As the goal posts continue to move with new government guidelines being introduced daily it is a huge challenge for hotels and event venues to be ready to welcome guests in the coming weeks and months ahead. The Industry has always been resilient, innovative, and flexible and today is no exception, they are still determined to do what they do best which is to keep people safe and happy. However, the cost is high of providing the additional health and safety measures required both in terms of equipment and staff, especially when they have to work with the current social distancing guidelines of keeping people 2 metres apart. To achieve this there will be an inevitable reduction in occupancy and therefore, return. It is difficult to see for how long this is sustainable but they are prepared to try and need the support of both the business and leisure market through this period to ensure they can survive into the future.
A number of hotel groups are introducing new protocols to reassure both their guests and staff. Jury’s Inn and Leonardo Hotels have launched ‘Stay Safe, Stay Happy’ a 5 point plan which includes; deep cleaning procedures, sanitation stations at key touchpoints, protective screens and social distancing at reception desks, contactless payments for all services including room service of food and beverage items and additional training for all their team members.
Hilton Hotels are offering the ‘Clean Stay Guest Experience’ which commences with pre-arrival messaging with an explanation of the CleanStay programme, enhanced contactless checkin, CleanStay room seal to demonstrate the room has been disinfected for each guest, social distancing seating in the restaurants, sanitation stations in public areas and digital key security. In addition they have also launched EventReady, this offers’ curated solutions with creative food and beverage, thoughtful technology resources, elevated standards and practices with redesigned spaces for physical distancing, and reimagined ways to meet and gather’
Hotels and venues are adapting and getting creative and need to do so to meet the changing times we now find ourselves in. Hopefully by harnessing the outdoor space some may have available over the summer to do garden events, drive in cinema/presentations, or offering hybrid events combining both physical and virtual attendees they will be able to secure enough business to survive until social distancing guidelines relax further. However, it is likely that there will be a new norm a very different way of holding events in the future which on the plus side could be beneficial both financially and for the environment.