To say the emergence of COVID-19 was a shock would be an understatement and the aftermath has demanded the industry to reinvent spaces in hospitality post-coronavirus.
Seemingly overnight the world as we knew it was turned upside down. Country after country went into lockdown, causing many restaurants, bars, and other public venues to close. There was a massive impact shared by all, and around the globe everyone watched and waited for any semblance of an idea of what they should do. As with the rest of the world, the hospitality industry was turned on its head. Whole airline fleets were grounded, cruise ships sat abandoned in their docks, and hotels cut power to non-essential floors, if they did not close entirely.
As time went on, we all learned how to adjust to our new norm. We began to reemerge from some of the darkest days, and the hospitality sector was no different. An industry defined by the experiences we provide to our guests, hotels set to the task of redefining our services. We have worked to discover how we can continue to provide the warmth and hospitality our guests expect and depend on, while still keeping public health and safety at the forefront of our operations in this everchanging new world.
The Lobby, a New Welcome
The first stop for the vast majority of guests upon arriving is the lobby, a place for new arrivals to get acclimated to their temporary home, as well as a place to unwind or meet up with other guests. But now, in this post-COVID world, the function of the lobby has had to find a balance between a place of warmth and welcoming to the hotel’s guests, while also maintaining social distancing requirements. With this in mind, hotels have redefined the lobby space. Social distancing markers have been installed in order to clearly mark six-foot distances for when there are queues of guests. Plastic safety guards have been attached to front desks so as to allow for proper guest identification while still keeping both employees and guests safe. Face masks are required by all employees and guests are likewise encouraged to do the same. Many brands have also incorporated contactless check-in options, allowing guests to bypass the lobby entirely, if they so choose.
Guest Rooms and Updated Standards
Once inside their room, the care and hospitality of hotels only continues. Housekeeping schedules have been entirely revamped so as to ensure cleanliness. Guests can also request how often they would like to have housekeeping come in and service their rooms, if they would like service at all. When housekeeping enters the room, the industry has found ways to properly communicate just how thoroughly the room has been cleaned, ensuring that guests enter their rooms with an immediate peace of mind. Seals of cleanliness are taped to the outside of the door in order to show that no one has entered the room since it was cleaned. High contact areas and items such as remote controls for televisions are wrapped once they have been cleaned, and anything that can be replaced, such as toilet paper or tissue, is replaced. A guest room remains a place for a guest to recharge and relax, and while cleaning and sanitizing standards have been increased, the warmth of the care received translates to an overall positive guest experience.
Public Spaces Return to Service
Perhaps the most challenging of the hotel areas are our leisure spaces. Meeting rooms, gyms, pools, and restaurants were among the first areas to be closed and required special care when it came to reopening them to guests. Often these areas are the pride and joy of the hotel, the places that make us unique and provide more than a simple place to lay their head for their guests. In order to open these experiences back to their guests, hotels took on an increased workload while also channeling creativity in order to provide unique and safe experiences. Schedules were put into place in order to allow guests into gyms one at a time, followed by a thorough cleaning of all equipment before allowing the next guest. Restaurants remain flexible in order to meet local city and state compliance guidelines, shifting to only outdoor seating, or to allow to-go and takeout meals. All of these areas limit the number of people allowed in these spaces and place markers in order to facilitate social distancing. These measures have allowed hotels to slowly reopen these services, ensuring the safety of everyone present and regaining the ability to offer guests a more experiential stay by enjoying these spaces.
Rise to the Occasion
If there was anything to be gleamed from the previous year, it is that our world is changing. In this new normal, the hospitality industry is continuing to reinvent the ways in which we work to bring outstanding service to our guests. Though it is not always easy, it is a challenge that we face head on and we remain undaunted by the task at hand. We have been challenged to rise to the occasion, pushing to continually find creative solutions to even the largest problems. This versatility has allowed hotels to continue to exist in today’s world, and we look forward to continuing to bring outstanding service to all of our guests.
To learn more about Synergy Hospitality Management and our management services, please visit our Services page or reach out to schedule a management consultation.