Are you a hotelier that is confused by the vague guidance available regarding returning to work? Do you need a concise and clear overview on when you can get back to work, and how to make your work environment safe during Covid19?
We at Guestroom Genie are here to help by suggesting some handy advice and guidelines for hotelier’s returning to work.
Be prepared and organised for an efficient and safe return to work:
It is crucial that as a hotelier you prioritise the safeguarding of you team and clients from coronavirus above all else. Therefore, you must ensure that you are prepared through effective training and support to go back to work in a new and at times, stressful environment as hospitality experts.
Through the following advice and guidelines, Guestroom Genie aims to shed some light on the situation and give you the confidence and resources you will need when safely returning to work.
Management teams will need to establish a plan of action that can be implemented effectively and swiftly, in order to guarantee the safe opening of your hotel.
You will have to adapt to a ‘new normal’. Usual hotel etiquette will have to be revised and new methods and measures of operational practice will have to be adopted to protect the health of your workforce and guests alike.
Keep your eyes and ears open, be flexible and work as a team:
It’s important to note that the government guidelines are ever changing, so use this article as a point of reference but continue to check on government guidelines and make changes in your hotel when necessary to ensure that your workplace is as safe as possible for your customers and staff during this time.
The Timeline of returning to work:
With many shops opening from the 1st of June, the hospitality industry including hotels await the guidance that is currently being developed and will be published ahead of opening in order to give your business time to plan. Moreover, the Government is currently setting up taskforces to work with the hospitality sector to develop safe ways for your businesses to open as soon as it is safe to do so.
However, it is wise to be prepared for reopening as soon as possible. Plans made during this time can be altered depending on the Government’s guidelines, but it is good to gather resources, and plan a framework for your hotel’s reopening that can be shared with your team. With an announcement due on the 4th of July regarding the reopening of the hospitality industry it is best to be prepared.
As things stand, the hospitality industry should be retuning slowly but surely over the summer. This is great news for hotels as many people will be wanting a summer getaway, even if it’s just checking into a local hotel to get out of the house after a long isolation, and have a small staycation within the UK. Therefore, your business must be ready to accommodate clients as soon as it is safe to do so.
So, evaluate your business and have plans in place and ready to go as soon as it is announced that you can return to work. As Sarah Albon, Chief Executive of Health and Safety Executive recently stated: “At the heart of the return to work is controlling the risk posed by the virus. Ensuring safe working practices are in place will help deliver a safe return to work and support businesses across the country.” Moreover, Business Secretary Alok Sharma reassures us that through the use of ‘collaboration and pragmatic measures, new sectors of the economy can open safely.’
For more information of the government’s current guidelines regarding returning to work visit this link.
Changes that should be implemented to make your workplace safe during Covid19:
As Jonathan Geldart, Director General of the Institute of Directors commented: “Decisions on re-opening will not be taken lightly. Business leaders want to stand on their own two feet, but most can’t operate at anything like normal capacity at the moment, and making adjustments to protect staff and customers will be a big challenge for many workplaces.”
At Guestroom Genie, we are here to give you a handy list of suggested pragmatic practices and adjustments that can be made in your hotel in order to keep your staff and clients safe:
Even when your hotel reopens, social distancing will still be required. Here are some tips on how to enable social distancing within your hotel:
- Implement a staggered, phased approach to your reopening. Start out small, have only a fraction of your usual clientele return to your hotel. For example, reduce capacity by removing 50% of your seating to thus increase the amount of space available. This will ensure that your guests can socially distance 2m apart effectively within your hotel. As well as this, a staggered approach will help you get the hang of your ‘new normal’ without having to juggle a large number of guests. Remember, flexibility and patience during this uncertain time is key.
- Introduce a one-way system around the hotel, particularly on check in/out to ensure guests and staff feel safe moving around the hotel.
- Have relevant signage around the hotel to remind and inform guests about social distancing.
