We are a few months into the COVID-19 crisis and our business operations have been adapting to the new global reality. As hotels begin reopening and guests slowly return to our properties, maintaining the health and safety of guests and team members is of paramount importance. First and foremost, consistently be vigilant about checking with national, regional, and local authorities; your legal counsel; and your insurance company to ensure compliance with everchanging mandates and guidance.
Many of our partners in the hotel industry have been releasing standards for cleanliness that are helpful guides to what we all need to be doing in our part to fight this public health crisis. One of the most overarching is the Stay Safe Guidelines released by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA). Our friends at Skift have been compiling a comprehensive list of cleanliness guidelines released by all of the major brands and other organizations in our industry.
Even stricter protocols than we already had in place are now mandatory. If a guest walks from the front door to the elevator or at the very least from the elevator to the guestroom and does not see a team member wiping, scrubbing, mopping, or some other form of cleaning, guests will have a sense that the hotel may not be clean and they may opt for going to another hotel. This is not to say that this cleaning should be superficial, rather it is crucial that your labor models and expense considerations moving forward account for an increased need in cleaning on an hourly basis. While some expense savings may be realized given that housekeeping will no longer clean stay overs, the increased need for cleaning throughout the property may completely offset any potential savings. And remember that stringent cleaning goes for both front of house and back of house areas. Keeping guests and team members safe must be paramount, not one or the other. And the sooner you can get ahead of the potential shortage in PPE and cleaning products, the better.
This new normal will be with us for the foreseeable future and at a minimum, until a vaccine is available. Let’s all do our part to safely welcome guests and team members back to our hotels and together, we’ll emerge from this crisis with a renewed dedication to our mission of hospitality.