After the quarantine, the biggest challenge in the hotel industry is to regain the trust of the guests. How can you prove that your hotel is safe? How can you show your guests that you are taking every precaution to avoid contamination in the hotel? The keywords are compliance, transparency, flexibility, and generosity.
Compliance: certificates for COVID-free hotels
The idea of certificates for COVID-free hotels and establishments became popular early-on. Most countries now have these certificates, or at least an app, to help guests and businesses navigate this uncertain period. These apps, like our own Place Checkup and Clean & Safe apps, provide businesses with a list of things they must comply with. Meanwhile, guests are reassured that businesses are complying with recommended measures.
Of course, you can double this down with a good old “show, don’t tell” strategy. Create visual aids to help guests navigate the safe circuits within the hotel, make sure there’s hand sanitiser at every hotspot, install acrylic sheets at the reception, and handout gloves, masks, and pocket-size sanitisers along with regular soap and shampoo.
Place Checkup – a solution any business can use.
Place Checkup is a free platform, developed by Infraspeak and supported by the #Tech4COVID19 movement, whose goal is to help managers of establishments open to the public to manage and highlight how they are performing the necessary cleaning and security procedures to mitigate the contamination of COVID-19, to convey trust to their customers in the usage of their space.
With the implementation of a checklist made available on the platform, which includes the official recommendations of entities such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and other global certification initiatives, you will obtain your Grade A, B, or C “COVID-19 Prevention” Badge, which you can post at the hotel entrance.
The platform is already available and issuing certificates for all types of establishments. Soon, consumers will have access to an app that allows them to check the seal and the prevention status of any establishment before leaving home. Don’t be left out! Register and get your free certificate on the spot:
Transparency: be honest about the situation
Being more open and honest is the best policy to regain the trust of your guests both during the pandemic and afterward. Explain to your guests what you are doing to keep the hotel safe (make cleaning times public, for example), and remind them to take care of themselves (wash their hands after touching switches, handles, elevator buttons, and so on).
You can also share analysis results on water quality (to dispel any doubt about legionella after a long shutdown, for example) and air quality. Once again, Place Checkup is your friend in increasing transparency towards guests.
Keep your guests informed
No matter how good your containment plan is, you cannot control everything that goes on around you. In other words, your policy of transparency must also extend to what goes on outside the hotel. Keep your guests informed about the number of cases in your region and any other relevant information from local health authorities. For example, if your country or region requires a COVID-19 test upon arrival, make sure your guests have all the information they need. Being approachable and friendly will make them feel well cared for.
Flexibility: deal with guest concerns
Naturally, guests are more afraid of making reservations too far in advance. What happens if the flight is canceled or if there are new restrictions on freedom of movement?
As long as the possibility of a second outbreak hangs over us, we all have to be willing to accept that no plan is definitive. Flexibility in reservations is essential to regain the confidence of your guests after quarantine. So here are some suggestions:
- allow payments to be made at the hotel check-in so that the customers aren’t left with a retained balance;
- allow reservations to be canceled closer to the date of the scheduled stay (e.g. one week in advance);
- when guests cancel a reservation after this deadline, issue a voucher with an extended validity (at least one year) so that they can reschedule the trip;
- if the guest needs to check out earlier than planned, do not charge the entire stay;
- assure your guests that you will return the full payment of the stay, without charging any cancellation fee, if the trip cannot take place due to the cancellation of flights or for public health reasons.
Generosity: a complete package for quarantined guests
All your guests know that there is a risk – more or less remote, depending on the evolution of the pandemic – that they will become ill during their stay at your hotel. So it’s also important that your guests understand how you will deal with this hypothetical scenario.
Assure them that they will have as comfortable a stay or quarantine as possible should the worst happen:
- provide room and laundry services to guests who have to stay in isolation at no additional cost;
- consider offering access to various streaming platforms to guests in isolation, as they will not be able to enjoy the common areas of the hotel;
- have computers, game consoles, or other electronic equipment available to quarantine guests in their rooms;
- ensure your guests have access to thermometers, antipyretics, analgesics, and other medicines during isolation in the room;
- seek health professionals (doctors, nurses, and auxiliaries) fluent in several languages, so that they can better communicate with the guest and follow the evolution of his/her health condition.