Corona Virus is breaking the entire world. The speed at which it is spreading and affecting the travel and hospitality industry is really troubling.
When it appears that the COVID-19 disease is more deadly than seasonal influenza, it is obvious that your guests are afraid to travel or consider any other accommodation option safe.
But, as a hotel, you can adopt a few preventive measures, and assure a safe stay for your guests.
Well, we have covered the what, why and how of COVID-19 and which preventive measures hotels should take to assure a safe stay to your guests.
What is Corona Virus?
Corona Virus are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others circulating among animals, including camels, cats and bats.
The 2019 novel corona virus (COVID-19) is a new virus that causes respiratory illness in people and can spread from person-to-person.
This virus was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has made a dedicated page that has comprehensive information on COVID-19. You can explore more of this outbreak from here.
How does it spread?
Corona viruses in human spread just like the flu or a cold (from person to person). Someone who is actively sick with COVID-19 can spread the illness to others.
- Through the air by coughing or sneezing
- Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
- Touching an object or surface with the virus on it
- Occasionally, faecal contamination
What are its symptoms?
The basic symptoms of the COVID-19 can include:
- Shortness of breath
- Runny nose
The symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying.
How to keep your hotel safe from Corona virus?
As a hotel, you should act immediately and start introducing preventive measures. Following are mandatory actions that you should immediately bring into practice:
1. Keep your staff aware of the disease.
Though 99% of your staff must be fairly familiar with the outbreak to some extent. We would still recommend you to arrange a meeting and make them aware of it to all corners.
Educate them about the preventive measures that they should take on your hotel premises. Also, brief them about the guidelines provided by the local health authorities.
2. Check whether any of your staff or guests have been infected.
Have the infrared thermometers at your front desk to conduct temperature checks on all guests. Your staff can request all your newly arrived guests to measure their body temperature via a thermal scanner placed near the entrance.
If you find any guests who are unwell with any symptoms of fever, flu or respiratory problems, ask them to consult a doctor immediately. Ask the sick suspicious guests to get their check-up done at the nearest clinic, checking in to the hotel. Take extra care while catering to international guests.
3. Ensure cleanliness in every corner of your hotel.
The COVID-19 virus spreads through the surface as well. So make sure every corner of your hotel is cleaned.
Especially the surfaces or areas which are used frequently by your guests and staff members such as, the doors, the reception area, the front desk, lift or elevator buttons and so on. You can also apply plastic insulating films on the lift and elevator buttons, and change it every day to avoid germs spreading.
Above all, if you have an in-house restaurant, ensure the cleanliness of your kitchen. Ask your chefs to wear surgical masks and wash their hands frequently.
All buffet or semi-buffet food should be served in smaller portions. It should be replaced or replenished every 30 minutes to avoid contamination. The crockery and utensils used at the buffet counters, including tongs, spoons and underliner should be changed and sanitized.
Besides, ensure that tableware including salt & pepper shakers, toothpick holders, sugar container, tent cardholders, menus and bill folders are being cleaned and sanitized on a daily basis.
In addition to this, the main entrance and carpets at the hotel’s lobby are sprayed with qualified disinfectant every hour.
4. Use sanitizers and masks.
Provide your staff members with surgical masks, alcohol-based hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol) and gloves to wear. Ask them to always wear masks and use sanitizer frequently.
If it is feasible, try to install the alcohol-based disinfectant hand rub dispensers at your front desk, reception area, in-house restaurant, cafe, meeting rooms or hotel lobbies. If you can’t, then at least keep big bottles of sanitizers at all these places.
Keep sanitizers and surgical masks in each hotel room. Encourage your hotel staff as well as your guests to use sanitizers frequently.
Keep helpful signs of washing hands and using sanitizers in common areas of your hotel.
5. Avoid handshakes. Do ‘Namaste’
Well, the handshake is a great way of transferring different microbes like viruses and bacteria from one person to another. So for the time being, ask your staff members to avoid shaking their hands with guests. Also, they should avoid frequent physical contact internally.
Even the health experts warn that shaking hands is a prime way to spread the corona virus. You should adopt some different methods of greeting people, like elbow bumps or namaste.
6. Maintain records.
You should maintain accurate guest records. This includes maintaining guest registration records (name, ID Proofs, and other details), data of electronic locks, and security camera tapes. This is especially important if someone in your hotel has been diagnosed with the virus.These records should be kept for a minimum of 90 days.
7. Check where your supply is coming from.
Keep a tab on your suppliers and other outsourcing agencies. Ensure mega stores from where you are getting inventory for your in-house restaurant is safe from COVID-19. None of your food or beverage should be sourced from Hubei province or Wuhan city, where the Novel Corona virus originated from. Besides, check whether the laundry services agencies are taking some preventive measures. Above all, stay informed with updated and credible information on the COVID-19 virus from here.
Pro tip: In this outbreak, your guests might avoid or postpone their journey. Well, you can update your cancellation policies and make it more flexible. This will help you create a goodwill for your guests.
So, this was all about how you can keep your hotel safe from corona virus. And most importantly, when you are taking all these measures, keep your guests posted about the same. Highlight these measures being taken at your hotel in real-time on your website and social media pages. So, your guests can know that their stay at your hotel is going to be safe and pleasant. You have to take these measures sincerely, to be safe from this outbreak. Along with, as a hotel owner/manager consider these preventive measures for yourself too and be safe.
If you have an in-house restaurant or any F&B business, you can know the preventive measures to be safe from COVID 19 from here.