As areas across the country begin to open up amid the COVID-19 pandemic, hotels are preparing for a future of travel that will likely look much different with enhanced health and safety protocols and social distancing measures. Leading hotel brands have rolled out enhanced hygiene protocols, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) has created industry-wide hotel cleaning standards, and hotel owners and operators have launched their own initiatives to keep guests and staff safe as they prepare to welcome back travelers. Below are some of the steps these owners and operators have taken.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This list is being updated as new initiatives are launched. Read about cleaning programs launched by hotel brands here.
HEI Hotels & Resorts
On May 11, HEI Hotels & Resorts, a hospitality investment and management company, announced new standard operating procedures, alterations to hotel spaces, and the purchase of disinfecting technology and personal protective equipment (PPE) across its more than 80 independent and branded hotels. Employees will have their temperatures checked before their shifts, and the company has secured enough PPE to last through the end of the year. HEI’s training team has developed enhanced safety instruction for all associates, and managers have been instructed on how to conduct disciplined checks of safety protocols. Newly purchased electrostatic sprayers will be used routinely in public and private spaces, and housekeeping staff will place “door seals” on sanitized guestrooms. Among other measures, hotels will add partitions separating guests and staff in high touch areas, and have restructured dining and catering options to be touchless or low-touch.
Hospitality Ventures Management Group
Hospitality Ventures Management Group (HVMG), an Atlanta-based, private hotel investment, ownership, and management company, on May 13 launched its Trust & Preparedness Plan across its portfolio of 47 hotels and one convention center. Protocols range from the installation of hand sanitizer stations in all public spaces to having all associates wear masks. The plan includes additional instructions on sanitizing rooms and public spaces, and steps to take if a guest or associate tests positive for the coronavirus. To ensure compliance, HVMG is introducing a Certified Trust Ambassador at each hotel, who will be trained in up-to-date sanitation and cleaning protocols. Moving forward, HVMG plans to build a larger Trust Council with both hospitality and non-industry experts to educate its team on changing guidance and emerging technology.
Remington Hotels, a third-party management company, announced on May 4 new guidelines for its 87 properties that include enhanced cleaning protocols and updated training systems. In addition to collaborating with brand partners on best practices, Remington Hotels aligned with an industrial hygienist to develop a COVID-19 mitigation program for all hotels that outlines procedures in the event of a guest or associate being infected. Each Remington Hotels property is also using EPA-registered disinfectant products.
Steps each hotel is taking include increasing the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting public spaces; converting food and beverage offerings to grab-and-go; using OpenKey as a “contactless” digital entry; and offering Pure Rooms at all properties that provide purified air, hypoallergenic environments, and allergy-friendly options, among other measures. The company is also updating its staff training program; instituting mandatory temperature checks of all associates at the beginning and throughout their shifts; mandating handwashing for employees every two hours; and requiring staff to wear gloves and masks; Remington Hotels is supplying each of its 87 hotels with the proper protective gear, including reusable masks from fellow Texas-based company, Dallas Wear Uniforms.
Rosen Hotels & Resort
Rosen Hotels & Resorts, owned and operated by independent hotelier Harris Rosen, announced on May 8 its COVID-19 Response Plan. Experts from the company’s RosenCare healthcare program partnered with a specially-appointed task force and created a plan for Rosen Hotels’ eight Orlando hotels. New procedures will be implemented at all eight properties, including enhanced processes for cleaning public and back-of-the-house areas with quick-acting hydrogen peroxide-based disinfectants considered effective by the CDC. Additional new processes include: ensuring social distancing between associates and guests and limiting cross-contact of common items; increasing the number of accessible hand sanitizer dispensers; placing clear protective barriers at the front desk; using hospital-grade disinfectants designed to kill viruses when sanitizing each guestroom with electrostatic sprayers; staff temperature checks before each shift; and more.
Shelborne South Beach
In preparation for its reopening, the Shelborne South Beach announced on May 7 its new “cleaned with confidence” seal of assurance. Among other measures, the hotel has invested in equipment from EMist, an electrostatic technology company whose products are used to disinfect healthcare facilities, to clean guestrooms and public areas. After guests check out, housekeeping staff will disinfect guestrooms using the EPIX360, a handheld disinfectant sprayer that lays down an even and wraparound layer of germ-killing solution. Once completed, guestrooms will be sealed off with a “cleaned with confidence” marking that will remain in place until the next guests arrive. Public spaces, such as meeting rooms, will be disinfected using an EM360 roller cart, which can cover up to 54,000 square feet of surface in one hour. Additionally, the Shelborne South Beach will offer guests a “privacy” sign to hang on their door, which will ensure that requested services, such as the delivery of clean towels or food and beverage items, will be left at the door.
On May 7, Denver-based hotel owner, operator, and developer Stonebridge Companies announced that it will roll out enhanced cleaning practices at its hotels nationwide in accordance with the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s recently released Safe Stay cleaning standards. This industry-wide initiative launched by AHLA in accordance with guidance issued by public health authorities, including the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), is focused on enhanced hotel cleaning practices, social interactions, and workplace protocols to meet the new health and safety challenges and expectations presented by COVID-19. All Stonebridge Companies properties will implement and adhere to AHLA’s Safe Stay Guidelines, which will include a series of best practices for the industry.