There have been many shows and online videos investigating the cleanliness and safety of a hotel establishment. However after the pandemic hit, the entire concept of keeping things safe and sound has been brought to a level like never before.
Among many industries, the tourism industry has certainly taken its toll due to the COVID-19 situation. The lockdowns and controlled movements implemented by governments around the world directly impacted the industry due to obvious reasons. With that being said, hotels and resorts are trying to make a slow but steady recovery (mostly domestic tourism in SEA) by enhancing their policies and maintenance protocols to ensure tourists can enjoy their stay without having to worry about their safety. The main arrangement of protocols that together avoid the spread of contaminations by COVID-19 include:
- Practice social distancing– consistently keep up a 6-feet distance between and among workers and visitors
- Screening staff – guarantee your staff are healthy by screening them for COVID-19 upon every entry into the property
- All staff members that show any sign of a symptom is to be isolated and hospitalized
- Each employee performs his or her duties wearing (multiple layered) masks, surgical gloves for especially those associates handling food and beverage, including anti-fog face shields for those directly handling food in public (e.g. open show kitchens, live buffet stations etc) in all areas where direct interaction with the guest takes place
- Utilize proper equipment – ensure that the quality of the masks etc are WHO approved, or have certified approval from a similar authority
- Clean/sterilize/disinfect– wash and sanitize hands, and wipe down contact surfaces regularly
- Filtering air in the rooms and facilities with purifiers or through the HVAC system has become a preferred standard
Increasingly, most hotels have taken extensive step-by-step measures to ensure the cleanliness and safety of visitors as well as their staff.
The lobby and check-in
Apart from a frequent and thorough disinfecting regime at check-in counters, almost all hotels are mainstreaming their online booking practice. This has been made high priority since the pandemic hit as the industry is trying to minimize face-to-face interaction. Hotels are also ensuring staff working at the check-in counters are set apart from one another to comply with social distancing protocols.
Elevators are thoroughly cleaned and there is a limited number of passengers who are allowed in, at a given moment. Hand sanitizers are also mounted inside elevators for passengers to disinfect their hands upon pressing buttons. According to a study from UpgradedPoints, the average hotel elevator button has 1,477 times more germs than a household bathroom door handle. It also has 737 times more germs than the toilet seat in your own home. This is one of the reasons why a public and commonly used space such as elevators are given additional attention to provide a safe journey for its passengers.
Try to reduce your worries about anything not being clean in your room; hotels use sophisticated techniques to make their procedures even more effective, such as electrostatic sprayers and ultraviolet light.
During a stay, housekeepers may only enter the room once in the morning to clean and replace linen; turndown service has been eradicated in many of the hotels to reduce contact. For longer stays, guests can request for their rooms to only be cleaned every third day as an example; in which case you can request for additional towels on the day that housekeeping does come into the room.
Surfaces are wiped down carefully with disinfecting cleaning products, including the TV remote, the telephone, the light switches etc. Similarly, the housekeeping equipment (e.g. vacuum cleaners) are submitted to regular sanitation procedures as well.
Food & Beverage
When it comes to Room Service, many hotel operators are now delivering your order up to the guest room door, left by the waiter on a table or trolley for you to fetch yourself after the waiter has rung the doorbell or knocked on the door; be prepared to pick up your meal outside your door.
If you’re thinking about leaving the room for a meal, don’t expect all the restaurants to be operational; most urban hotels are only operating one restaurant, while some resorts offer 2 or more to provide more variety for their longer staying guests.
Associates in this department particularly have to be wearing all personal protective gear, to reassure the guests that all risk has been reduced to a minimum.
For those travelling with expectation to indulge in all the facilities that hotels have to offer, you might want to double check before you book. Many hotels have closed certain facilities such as the swimming pool, the sauna and gym, the spa, or some F&B facilities. Just make sure not to disappoint yourself, so make that extra effort and check.
When welcoming back guests, it is of the utmost importance that the guests have confidence in the hotel’s implementation of the proper protocols to provide a safe environment during their stay. Therefore, information in this regard must be available both online prior to booking and check-in and on the premises during their stay, to reassure the guest at any time to make their stay as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.
It’s undeniable that the tourism industry has undergone huge changes and even simple things that we as guests have enjoyed before, have become a luxury we can’t afford anymore. Having said that, there is a threshold to surpass to feel a sense of normalcy again and the least we can say is that hotels and resorts are doing everything from their side to still provide that special unique experience.