The hospitality industry has been severely affected by COVID-19, and UK consumer confidence in using hotels, B&Bs, apartments and boutiques has been compromised. In August, the Independent reported hotel users did not trust hotel hygiene after lockdown, with 42% reporting they would clean the room themselves before using it.
Jane Pendlebury, the CEO of the Hospitality Professionals Association, spoke to the Independent regarding the importance of broadcasting how hard you are working behind the scenes to provide a clean, safe experience for your guests; “there are hotels that cannot afford to reopen. Those that are reopening need the support of the British public and visitors more than ever.” And to gain that support, we need to regain customer confidence.
So, how do we do that?
HVS London Chairman Russell Kett notes, ‘Building trust between hotelier and customer will be paramount, with businesses operating and presenting their services in a way that makes the guest, and the staff who take care of them, feel comfortable, confident and protected.’ To do this, communication is key. Guestroom Genie recommends the following:
- Update your website: use visual content, including photographs and videos to physically show how your practice has adapted, and how COVID-secure your hotel is. Add a banner to your website to maximise exposure of your new health and safety measures. To reassure your guests regarding cancellation concerns, offer clear cancellation policy and contact details, ensuring you specifically state you welcome any questions
- Use social media: utilise these platforms to provide timely, cost efficient updates for potential guests. Detail that you have increased cleaning practices to the highest standard
- Newsletters: email information to previous guests detailing your extensive health and safety measures
In all forms of communication, make certain to state you keep up to date with Government guidance. You may wish to sign up for the Visit Britain “We’re Good to Go” Industry Standard and consumer mark or the AA’s COVID Confident assessment scheme to reassure potential guests that your hotel adheres to Government and public health guidance.
Ensure you clearly communicate the extra measures you have taken in response to the pandemic. Some extra measures you could take to increase guest safety and confidence may include the following:
Cleaning and sanitisation
- Provide gloves and masks for staff
- Leave rooms fallow after an occupancy for 48 to 72 hours
- Undertake deep cleans between every guest stay
- Provide sanitiser in communal spaces
- Provide clean towels and soap in every bathroom, with extra available on request
- Ensure your guests are aware of the attention to high-touch surfaces, e.g. elevator buttons and door handles
Less is more: social distancing and minimising unnecessary contact
- Provide online booking, avoiding unnecessary face-to-face contact
- Install Plexiglass screens at reception
- Stagger check-in times to facilitate social distancing and protect your guests and staff
- Where possible, provide a one-way system, with separate entry and exit routes
- Provide contactless payment options
- Ensure no housekeeping in rooms during room occupancy
- Provide taped off spaces and standing spots where needed
- Consider employee bubbles for larger hotels with more staff, to ensure the same shift patterns
- In line with Government guidance, food and drink are not permitted to be served in communal spaces; consider providing room service, and/or grab and go food/drink options
Here at Guestroom Genie, we advise using a property management system to support your management of these new policies and procedures. Such systems easily allow you to plan optimum cleaning schedules to avoid the cleaner coming to the property more frequently than needed and afford room-blocking processes for fallow rooms.
At Guestroom Genie, we are dedicated to helping you run a more streamlined, successful business by providing a property and management system that simplifies the day to day running of your business, giving you more time to focus on reassuring your customers that your business is COVID-compliant, clean and safe. At a time of many problems, Guestroom Genie has a solution. Let Guestroom Genie grant your wishes; visit our website or call 0114 207 0221 today to discuss your FREE trial.