Travelers are eager to book trips and vacations despite the fact that the pandemic may be far from over. A new round of uncertainty around the coronavirus does not seem to have dampened the pent-up enthusiasm for travel that consumers have built up over the past year.
While hotels can expect a rise in reservations in the coming months, this is not simply a return to normal. Here’s a look at how hotels can welcome guests back in the face of new challenges brought on by COVID-19.
- Understand guest expectations. Consumers are weighing their desire for travel against their concerns about health and safety. The first step is to recognize that customers will bring a different set of expectations around these concerns than they have in the past.
- Develop clear policies… Hotels need simple and straightforward procedures for cleaning, maintenance and social distancing. These will vary based on your property and local laws but they should be easy-to-follow and implemented with consistency.
- ...And communicate them to customers. While health and safety measures are important in their own right, hotels can leverage these efforts to establish trust and confidence. Guests should notice that sanitizing, social distancing and other procedures are happening as soon as they step through the lobby.
- Rethink front desk greetings. A warm welcome and inviting interaction will always be at the heart of good hospitality. At the same time, staff should be trained to welcome guests in ways that comply with social distancing expectations, including making eye contact, welcoming gestures and other nonverbal communication. It’s important to reinforce awareness among staff that guests may have difficulty understanding them without being able to see their full face.
- Reduce physical contact with guests. Staff should interact with guests in a helpful, friendly manner while limiting touch and other direct contact as much as possible. It is a good idea to rehearse potential interactions as part of training to anticipate situations in which physical contact may occur and practice the best method of maintaining social distance while being hospitable.
- Emphasize wellness offerings. Consumer confidence about health and safety extends beyond COVID-19 protocols. Outdoor events, personalized fitness options and partnerships with other like-minded businesses shows your hotel takes health and wellness seriously.
- Enhance the guest room experience. Guests should feel that their room is a sanctuary where they experience security and peace of mind. With purified air and advanced surface sanitization, Pure Rooms help promote well-being, consumer confidence and a great night’s sleep.
- Utilize technology to improve safety. Consumers believe technology, such as mobile keys and other contactless technology, is crucial for preventing the spread of the coronavirus. Investing in these not only increases confidence in your hotel but will also enhance the guest experience over the longer term.