As we continue to move forward amid a global pandemic, the topic of hygiene remains at the forefront of the hospitality industry. Simone Remba, consultant at Thomas Klein International, walks us through the protocols.
The focus is now on how to navigate this intra-pandemic age, where the concepts of hygiene and cleanliness protocols have been propelled to new levels. Whereas before we were free to choose our travel destinations based on appeal and affordability, we are now forced to consider the health and safety aspect of the location. Guests want to be sure that hotels and restaurants are taking their safety seriously, so a lack of hygiene regulations can seriously damage the reputation of an establishment.
Hotel brands have been vigilant in creating and communicating in-house hygiene protocols in a bid to put guests at ease during this period.
Hyatt’s “Global Care & Cleanliness Commitment” is a new health and safety initiative that takes into account all aspects of the brand, from the F&B outlets to hotel design. Indeed, hygiene managers have been appointed at each property to oversee all hygiene protocols.
Marriott details its initiatives under the “Marriott Global Cleanliness Council,” which focuses on developing “the next level of global hospitality cleanliness standards.” Alongside this initiative, Marriott is tackling hygiene from all fronts by experimenting with ultraviolet light technology to sanitize devices and room keys.
MGM’s “Seven Point Safety Plan” is described as a multi-layered set of procedures formulated with medical and scientific experts in a bid to eliminate any contamination within MGM properties.
Hygiene has now become the poster child for most hotel marketing efforts and is thus positioned as the key communication topic. As such, it creates a dilemma for brands seeking to differentiate themselves from the competition.
Although the industry was already experiencing a technological shift to contactless experiences, the forced limitation of personal contact has further created a void. Brands that initially did not give into the trend of contactless payments and check-ins have been forced to assimilate and strategize on how to weave technology into their culture, which has been built on authentic face-to-face interactions.
Design-wise, brands need to address how social distancing translates into their restaurant and hotel designs for all current and upcoming restaurants and hotels. This poses a problem of how to create intimate, cozy spaces while adhering to the mandatory 1.5 to 2 meter gap between tables and workstations. The trend of communal spaces will stop, and we will see the emergence of more private spaces that promote the live-work-play ethos in a secluded and safe environment.
Ultimately, there is no timestamp to determine when the hospitality experience that we once enjoyed will return, if at all. The responsibility of safety is now shared; guests are required to wear protective gear and socially distance, while hospitality establishments continue to enforce heightened hygiene protocols. For now, at least, we can forget the generous buffet breakfasts and seeing the warm smiles of hotel staff.