Crisis management is an essential part of any successful hotel business. Throughout times of crises hotels are required to have a contingency plan that must be clearly communicated to staff, guests and other stakeholders. The recent COVID19 or coronavirus crises has put the U.S. hospitality industry to the test.
At the start of 2020, professionals & experts all expected an economic downturn in the hospitality industry. The coronavirus threatens further, making this the worst performing year for hospitality since the recession in 2007-2008.
Growing news reports of major conferences being canceled, businesses curtailing staff travel, and people reducing personal travel, have all affected hotel operations and performance across the country. Increase in coronavirus self-quarantine, travel bans and increase in diagnosed cases is shoeing adverse signs on hospitality businesses too.
Crisis Management Planning for COVID-19 in Hotels
Hotel owners should responsibly create and implement a manageable response plan to dealing with the COVID 19 outbreak with focus on the safety of guests, staff and the environment around the hotel.
Taking proactive precautions is essential to reduce the chances of Covid-19 transmission. This crisis plan should be communicated clearly to any or all hotel staff, guests, visitors, and vendors.
Hotels should review the internal communications, in addition to their readiness and response capabilities to assure that all hotel employees are prepared, and recognize their role to keep the guest’s safe.
Below are a few recommendations for hotel operation and management teams to consider during the COVID-19 crises:
1: A Clear & Effective Information & Communication System
Hotel management should communicate to all staff the relevant information, training and procedures to prevent the spread of coronavirus to individuals within the hotel. This delivery system can be through the hotel signage, through a mobile app, staff PCs, or through a team training session.
2: Encourage Social Distancing Where Possible
Housekeeping staff should avoid as much close contact with guests as possible. They should be given strict instructions to use safety gear like gloves, alcohol hand rub before and once sporting gloves, deliver essentials wrapped in paper or plastic etc.
Having a mobile app for guests to schedule housekeeping at their prefered times when they are out is a great feature several branded hotels already offer. Staff should also refrain from walking around hallways for their own protection and respond when alerted by phone, messaging, or hotel management system.
3: Offer Multilingual Support
Offer medical information in multiple languages, to educate guests from other countries. With something as severe as COVID-19 guests are bound to listen to hygiene and cleanliness information when presented in their language.
A great way to do this is through the hotel signage systems, a voice announcement system, and a team to ensure that all guests are being delivered timely safety & hygiene information.
4:Train, Enforce, Enact
The hospitality industry simply cannot detract from their purpose or value proposition. They are a home away from home for hotel guests, and must therefore ensure their safety and health.
Hoteliers should train all hotel staff to follow and enact safe habits including covering their mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing, sneezing, or disposing of tissues in trash.
5: Close Down Amenities Where Possible
Consider closing hotel facilities that have the potential of gathering several hotel guests together in large groups i.e. restaurant buffett, fitness centers, swimming pools, spas etc.
6: Reinforce Safety Information in Guest Rooms
The hotel management & staff must deliver relevant safety, hygiene and quarantine information through room TVs, side table cards, mobile apps, and leaflets.
Advise any guests who feel sick i.e. high fever, cough, and sneeze to limit face-to-face contact with others and to request immediate medical facilitation.
7: The Action Plan
The action plan will have an increased frequency in cleaning of restrooms and public areas; providing housekeeping service solely upon request. Staff will be required to be in safety gear at all times of servicing guests, while a crisis management team will observe that all safety procedures are being enforced.
We bid farewell with the best of health to everyone, everywhere.
Stay safe and remember to keep your hands and face clean. We wish all the people battling coronavirus around the world a speedy recovery and may everything be normal in the near future.