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Post-COVID protocols for the hospitality industry

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The COVID-19 pandemic acted as a wake-up call for individuals around the world. Its effects are being felt by sectors everywhere, and the hospitality industry is no different. For all client-facing and service-based industries the pandemic has taken an unexpected turn in their plans. With terms like social distancing, quarantine and isolation doing the rounds, it's unlikely that customers would step out of their safe house, let alone travel or live in a hotel.

Now that the hotels around the world will slowly begin to open their doors for guests, albeit with efforts in place to maintain social distancing and coronavirus at bay. Even so, it would be a while before things would go back to the way they were in the pre-COVID era. The hospitality industry has a lot on their plate that needs consideration specifically for activities regarding the smooth running of operations within the hotel to accommodating new hygiene measures before they open their doors for their guests.

Every country, in their own way, has listed a few protocols to be followed for the safety of the staff and the visiting guests of these hotels. As the post-COVID-19 world would not be the same as before the pandemic came in, let's take a look at some of the post-COVID protocols that the hospitality industry must adhere to while opening for business.

Hygiene is a crucial factor that will play a big role in the decision making of guests as they plan their next stay. It is of utmost importance that hotels now focus on their hygiene factors much more than before. In compliance with the new rules and regulations, it is a must to review your property's cleaning and sanitization processes on a regular basis. This should then be followed by a run through under UV lights and other medical-grade cleaning materials approved by the authorities.

Air Quality
Viruses, known and unknown, have the potential to be transmitted via air. Therefore, it is important that the air quality is checked regularly. It is essential to prioritize the flow of fresh air throughout the day and night via the air-conditioning amongst hallways and the lobby. All of this is crucial to avoid the spread of viruses that may be airborne.

Contactless Service
Physical contact is to be limited as much as possible. Therefore, in lieu of the social distancing norms being stated by governments, hotels must ensure that they can open for business by incorporating processes that limit physical contact. Some of these include check-in and check-out with the use of mobile room keys. Installing kiosks with facial and ID recognition ensures that the guests can limit their contact with the screen. With minimum to no contact between the guests and the screen, time is saved on sanitizing these kiosks. These can be placed at strategic angles within the hotel to avoid crowding leading to physical contact.

In-house Services
Hotels will have to rethink their laundry and linen operations, re-evaluate their garbage disposal methods and make use of protective equipment for the staff working in the hotels. In order to protect their laundry or to dispose of the garbage, hotels can make use of sealed bags to avoid getting the workers contaminated with harmful viruses.

Property management
With time on hand before the hotel is abuzz with guests teeming around, you must assess and evaluate your property's workflow and operational management system. Find ways to optimize space for maximum movement of guests and staff without having to bump or touch each other. All of this is to ensure adherence to social distancing guidelines that will be with us for a while.

The travel, tourism and the hospitality industry are in a crisis situation since they are dependent on each other for businesses. Although guidelines have been given out and amendments are being put into place, it will be a while before hotels can get back on their feet. This is a good time to evaluate and chalk out strategies to make up for the losses incurred in the past quarter when hotels had to shut down. These are unprecedented and trying times, but with the right plan in place, you can overcome these challenges and make a strong comeback.

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