Hotel Guests face ‘New Normal’

Guests checking into hotels this week will be presented with a ‘New Normal’, according to two leading accommodation specialists.

Mary Hall, director of Hallmark Training and Ines Guerra, accommodation manager at The Carlton Hotel, Dublin Airport, agreed that hotels must achieve a ‘fine line’ by remaining places of hospitality rather than creating a hospital environment.

They were speaking to Micheline Corr, in the latest ‘Firm Optimist’ on-line discussion series.

Ines Guerra said that the ‘new normal’ includes guest rooms stripped of non-essential items such as extra pillows, cushions, magazines and brochures and individual toiletries. Bedrooms will however offer guests unprecedented standards of safety and hygiene which will emerge from sanitization and deep cleaning. ‘In the past, accommodation staff cleaned rooms. Now they disinfect and sanitize as well’, Ines said.

Mary Hall said that the new regime will add to hoteliers’ costs. ‘It will involve an enormous amount of extra work, including the sanitizing of more than 100 touch points in each room, which will require additional staff’, she said.

New approaches to deep cleaning will not however include ‘fogging’- a technique in which many hotels have already invested. ‘It is not recommended by the World Health Organisation and is deemed to be ineffective in hotel rooms’, Mary added.

Both Mary and Ines believe that the new hotel experience will not shock or surprise guests as people are already familiar with new protocols in supermarkets.  Mary Hall added that hotel guests will have to trust the professionalism of accommodation managers and staff, ‘and that trust must be respected’.

While staff may have difficulty in communicating with guests while wearing masks, ‘they can always smile with their eyes’, she said.

Ines Guerra said that hotels must assure guests that they are in a welcoming and safe environment. ‘At The Carlton Hotel, all ground floor areas will be cleaned and sanitized every 60 minutes and the status of each area will be displayed on monitors in Reception, so that our guests can see for themselves what is being done to keep them safe’.

Temperatures of guests will be recorded and special ground floor rooms have been reserved for any guests displaying symptoms, where they can remain pending the arrival of medical assistance.

You can see the full interview here: