays will be compatible with minimised social contact and human interaction, this process could be accelerated. During the lockdown period it is likely that hotel managers will be planning for a 'fresh start' in the recovery and rebuilding period after the social isolation restrictions have been lifted and this is predicted to have a positive stimulus on the adoption of service robots"

Amenities (Swimming pool, Gym, Spa, Bars, Restaurants)

  • Sauna, close contact sport, gym, spa, and kids club should have reduced services and limited capacity
  • Staff in the gym need to wipe down and disinfected between uses. Spa staff members will have to wear personal protective equipment
  • Swimming pool should be in timed slots and book in advanced to reduce the number of people in the same space
  • Strictly social distancing in restaurants and bars
  • There should be no more hotel buffet to prevent large number of people outside of your group. TUI, The UK's biggest tour operator announced that "Self-service offers such as buffets will be reduced to a minimum. Wherever possible, food and beverages will be served to guests by staff wearing protective masks."

In conclusion, hotel industries are now preparing to welcome back travelers post COVID-19. They need to consider serval actions plans to prepare for the reopening. The main factors are understanding customer behavior and implementing strict health and safety measures. In the post COVID-19 era, the greatest luxury in travel in hotels - will not only be overwater villas or private butlers, but the promise of hygiene, sanitation and safety.

Stay well and safe!

Korosh Farazad

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