What To Do To Ensure Guest Safety During COVID-19
US hotels are also trying to cope with the reduced consumer numbers due to this pandemic. Many hotels had to bear the brunt of low occupancy rates, and some of the luxury hotels closed. There was a decline of 15% in occupancy rates for such hotels, but economy hotels saw better rates at 40%. The economy hotels will soon return to their pre-pandemic occupancy rates but this recovery might not be so fast for luxury hotels. The operating costs of luxury hotels are also high due to which they can’t go beyond threshold occupancy rates. In such hotels, the variable costs vary due to low occupancy rates. This is because staff costs are still high no matter the occupancy.
Luxury segment hotels require at least 100 employees to function smoothly. The hotel has to still incur fixed costs when it’s closed, but the electricity bills and staff costs are not incurred anymore. The hospitality business also suffered, especially in the luxury segment because travel restrictions were imposed. Hence, no international business meetings were happening for corporate employees which warranted a hotel stay.
On the other hand, economy hotels can substitute hotel labor with their family members when the occupancy rates are not high. This is because, despite travel restrictions, truck drivers have to handle their duties and transport goods across borders and hence, overnight hotel stays are needed.
Measures Taken By The Hotel Industry
Hotels can also encourage employees to take some measures because hotel stays have started increasing. Hotels can make sure that rooms are cleaned with an ultraviolet room disinfectant to kill the COVID-19 virus. All this information can be uploaded on a hospitality LMS. There could be extra time between stays and offering a room soon after it has been vacated. Also, housekeeping staff should not be allowed into the rooms during stays to minimize exposure to the virus.
But, what about when guests have ordered room service? In this case, waiters should deliver such orders wearing PPE kits. Guests can also be asked to sign a declaration form at check-in stating that they don’t have COVID. In case guests are coming from a certain country, you could ask for a soft copy of a negative RT-PCR report.
But some guests may be reluctant to cooperate with such policies. For them, it would be best to ask them at the time of booking whether they would be ok with such measures. In this case, a hospitality LMS, which would send an autoresponder email to the guests, would be useful once they have booked a date on the hotel website.
Measures Taken By China
In China, for example, where the virus first originated, a lot of measures have been deployed to prevent the spread of the virus. Apart from checking the temperature of guests at the time of entry into a hotel, temperatures were checked several times a day when guests entered or left the hotel. Temperatures were checked even when guests checked out of hotels. Chinese hotels started taking extreme measures to prevent infection, and as a result, instead of humans, robots were deployed to deliver room service.
Hotels also closed those facilities where the chances of infection were high, like gyms and spas, to prevent proximity. Employees were informed about such guidelines through the hospitality LMS.
What About Travel Restrictions To The US?
The hotel industry in the US will be seeing a boom once travel restrictions from Europe are removed. These restrictions are under review for now. President Joe Biden has already said on July 15th that they are thinking about removing travel restrictions that forbid European citizens to come to the US. But, there is no hope of such travel restrictions being removed till August 2021. So, the US hospitality industry will begin to recover once travel restrictions are lifted.
The main problem is the implementation of passenger contact tracing for any European visitor coming to the US. This is sought by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention of the US.
Coming Back To The Hospitality LMS
The main benefit of a hospitality LMS is that there is no need for the reproduction of printed materials once there are any updates of hotel policies. This is because such an LMS is open to all and employees can read about any relevant policy changes on it. When it’s time to train hotel staff, courses can be added, and once such courses are no longer in use, they can be deleted easily. Such an LMS can be quite useful for ensuring that employees are informed of the new laws. In case an audit happens, the analytics of the hospitality LMS are useful in showing the authorities how you have complied.
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Originally published at www.linkedin.com.