THE ONGOING ROLLOUT of COVID-19 vaccines is expected to lead to a surge in travel as the vaccinated release pent up desire for vacations. Now is the time to prepare for that rush, according to a blog from hotel operations software provider Optii.
The steps hotels should take range from ensuring cleaning protocols are continued to being prepared for fluctuating occupancy levels, according to the blog “Vaccines & Vacations: Top considerations for guests and hotels.” Cleanliness comes first for the vaccinated
“We’ve seen some amazing initiatives from our customers in response to the pandemic to provide assurance to guests in the changes made to make guest stays safe,” the blog said. “As a guest, some of these changes may mean limitations in some of the services usually expected. For example, some hotels might not be offering room service, gyms may be closed, or limited hours and cleaning frequency may be increased or changed.”
Most of Optii’s client hotels base their cleaning protocols on input from their guests. However, hotels must also manage their guests expectations, the blog said.
“For many guests, this may be the first time they’ve stayed at a hotel since the pandemic and so their expectations from their stay may still be the same as pre-COVID,” the blog said. “For hotels it is vital that you communicate upfront the changes that have been made to cleaning and operations. This will ensure guest satisfaction without miscommunication and misaligned expectations.”
The pandemic also has led to an increase in the use of contactless technology that allows guests to check in and check out without direct contact with hotel employees. Optii suggests that hotels be sure to invest in technology that is reliable and easy to use, and not just for guest facing usage.
“Technology used behind the scenes of hotel operations is just as critical as the tech used for guest facing requirements,” the blog said. “Hotels need to invest in tech that helps their operations work effectively, providing automation for lean teams to help save time and enable the operations teams to focus on delivering a memorable experience to guests.”
Occupancy may still continue to rise and fall depending on the infection levels in different markets. This requires hotels to be flexible in their operations, Optii said.
“Communication will also play an important role in making sure guests are aware that those properties with lower occupancy may have less employees on property so they will be working twice as hard to ensure they have the best stay,” the blog said.
In conclusion, the blog said, hotels should make the most of each guests’ stay.
“COVID-19 took a toll on the hospitality industry and hotels are just now starting to take a breath of fresh air,” the blog said. “By working together and being understanding of the changes brought about by this crisis, we can help to rebuild our industry and make every guest stay memorable in the new normal.”
A recent survey commissioned by Motel 6, a G6 Hospitality brand found that Americans are enthusiastic about traveling this year, especially if they are vaccinated. For 49 percent of survey respondents, receiving a COVID-19 vaccine would help them feel safer about traveling, and 38 percent said they would feel safer staying somewhere with high cleaning standards.