Reopening Hotels after the Pandemic: Health and Safety
12th March 2021
On the 22nd February, there was a new announcement regarding the reopening of the hospitality industry. As a result of this news, the tourism sector is planning for the safe reopening of the industry, which has had a substantial amount of support from the government. The hospitality industry is expected to reopen on 17th May (Boris Johnson, 2021), and by 21st June large scale events will resume.
For now, preparing hotels for guests and employees is a top priority for Hotel Managers. Health and safety will need to be adapted and improved to ensure a safe work environment. The three main elements concerning health and safety are: Technology, Policy and Protection – employees and guests.
As hotels reopen, hotel managers are focusing on using various forms of technology to help reduce the risk of infection. This may include:
Becoming Remote hotel
This will be the perfect way to reduce personal contact with customers and staff. It will include mobile check-ins and check-outs, implementing contactless payment via smartphone, offering an opportunity to order anything via a mobile app, and meeting guest’s needs via Direct chat (Bondarchuk, 2020). Moreover, it will be facilitated by scanning a QR code issued at the time when booking (Gilliland, 2020). Setting up the mobile app for remote control a range of things in the room, such as the lighting and temperature (Xie, 2021). The functions of the remote hotel are helping to reduce the risk due to less face-to-face contact.
We made it possible to use your mobile phone as your room key. If you complete your payment in advance, you can use your smartphone to unlock your room with our dedicated app by pressing it over the locked part of the door (Hertzfeld, 2018).
Automated cleaning technology will protect our guests and employees. “The Light Strike Germ-Zapping Robots kill bacteria with xenon ultraviolet light pulses. According to the technology’s manufacturer, the robots have decreased environmental infection rates between 51 and 100%”. We are committed to doing our best to ensure a safe and comfortable environment for you (Gilliland, 2020).
Health and safety must remain a top priority for hotels. In order to keep employees and guests safe hotel managers will have to:
Personal Protection Equipment
Hotel managers must plan the PPE requirements of the entire hotel before reopening and make changes according to government regulations. They must be able to identify the best PPE for their employees based on their job requirements and interactions with guests (idcband.com).
To ensure the health and safety of guest and staff, a temperature check should be given to employees before shifts and to guests when they arrive at the premises (Darios, 2020).
It is another way to ensure the safety of everyone in the hotel, as they will remind guests to observe the social distancing rules (idcband.com and Darios, 2020).
Reduce the number of staff working per shift
Reducing the number of employees working per shift will increase their safety, as well as the customers’ The use of contactless technology will help employees work more efficiently, regardless of their being less on-site staff (Shashou, 2021).
Educating the employees on health and safety, for example, how to use the laundry professionally, the way of sanitizing the bedding while washing (Bondarchuk, 2020).
Frequent Air-conditioning service and maintenance tasks to prevent infection spread in the hotel (Verot, 2021).
Managers must ensure their hotels operate in accordance with government guidelines and are keeping the customers best interests in mind.
Health Protection Regulation 2021
Hotels have been a vital part of quarantining for international tourists. “The legislation, called the Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel) (England) (Amendment) (No. 7) Regulations 2021” (Fox, 2012), requires travellers to quarantine in government approved accommodation. These hotels must operate under strict guidelines, in order to stay open during lockdowns.
Hotel managers must have a ‘Prevention Plan’ (Verot, 2021) in place and should give accurate and clear information to guests and employees, regarding covid-19 information.
Flexible booking / cancellations
Most Hotels are offering refunds, are allowing modifications to bookings and have a flexible cancellation policy (Verot, 2021).
Some hotels now have a support team, specialising in covid-19 and safety related issues. This team would allow hotels to review the existing health and safety protocols and improve them and this would ensure the safety of the guests (Radisson Hotel, 2021).
Although the hospitality industry is expected to reopen on the 17th May, the hotel manager will still have to take precautions when it comes to health and safety and there opening of their hotel. COVID-19 has made guests more concerned about their health and safety. After the pandemic, people will continue to prioritise personal hygiene. To make customers feel safe during the reopening of hotels, the manager could do more on health and safety to ensure employees and customers are safe enough. Coronavirus has shown the importance of hotel flexibility. While the hospitality industry is recovering from the covid-19 pandemic, managers should be well prepared for any policy updates and plan for their customers; provide a smooth and convenient, journey for our customers.
How do you feel about the hotel reopening? Do you find this blog helpful? Please feel free to share your ideas in the comment below!!!