As the world slowly opens up again in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, our hotel stays are set to be organised differently.
Some beloved practices have to be shelved – goodbye buffet breakfasts – and new protocols introduced to ensure that travellers and staff feel safe and protected. Here are some of the ways in which hotel stays will adapt from now on.
Travellers have always rated hotel cleanliness highly, but will be hyper-conscious and vigilant around it going forward.
Hotels will need to demonstrate that they have implemented enhanced health and safety protocols for cleaning guest rooms, meeting spaces and common spaces in their properties, as well as back-of-house areas.
It is expected that auditing initiatives will ultimately be implemented to measure hotel compliance with a stated criteria for cleanliness.
“Travellers are yearning for enhanced transparency around cleaning, hygiene and sanitisation measures at a property,” says Pepijn Rijvers, senior vice president of accommodation at Booking.com.
“It will be key for accommodation providers to openly display this information to help set accurate expectations and bring travellers additional reassurance as they search, book and begin to experience the world once again.”
To help hotels meet these expectations, the American Hotel & Lodging Association has launched a program called Safe Stay to develop a series of best practices for the industry.
“While hotels have always employed demanding cleaning standards, this new initiative will ensure greater transparency and confidence throughout the entire hotel experience,” says its president and CEO, Chip Rogers.
Another protocol will be the deep-cleaning of bedrooms and bathrooms after guests check out.
Under the new Hilton CleanStay program, a room seal will add an extra measure of assurance by indicating to incoming guests that their room has not been accessed since being thoroughly cleaned.
There will also be extra disinfection of the most frequently touched guests room areas, including light switches, door handles, TV remotes and thermostats.
Who doesn’t love starting the day off with a plate of muesli, scrambled eggs, sliced cheeses and meats, toast, strawberry yoghurt and a pain au chocolat?
Alas, while we all adore the breakfast buffet, it may become a thing of the past.
The problem is that social distancing will be impossible to maintain as we all crowd around various food and beverage stations, and the communal handling of jugs and tongs is just too risky going forward.
It looks like individually plated and served meals will become the norm, or “grab-and-go” options, like the one offered by Drury Hotels in hotels where team-service models are not available.
Bowls of peanuts on bars and complimentary plates of cake in the afternoon are nice little touches previously offered by many hotels, but these will have to be eliminated for the moment to avoid people handling the plates and bowls.
The idea will be to prevent cross-contamination by minimising guest contact with food and surfaces, and for this reason, Drury is also not currently offering its lobby afternoon popcorn.
Sadly, it could also mean the end of beloved amenities like in-room minibars. Room service on a cart may be a thing of the past too, as you can expect to pick up your meal outside your door instead.
We all enjoy being welcomed at reception by smiling hotel staff, but some hotels will now implement automated self check-in procedures.
Virtual check-ins and digital keys using your phone will be used at some hotels like Hilton.
“Once registered, guests have the ability to check-in, select their room and use their phone as their room key, without ever having to interact with the front desk,” says Phil Cordell, its global head of new brand development.
Viceroy Hotels & Resorts is now using Amazon Alexa in some properties to control the technology in guest rooms, and contactless or low-touch solutions around check-in and payment for goods and services is one of the recommendations of the U.S. Travel Association.
“Travel businesses should consider implementing touchless solutions, where practical, to limit the opportunity for virus transmission while also enabling a positive travel experience,” it says.
Indeed, humans may not even be involved in cleaning at some hotels. The Westin Houston Medical Center is utilising “LightStrike Germ-Zapping Robots” to sanitise and disinfect its guest rooms and common areas, as they destroy viruses, bacteria and fungi using intense pulsed xenon UV light.
“Wellness is at the core of our business and with the LightStrike technology, we saw a distinct and innovative opportunity to create a well-prepared environment for travelers within our hotel,” says Archit Sanghvi, vice president of operations for Pearl Hospitality.
Chilling out in hotel pools and getting active in their gyms are great perks to staying at hotels, but new protocols will have to be followed when they re-open.
It is likely that scheduled gym time-slots wil be introduced, for example, so we won’t be able to just rock up when we feel like it.
Ukactive, the fitness industry’s trade body in the UK, says that a gym’s maximum capacity should be based on three square metres per person.
It advises spacing exercise equipment two metres apart to facilitate social distancing, and cleaning touch points of equipment after each person, in addition to the regular cleaning schedule.
Guests can expect at least six feet of distance between lounge chairs at the pool.
