Blog 24: Are you afraid of staying at a hotel? Don't be.
With tourism picking up around the globe and countries agreeing on travel bubbles, hotels are finally back in business! And they're following all the health and safety protocols set out by governments in different parts of the world. For travellers, this is a time to trust and believe in hotel staff and hospitality more than ever. This is a time to follow standard operating procedures and enjoy your stay at a hotel albeit differently.
You would have never thought about the germs on the TV remote in your room, but now you do. The number of times the duvet in your room is aired would have never crossed your minds, but now you'll request for it to be sanitized after every use. Previously, you would have never counted how many things you touch, but now you'll consciously make an effort to keep your hands to yourself.
So, I thought of putting all you readers at ease and giving you a round-up of the various COVID-safe procedures and programmes in place at some of your favourite hotel brands. This should help you plan your next hotel stay without any coronavirus scares.
1- Accor's ALLSAFE label verified by Clifton represents their new elevated cleanliness protocols and standards and provides assurance that these standards have been met in all Accor hotels. In addition to a more frequent deep cleaning of each area of the hotels, virtual menus and online check-ins, each hotel will appoint a dedicated health and safety officer to oversee all procedures and assist guests with queries related hotel operations and preventative measures. Guests will also have access to AXA medical professionals and telemedical support.
2- Anantara Hotels and Resorts have come up with a new programme ‘Stay with Peace of Mind’ which will build on existing health and safety regimens to implement heightened sanitisation and hygiene measures. Every Anantara property will have a dedicated ‘Guest Guardian’ responsible for internal audits based on a series of rigid brand guidelines. Building on Anantara’s existing holistic 360 approach, the guidelines will extend beyond guest areas into all back of house operations as well. Limousine charters, holistic and wellness classes and dining services will all follow the highest health and safety processes.
3- Best Western's We Care Clean programme believes that a hotel can never be 'too clean'. They have enhanced their 'Grab & Go' breakfast scheme, replaced common use items with disposable alternatives and removed some of the soft furnishing from rooms to make cleaning easier as some of the standard procedures. Strict training has been given to all staff to implement social distancing and help guests follow all health procedures in common areas of the hotels.
4- Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts has entered into a consulting agreement with Johns Hopkins Medicine International to make health and safety decisions around COVID-19. Grounded in the principles of care, trust and service, the Lead With Care program has been implemented by dedicated teams at all Four Seasons properties. Lead With Care kits will be placed in each guest room providing masks, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes, with additional masks supplied on demand. Employees are undergoing behavioural training, ensuring empathetic, personalized care and connection are not lost in the absence of close contact and limited face to face interaction. This chain of hotels and resorts is surely doing everything to support employees and guests.
5- Undoubtedly the most heard of in the industry till now, Hilton's CleanStay and EventReady programmes have collaborated with RB, maker of Lysol and Dettol, and consulted with Mayo Clinic to develop elevated processes and Team Member training to help Hilton guests enjoy an even cleaner and safer stay from check-in to check-out. The initiative will create a focus on cleanliness that will be visible to guests throughout their entire stay – in their guest rooms, restaurants, fitness rooms and in other public spaces. Hilton's EventReady with CleanStay provides curated solutions for every step of your event planning process, from redesigned event spaces and innovative technology resources to inspiring food & beverage with thoughtful presentations.
6- InterContinental Hotel Group has expanded the IHG Way of Clean programme to the IHG Clean Promise initiative to combat any anxiety guests may experience while booking their stay at any IHG hotel. IHG is working closely with a team of medical experts at the Cleveland Clinic to develop guidance and resources for hotel teams on returning to work and incorporating appropriate measures to enhance guest confidence and trust in their cleanliness, hygiene and safety practices in this new environment. The programme's tagline says ''Good isn’t good enough – we’re committed to high levels of cleanliness. That means clean, well maintained, clutter-free rooms that meet our standards. If this isn’t what you find when you check-in then we promise to make it right.''
7- The founder of Marriott, J.W Marriott would personally inspect kitchens and guest rooms on his visit to each Marriott hotel and I think the brand has taken from him to launch the Marriott Global Cleanliness Council. Consisting of in-house and outside experts in food and water safety, hygiene and infection prevention, and hotel operations, the council will work to develop a new generation of global hospitality cleanliness standards, norms and behaviors. Enhanced technologies including electrostatic sprayers will be used to sanitize surfaces throughout the hotel. They are also testing ultraviolet light technology for sanitizing guest keys and devices shared by associates. Disinfecting wipes will be available in each room for guests to use.
8- The WeAssure programme is ITC Hotels' commitment towards health, hygiene and safety, designed in collaboration with medical professionals and disinfection experts to further enhance the existing hygiene and cleaning protocols. This chain of hotels will be disinfecting the car that chauffeurs you from the airport, your luggage before entering the hotel will be sani-tagged, all guests must sign a self-mandated health declaration form and there will be a tag outside your door saying that the room has been untouched after the cleaning process. They're even providing the service of their 'Luxury Hour' in the safety of your room upon request!
9- The Louvre Hotels Group (consisting of brands like Sarovar, Golden Tulip and Tulip Inn) is continuing its Clean & Safe reassurance with new safety charters and audits to maintain the permanency of the programme. Accordingly, the group’s quality, operations engineering, catering, guest experience and safety experts have developed 200 new procedures and training programmes that have already been implemented in all hotels currently in operation. With external independent audits from time to time, you really wouldn't need to worry about the implementation of the procedures.
10- Kempinski's White Glove Service has been inspired by the white gloves symbolic of luxurious service and elegance. Kempinski employees will now wear white gloves through your hotel journey, from check-in to check-out. There is a 'do not enter my room' option at check-in. If you opt for this option, no staff will enter your room unless you ask for it to be serviced. All room service, luggage assistance will be provided till the door of your room. A distance of two feet will also be maintained between guests and staff during service and all staff have been impeccably trained to still provide iconic Kempinski hospitality even in these challenging times.
While there are hotels determined to give you the most sanitary next stay, there are also companies helping hotels stay on top of their clean game. BVA BDRC has launched a Covid-19 Integrated Response Toolkit that helps businesses enhance operational preparedness before, during and after reopening, to achieve safety and satisfaction in the post-COVID-19 economy. The integrated toolkit keeps your COVID response data in one central dashboard, all organised and managed by BVA BDRC. The primary sources of data are External Evaluations (mystery shopping). Their approach means BVA BDRC can assess important customer satisfaction measures whilst also providing a COVID response check. There is more information on their website.
We're all hoping to book a few nights out very soon and I don't think we'll be disappointed when we do that. Have some faith and book it out!
Tell us about your hotel experience in the comments below, and until then, be safe and keep reading,