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It is now clear that we need to readjust ourselves to live as best as possible with COVID-19, as this pandemic has become a notable page in history. The ways in which the service-oriented hotel industry operates has changed dramatically, and some measures have been adapted for the long term. Whether you are a frequent flyer or a casual traveler, you are probably wondering what to expect on your next hotel stay and how to prepare well for it. To help you, we have surveyed our preferred hotels to learn more about the actions they have taken to respond to this new reality and ensure the safety of our customers.
First, we noticed an important shift towards self-service. Like the confinement we have been experiencing globally, the primary objective is to avoid physical interactions. In addition, stricter cleaning measures have been put in place everywhere. Since the virus can live on surfaces for a period, it is crucial that they are regularly disinfected.
QUESTIONS TO ASK
We advise you to do some research before booking a hotel room to check what measures have been adopted by the establishment to facilitate distance and ensure the cleanliness of the premises. This will allow you to choose a hotel where you will feel safe. Do not hesitate to ask your agents questions, for example, about how often common areas are disinfected. It is your health and that of others that are at stake, after all! Also, do not assume that all hotels are open; make sure to check ahead of time.
Does the hotel offer a virtual check-in method? It is now recommended to not go through the hotel reception to check-in, to avoid contact. Some hotels now offer the option to do it yourself remotely at a distance and then for some, to use your smartphone as a room key. For hotels that do not have this technology, a stop at the front desk will be required.
Meals may be affected by the new measures (and they should be) and it is important that you know what to expect before your trip. Is the hotel restaurant open? If so, it should only be for take-out orders. If the menu or operating hours are reduced, that is a good sign; it is because there are fewer employees than normal. If the restaurant is closed, it is important that you know this in advance so you can organize yourself differently. If the hotel allows food orders from outside, there should be a strict procedure to follow that is put in place by the hotel to avoid any contact. For example, the delivery person should not be able to climb the floors. There should be a designated location in the lobby, the delivery person should not be in contact with the guest and hotel staff should not be involved in the delivery process. Do not hesitate to ask about the presence of a microwave in the room. The entirety of these tips should help you limit the risks!
It goes without saying that the hotel’s sports facilities, including training centres and swimming pools, should be closed, as it is difficult to respect social distance. It is also possible that they are open, but by appointment only, to control and guarantee a minimum number of visitors.
As far as housekeeping is concerned, staff should not enter your room during your stay. Disinfectant wipes should be made available to you if needed. We suggest you use a few wipes, upon arrival, on the most used items: phone, office surface, door handles, faucets, and switches. The bed sheets should be changed by yourself if your stay lasts more than a few nights; the safest method is to drop the sheets for change in the hallway and then retrieve clean ones from the door, on delivery. Be sure to discuss the best way to prepare for these steps with the hotel when you arrive.
In addition, a strict protocol for allocating rooms should be put in place by the hotel. Ideally, the allocated room should have been empty for a few nights before your arrival and away from the other occupied rooms on the floor.
Also, make sure that indoor and outdoor corridors and common areas have cameras, as you may feel less secure on your own in places where staff are reduced and less available.
Finally, it is important to keep in mind that these changes are disconcerting for both customers and employees of the hospitality industry. Employees, for the most part, have customer service etched in their DNA, so this sudden ban on interactions requires time for them to adapt. Thank you for thinking about the above when you arrive and for being patient; It is going to be fine.