A Post-Pandemic World and the Future of Hotel Management
By Tom Baker, Managing Principal
The hospitality industry is finding it must step up quickly to serve the increasingly complex needs of this new wave of travelers rushing to book vacations as lockdown restrictions are easing, vaccination rollouts are implemented and COVID-19 stats are much more encouraging. However, much of what has been implemented during the pandemic is here to stay. From now on, travelers will be thinking about cleanliness and minimizing the spread of all germs and viruses more than they ever had before the pandemic. Hotels should continue to take the necessary steps to minimize the spread of Covid-19 and continue to make much-needed changes in hotel management, policies and design.
Areas of particular focus for hotel owners:
1. Contactless Technology
The Covid-19 pandemic has dramatically changed how hotels use technology in their everyday operations. Since there is an increased need for social distancing, full-service hotels need to reduce touchpoints as much as possible. The introduction of touchless guest entry, in-room speech recognition for services, and contactless payment systems can help control the spread of infection and ensure your guest’s comfort. As a bonus, the technology is ultra-convenient for your guests!
Examples of tech-driven contactless experiences include:
- A digital concierge for hotels that allows hotels on the database to respond to requests by customers
- Using voice technology to roll out contactless room service solutions
Contactless technology is a safe option for guests and supports operational flexibility, scalability, and cost-efficiency.
2. Greater Focus on Hygiene and Sanitation
Once the traveling ban lifts worldwide and your potential guests feel it’s safe to travel again, guests will expect high levels of cleanliness and sanitation for their safety and ease of mind. This means that your hotel’s standard cleaning operations and practices must change accordingly.
Maintain cleanliness and ensure guest satisfaction by putting sanitation stations on entrances and in other areas in plain sight. Also, establish strict standard operating procedures (SOPs) and create rigorous deep cleaning protocols.
Many hotels have also made significant changes in how they use modern building materials. This includes incorporating non-porous surfaces or copper for high-frequency touchpoints that can inactivate microbes.
To encourage social distancing, disposable menus and QR codes are also viable options.
In the post-Covid world, hospitality experts anticipate that people will want to stay in their rooms more often for meals or work due to social distancing and to some extent, habit. There will be a greater emphasis on hotel designs that incorporate private spaces like an attached laundry room, kitchen, and dining area to limit contact. These spaces may gradually transform into working pods or living pods, each with its enclosed set of attached areas.
4. Interior Design
Research shows that the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 (and many other types of germs and viruses) can live up to three days on plastic and stainless steel surfaces. This makes it imperative to pay attention to both hard and soft surfaces inside the hotel to ensure maximum protection for incoming guests.
To optimize sanitation, hotels are installing hard-surface floors accented with area rugs that can be disinfected, along with easy-to-clean bed linen, towels, and dining linen. For example, a hotel in Hong Kong changed its entire renovation plan to include a built-in thermal scanner and negative pressure floors to prevent cross-contamination between rooms.
The AHA Takeaway
As remote working and spaces conducive to social distancing continue to gain popularity, there will continue to be an increased demand for safe and comfortable hotel experiences. In the post-pandemic world, hotels need to maintain a clean environment to ensure ultimate guest satisfaction. Technology that is convenient and limits person-to-person contact, cleanliness, self-contained spaces, and interior design made for the modern age are four areas on which hotel owners and hotel management should focus when making decisions moving forward.
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– Tom Baker, Managing Principal