According to the Pool Water Treatment Advisory Group, swimming pools should be safe against microbiological hazards as long as they’re chlorinated properly and operated according to its standards.
It recommends following government advice on social distancing in the pool and changing rooms, and warns that enhanced disinfection procedures should pay particular attention to door handles and surfaces.
At Wynn Las Vegas, points of entry are limited to allow the security team to conduct non-invasive temperature checks on incoming with thermal cameras.
“Anyone displaying a temperature over 100.4°F will be taken to a private area for a secondary screening, including a health declaration and a temporal temperature reading,” says Matt Maddox, CEO of Wynn Resorts.
“More than ever before, communication with guests will be crucial for the hotel industry’s rebound,” says travel expert, Gabe Saglie.
“Social media channels will become an even more effective way for brands to inform travellers about COVID-inspired updates and upgrades, and to illustrate how new protocols are part of creating an appealing, special hotel experience.”
“Hotel brands that can effectively showcase new consumer-focused protocols while still prioritising the things we seek in hotel stays – personalisation, attentiveness, comfort, as well as unique experiences – will fare best immediately post-COVID and will be better placed to ride the recovery wave long-term.”
This includes Marriott Bonvoy, which is extending the status earned in 2019 to February 2022, and Accor, whose members will be credited with 50% of the status nights and points required to requalify for their current status level next year.
Ace Hotel has launched a gift card programme that encourages people to invest in future stays – with the benefit of 20% off room rates.
With travel restrictions in place at present and the world at different stages of dealing with the coronavirus, staycations are looking to be the main way people will travel this year.
“We’re seeing that more local travel – including to familiar and less crowded, rural or coastal destinations – is top of traveller’s minds,” Pepijn Rijvers, senior vice president of accommodation at Booking.com tells Lonely Planet.
“Over half (51%) of all properties wish-listed on Booking.com during March and April were located within a traveller’s own borders.
This is a marked jump from 33% during the same time last year. And amid continually evolving global uncertainty, whether local or further afield, travellers will be looking to make bookings with flexible policies for additional peace of mind.”
Style & Beauty Editor / Jennifer Bar
ALMATY Baytursynov Street 132b, Almaty City, KAZAKHSTAN +7 702 230 42 17
NEW YORK 797 / 7th Ave, New York City, New York 10019, USA /
TRAVEL EXPERIENCE IN TURKEY AND AROUND THE WORLD
AND THOSE WHO WERE SEEN DANCING WERE THOUGHT TO BE MAD BY THOSE WHO COULD NOT HEAR THE MUSIC… …The man behind those illustrious words remains, to this day, famous for the madness guiding his pen. And yet, Nietzsche’s rupture with socially delineated sanity has brought him much closer/has made him all the closer to […]
Nusa Penida has become one of the most popular places to visit in Indonesia as the island is located on the southeast of mainland Bali. The beaches of this island all seem to be situated near mythical cliffs, wondrous hikes, luscious greenery, and more importantly: they contain the bluest most sensational waters in all of […]
There are many reasons to visit the largest city in Turkey. Istanbul is undoubtedly a city full of history and tradition. The majority of these traditions are still relevant today, and you can discover all of their subtleties when walking through Old Town. The cultural influences of the many empires that ruled Istanbul are still omnipresent throughout […]
Croatia has announced that foreign travelers can bypass its COVID-19 testing and quarantine requirements, once they have been fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to departure.
Even if they are not vaccinated, visitors can still be admitted under certain conditions. One way is to show proof of negative PCR or antigen results from a COVID-19 test administered no more than 48 hours prior to arrival.
Those entering based on an antigen test must repeat it within 10 days, if they are staying that long.
Those who tested positive for the virus within the previous 180 days are deemed to be exempt from the mandatory testing and self-isolation obligations upon presentation of a certificate of recovery issued by a physician.
Ask Lonely Planet: which Croatian island is right for me?
With more than 1,000 to choose from, Croatia has an island for every taste and budget. Here are some of our favourite places for seclusion, a buzzing party scene, history and nature.If you have a question, tweet it to us @lonelyplanet using #asklonelyplanet.
Travelers arriving without any of the above can perform PCR testing or rapid antigen testing immediately upon arrival at their own expense, but they must stay in self-isolation until the arrival of a negative test result.
If testing cannot be performed, they must stay in self-isolation for a period of 10 days.
Children under seven years old who are accompanied by a parent or guardian are not subject to testing requirements.
It should be noted that those visiting Croatia for vacation purposes need to show confirmation of booked accommodation and fill out an online form before traveling.