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 honesty, flexibility, and generosity.
Certificates for COVID-free hotels
The idea of COVID-free hotels and establishments is increasingly popular in several European countries. After Germany put forward the idea of “immunity passports” for the return to work, more and more countries started to consider serological tests to confirm who developed antibodies to COVID-19 and to issue security certificates for the most diverse businesses.
One of the first proposals for “COVID-Free Hotels” came from Spain. The Hotel Business Association of Madrid (HBAM) has already started working on a protocol that ensures security for clients and workers in Madrid’s hotel establishments after the quarantine. However, the first city to implement the initiative was Alicante, with the “Alicante COVID-Free” security protocol.
COVID-Free Certificate (Tourism of Portugal)
In Portugal, the idea also has supporters and could be implemented this summer. In a recent meeting with the Prime Minister, the Pestana, Vila Galé, Porto Bay, and Sana groups – some of which are Infraspeak clients – and the Portuguese Hotel Association (AHP) gave their support to this solution. A potential “Hotel COVID Free” certificate would be awarded by the Tourism of Portugal, following the specific rules of the General Directorate of Health (DGS).
DGS has already launched a series of guidelines for the hotel industry at the beginning of the outbreak, which gave rise to our checklist on how to prevent the contamination of COVID-19 in hotels.
Place Checkup – a solution you can already 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:
Be more open and honest
Being more open and honest is the best policy to regain the trust of your guests after quarantine. Explain to your guests what you are doing to keep the hotel safe (post cleaning times, for example) and remind them to take care of themselves (wash their hands after touching switches, handles, elevator buttons, etc).
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
As good as 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 – remember that many guests may not even know where to find reliable information about Portugal.
Assuming they have to take some care every time they leave the hotel, prepare a welcome package with a reusable mask and pocket-size disinfectant.
Provide more flexibility
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 payment to be made only at the hotel so that the customer does not have to be left with a retained balance;
- allow reservations to be canceled until a date close to the scheduled stay (e.g. one week in advance);
- when guests cancel the 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, it will not cover 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.
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.