Covid-19 Management in Hotels


With the uncertainties brought in by the pandemic, travel has been on a decline, but experts say that the pent-up demand would slowly unravel and soon the hospitality industry will see a surge in business. But, before things can take-off, there are certain crucial factors that need a hotelier’s attention, as they are on every traveler’s mind.

Employees having their temeperature checked - Source Hotelogix

Covid-19 Management in Hotels

Hotelogix;

With the uncertainties brought in by the pandemic, travel has been on a decline, but experts say that the pent-up demand would slowly unravel and soon the hospitality industry will see a surge in business. But, before things can take-off, there are certain crucial factors that need a hotelier’s attention, as they are on every traveler’s mind. Guest interaction is adduced as the most common concern travelers have as safety and security in hotels has become extremely important, given the havoc that the pandemic has played.

We all know by now that the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus happens primarily via respiratory droplets, through person-to-person contact and the best prescribed prevention methods include maintaining thorough hand hygiene, physical/social distance and wearing a mask whenever one is stepping out of the house. Sufficient ventilation in buildings/indoor settings can also help in curbing the risk of infection. But do you, as a hotelier, know enough about how to prepare your property and human resource to tackle this invisible threat? To help you address worries of your guests, we have listed below a few useful and practical tips for every department of a hotel to guarantee effective hotel management in 2021.

Since there is a high measure of interaction between guests, guests and staff and between staff members themselves, in a hotel environment or within any kind of entity that provides accommodation services, these interactions require keen attention.

MANAGEMENT:

The management at hotels needs to have a strategy in place to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic, which must be regularly updated, as suggested by pertinent authorities. Some aspects to consider are:

  1. The management at hotels must create and implement a plan to prevent transmissions, in consultation with the local government, health authorities, as well as hotels, restaurants and other related administrations and industry associations.
  2. Mitigating health impact on staff and guests is possible by supporting the health authorities in managing cases and tracing contacts.
  3. Processes should be clearly laid out for staff members to follow in case they feel poorly, such as maintaining a minimum distance of 1 meter between themselves and guests.
  4. Staff must have easy accessibility to facilities and reserves of cleaning and disinfecting materials.
  5. Processes to follow in case of cleaning and disinfecting rooms utilized by infected people must also be put in place.
  6. The management must also ensure that adequate resources are allocated to manage suspected cases and their possible contacts.
  7. Regular supervision of measures taken, and their effects is important to cover any gaps in implementation.
  8. A detailed record of actions taken to manage suspected cases must be kept.
  9. Clear guidelines must be provided to staff members on how to communicate the action plan to guests, to make sure everyone is aligned towards the purpose.
  10. Documents, videos etc. which stress on the best practices for Covid prevention could be circulated to establish information amongst guests and staff.
  11. Staff must always have an updated list of contacts and emergency numbers handy for use whenever required.
  12. Staff must be informed of all the protective measures and signs and symptoms of Covid-19, by organizing regular briefing sessions. Standard operating procedures for dealing with suspected cases, as well as cleaning and disinfecting premises should also be included during these sessions.

Another important aspect of post-Covid hotel management is the management of revenue. The market conditions and containment of Covid-19 around the world varies in the present scenario. It is therefore only fitting for hotels to develop recovery plans that are not too boxed or stringent in nature. Flexibility would allow hotels to thrive in the evolving market situation and must therefore include four key factors – Capturing existing demand in the market, adjusting pricing strategies to maximize long-term revenue, reviewing market forecasts and analyzing the competition’s contribution to the playfield. A hotel property management software can provide you with all the inputs, spread over 100+ reports such as those which present a cumulative of finances and occupancy as well as night audits that are done at the end of a day, which you would need to make these business decisions.

In addition to keeping communication open with the staff at your hotel, it is important to stay in constant touch with your hotel’s audience by way of emails or updates on your website and social media channels. For example, answering commonly asked questions related to bookings/cancellations and safety measures would display a hotel’s proactiveness in Covid-19 prevention. Also reach out to guests through content tailored to suit their interests and current apprehensions.

FRONT OFFICE:

Staff at the front-desk have maximum chances of interaction with guests and therefore, it is pivotal for employees at the reception to take all necessary precautions and to comply with the guidelines laid out by the management and the government for protection against Covid-19. In addition to maintaining physical distance and always having masks on, other points to be taken care of are:

  1. Staff at the reception must always be kept abreast with all information related to Covid, enabling them to pass it on to guests. This should include all the safety measures, protocols, and policies in place.
  2. Front-desk staff should be given the authority to advise guests with symptoms of Covid-19 to quarantine within their rooms, until seen by a doctor or medical practitioner and must arrange for masks or alcohol-based hand rubs for the guests with symptoms.
  3. Occupancy policies of a hotel for person’s accompanying people with a suspected case of Covid must be made clear to the reception staff.
  4. Guests who make an exit from your hotel must be asked to inform local health authorities of their stay at the hotel, if they develop symptoms associated with Covid-19.
  5. Emergency telephone numbers for hospitals, health authorities, transportation services should be at the front-desk’s disposal.
  6. Guest information must be treated with caution, in consultation with the hotel’s management and local health authorities. With a property management system like Hotelogix, it is easy to manage such information without being worried about safety or security of data.
  7. In order to ensure that Covid appropriate behavior is followed, it may be necessary to reduce the occupancy rate at your hotel. However, to make sure that your hotel does not suffer losses or the revenue does not get affected in doing so, you could invest in a hotel management system that also does yield management for your property.
  8. Guests must always be reminded of respiratory hygiene, social distancing and sanitizing hands and other surfaces as a norm, even though they may already be aware of them.
  9. If deemed necessary, the establishment must provide physical barriers between staff and guests to maintain the required distance.
  10. PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) should be available to the
    reception staff to use in the presence of a suspected case of Covid-19 and must include things like medical masks and eye protection, face shield, disinfectant wipes, surface cleaners, plastic aprons, isolation gowns etc.
  11. Proper training should be given to the staff for the use and disposal of PPE kits.

Along with these, another operational aspect that hoteliers must immediately employ is making a provision for guests to check -in/out…



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