- Install appropriate PPE Equipment to protect the team such as protective Perspex screens at the check-in desk and the bar to prevent the spread of germs between guests and staff.
- Long established hotel etiquette is going to have to shift and change with the current times to accommodate social distancing and prevent the spread of the virus. Therefore, conventions such as: holding doors, valet parking and taking bags form a guest will no longer be permitted. You should brief your guests about this change in their pre-check-in information and team training should be given on how to provide excellent hospitality while abiding by social distancing rules.
- Encourage contactless payments and use of email/e-billing to avoid cross contamination from guests to employees.
- Changes to catering must be implemented. Breakfast buffets should be removed and replaced with either Plate Service or a Grab and Go offering of packaged items that can pre-ordered and dropped to guest rooms. Moreover, introduce staggered dining in order to avoid mass groupings.
- Staff breaks should be staggered to prevent people being on the same breaks and sharing germs.
During this new and stressful time, communication with your team and customers will be more important than ever to ensure everyone feels safe, informed and happy.
- Assemble a re-introduction document and send it to all team members before reopening. This document will inform the team of any and all changes, intrusting them on the new way to interact and deliver their service to the guests.
- Once you are back into work, communication, regular training and updates will keep the team motivated and engaged during this likely very overwhelming period.
- Multi-skilling the team – Team members have less defined roles but be more multipurpose therefore, everyone will be working together towards a common goal, sharing the load to make the transition of reopening slick.
- Pre-inform your guests of the changes and measures in place before their arrival so that they know what to expect and will feel safer.
- When guests check out tell them ‘Thank you for your understanding, we are all doing this for the first time.’ Then ask for the customers feedback. Review this feedback, learn, develop improvements and instigate them in order to improve future guests’ experiences.
More thorough cleaning and hygiene requirements
You will have to introduce new, more thorough cleaning practices to safeguard and protect guests and employees from possible infection:
- Additional training for all team members around new guidelines and cleaning practices.
- Sanitising stations located throughout the hotel, in the lobby, at entrances and exits, in staff rooms, as well as the customers private rooms. Use signage around the hotel to encourage guests and staff to consistently sanitise/wash their hands.
- Encourage infrequent use of the lift unless absolutely necessary – suggest going up in the lift and down the stairs. Frequent cleaning of the lift must be carried out.
- The Restaurant and Bar will need to be cleaned more frequently. The immediate area used by a guest such as tables, cutlery and glasses will need to be sanitised before being used again.
- Nominate a Hotel ‘Safety Champion’ to oversee all things hygiene. They will be the go-to person for the team with any concerns. However, all responsibility should not be loaded onto this one person. It should be a team effort to ensure that everything is clean and safe throughout the hotel – ensure the entire staff is vigilant and cautious.
- Increase the cleaning of public areas, especially door handles and shared surfaces.
- During low occupancy (<40%) deep clean areas once a week.
- Guests’ rooms will no longer be cleaned every day. They will only be cleaned on request or at the end of the their stay.
- A cleaning program should be developed focusing on the key touchpoints in a guest’s room.
- Housekeeping and cleaning staff should wear PPE to protect themselves and future guests from viral contaminant.
For further information regarding how you can make your hotel safe to reopen refer to this insightful and clear pdf written by Michels & Taylor, hotel experts for hotel owners.
Guestroom Genie is here to help your business reopen effectively!
Guestroom Genie wants to help your hotel during this stressful time of transition, you don’t want to be worrying about the storage and organisation of your reservation documents. At Guestroom Genie we want to streamline the management of your reservations through our intuitive diary system. Simply input all your reservations into the diary system and it will present them clearly and understandably, with all relevant information readily available!
This convenient property management system can be accessed by multiple staff members through specifically designated logins; from management members to cleaning staff, everyone can be on the same page, instantly and easily. As previously stated, during this uncertain, new time in the hospitality sector, communication is more important than ever before. With Guestroom Genie, your entire team will have access to the same important information at all times, thus ensuring your hotel’s reopening runs smoothly.