As hosts and small business owners, we’re always growing and constantly changing how we conduct business in the modern world; we’ve shifted to online reservations, we’ve connected to OTAs and we’ve added Netflix to guest room TVs.
While it may feel like hosting guests post-COVID-19 requires dramatic changes, soon they’ll be second nature. Most importantly, by implementing these measures, you’re taking the steps to ensure every guest feels safe and welcome.
Contactless while still in contact
One of the best parts of running small, locally-owned accommodation is the one-on-one interaction you have with your guests. But with the onset of social distancing and the increased awareness of how easily the virus can spread, it’s likely that a lot of face-to-face interaction in close quarters will be a thing of the past for the time being.
Create more avenues for communication
Our phones have effectively become an extension of ourselves. Make yourself available by text message for questions, requests or recommendations. You can send messages to notify guests about an available early check-in or cut-off times for breakfast orders.
Contactless check-in and check-out
Check-in: Schedule an automated email on the day of check-in with access information for lockbox or door codes.
Check-out: eviivo’s My Payment Manager makes contactless check-out simple and easy with an online payment solution integrated into eviivo suite, in full Level 1 PCI compliance. To find out more, click here.
With contactless check-in and check-out, you may be wondering how to connect and build relationships with your guests post COVID-19. Consider adding more of your personality with relevant recommendations. Offering in-room Netflix? Let your guests know what documentary series you recently binged. Is there a seasonal special at a local restaurant you can’t stop thinking about? Perfect recommendation material!
Upgrade your business with helpful software and services
Take advantage of the software and services that can help your business adapt to the post-COVID-19 world by eliminating physical contact with guests. eviivo suite enables you to seamlessly connect to our integration partners’ systems and services, so you can easily upgrade your business with services like contactless check-in with ID scanning and digital contract signatures, or remote locks and SMS communications from Wishbox.
Learn more about our integration partners here.
Guest Expectations on Cleanliness and Hygiene
Operating hospitality post-COVID-19 requires particular attention to cleaning routines. New disinfecting measures should be in place, additional protective equipment should be provided to staff, and more precautions will need to be taken when entering a room. Bookings should also be spaced out to eliminate any risk of infection from the previous guest.
Eliminating daily turndown service
Having the bed made and receiving fresh new towels every morning while your rubbish magically vanishes into thin air is a cherished luxury that comes with going on holiday. But with an emphasis on social distancing, new towels take a backseat to maintaining clear boundaries for privacy and minimising the number of people entering narrow spaces.
Offer valet waste bin service
Allow guests to place their rubbish bags outside their door for staff to safely collect and throw away. Set a cut-off time to align with your existing housekeeping schedule.
Streamline in-room cleaning
With new more rigorous and meticulous cleaning and disinfecting standards, it’s wise to remove any non-essential room items that require cleaning and cost unnecessary time spent on each room.
Keep your decorations simple. Remove decorative cushions, stuffed animals and ornaments that are either difficult to clean or add unnecessary time to your enhanced cleaning schedule.
Make sure you’re meeting post-COVID-19 hygiene expectations:
Updates to old standards
Shift to digital
Your in-room recommendations or directory may be curated in a booklet or a binder. Though a nice touch that adds personality to your rooms, in light of recent events you may need to consider the safety hazard it could present when handled by multiple guests. Consider switching to an online version and save yourself the trouble of having to disinfect it after each check-out!
Bye bye to buffets (for now)
A breakfast buffet has been a holiday staple for as long as we can remember. Yet the idea of self-serve dishes and bustling seating areas has officially gone sour for some travellers, and for good reason. While we certainly hope that the breakfast buffet isn’t gone for good, in the meantime it wouldn’t hurt to have plenty of other private meal and dining options available.
Meal boxes. Keep them prepped and individually wrapped for grab-and-go self-serve stations.
Contactless room service. A standard with a slight twist to minimise face-to-face contact.
Vouchers or certificates. Partner with other local businesses to offer meal options.
Remove any booking barriers
Though borders may be reopening, the travel and hospitality industry may remain in a state of limbo for a little while. This could mean that guests will be much more sceptical about making a booking when faced with strict cancellation policies.
Although COVID-19 presented major setbacks for the hospitality sector, it is important to adapt to the changes we are going through as a global community.
The time is right to provide as much flexibility as you can so your guests will not hesitate to book. Try having a flexible policy in place and a stricter cancellation policy with more attractive rates. But keep in mind that travellers are still apprehensive about booking holidays, so be sure your stricter rates aren’t ‘too’ restrictive, so it is still enticing to book.
By offering both options with a rate strategy, you’ll show flexibility while maintaining simple, easy-to-understand booking options.
Minimum stay requirements
Make sure you remove any barriers that could cost you bookings. A ‘minimum length of stay’ restriction might prove harmful for your business.
Even before COVID-19, we analysed data from more than 3,000 properties and discovered that properties without ‘minimum length of stay’ restrictions had a staggering 40% higher occupancy rate, while also selling 47% more room nights online and making 43% more revenue from the major OTA websites. To read more about our study, click here.
For more tips and tricks on reopening safely, make sure to check out our webinar recordings here.