The global COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t spared hotels in the slightest. As states across the country begin to lift stay-at-home orders, properties can once again serve guests in person and fill rooms while following guidelines for health and safety. The hotel industry faces a unique challenge—owners and operators must enforce these new health and safety measures while maintaining an elevated guest experience. Below are five ways that hoteliers can accommodate the new norm of traveling amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
1Respect Personal Space
Guests are already wary of being away from home as it is, so going above and beyond could make a significant difference in their experiences. Keep employee and guest interactions positive, but also respectful of personal space. When checking guests in, figure out a strategy that executes social distancing. Make sure that employees are always keeping their space, even while cleaning and sanitizing common areas. Essentially, all hotels should be and must be cleaner and more enjoyable than ever before—guests want their hotel experience to feel as comfortable and stress-free as their own home without sacrificing the experience of getting away from it all.
2Reward Guest Loyalty
The current economic climate isn’t playing any favorites, so the fact that travelers are still willing to spend money on any hospitality business speaks volumes. Reward guest loyalty by offering exclusive discounts or special offers to show how much their stay is genuinely appreciated. If already using this strategy, increase the reward to make it even more valuable. Consider offering more points to put toward future stays or something more personal, like a reduced price for a day at the spa or on the golf course. Another way to recognize current guests is to establish a referral program. These simple practices will pay off in the long run, and motivate guests—and their friends—to book another room in the future.
3Communicate Health and Safety Measures
Inform current and potential guests of the health and hygiene initiatives in place throughout the property so they know that their safety is being taken seriously. Send out a newsletter, and post on social media about these health and safety precautions before guests arrive, and display COVID-specific signage throughout the property. When guests are visiting various hotel websites and social media accounts before booking, they are going to be explicitly looking for ways hotels are keeping their guests safe.
4Offer Branded PPE
Hand sanitizer and face masks have been wiped clean off the shelves in many grocery stores. If guests don’t have any personal protective equipment (PPE), consider making face masks and other essentials available right when they step into the lobby. If hotels have room in the budget, consider creating PPE that sports the property’s logo, helping travelers feel safe while brand building.
5Establish a Follow-Up Procedure
It’s a make-or-break time for the hotel industry. Send surveys and post polls on social media to gain more feedback and insight from guests about these new business practices. To make follow-ups more personable, have employees engage with customers by asking them questions about their comfort levels regarding safety and health throughout their stay so any changes can be incorporated while they are still there. The next few months will be pivotal for gaining guests’ trust and confidence back, and in turn, help hotels thrive once again.