As hosts and small business owners, we’re always growing, updating and 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 guestroom 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 step to ensure every guest feels safe and welcome.
Contactless while still in contact
One of the best parts of small locally-owned accommodations is the one-on-one interaction between guests and hosts. With the onset of social distancing and the increased awareness on how the infection spreads, 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 cutoff 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 Payment Manager makes contactless check-out simple and easy with an online payment solution integrated into eviivo suite, in full Level 1 PCI compliance.
Add some personality
With contactless check-in and check-out, you may be wondering how to connect and build relationships with your guests. Consider adding more of your personality with relevant recommendations. Offer in-room Netflix? Let your guests know what documentary you recently binged. Is there a seasonal special at a local restaurant you can’t stop thinking about? Perfect recommendation material!
Utilize software and services to upgrade your business
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 allows you to seamlessly connect to our integration partners’ systems and services that can help enhance and simplify your business by offering services like contactless check-in with ID scanning and digital contract signatures or remote locks and SMS communications from Wishbox.
Learn more about all 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. Consider spacing your bookings to reduce the risk of infection from previous guests.
Eliminating daily turndown service
Having the bed made, getting fresh new towels and having all your trash disappear is a magical luxury that comes with going on vacation. But with an emphasis on social distancing, new towels take a backseat to maintaining clear boundaries for privacy and minimizing having additional people entering close quarters.
Offer valet trash service
Allow guests to set their trash 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 tack on additional unnecessary time spent on each room.
Keep your decorations simple. Remove decorative pillows, stuffed animals and tchotchkes that are either difficult to clean and disinfect or will 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 vacation staple for as long as we can remember. But the idea of self-serve stations and a bustling seating area has shifted from excitement to anxiety for some travelers. While we can’t be sure that the breakfast buffet is gone for good, we do know that in the meantime it’s a good idea 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 ensure limited face-to-face contact.
Vouchers or certificates. Partner with other local businesses to offer meal options.
Remove booking barriers
Even though the world is reopening, the travel and hospitality industry may remain in a state of limbo for a little while. Guests will likely be much more skeptical about making a booking when faced with strict cancellation policies.
Although COVID-19 presented setbacks for all of the hospitality sector, it is important to adapt to the changes we are going through as a global community.
Now is the time to provide as much flexibility as you can so your guests will not have any hesitation to complete their booking. Try having a flexible policy in place and a stricter cancellation policy with more attractive rates. But keep in mind that travelers are still apprehensive about booking vacations, 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 may prevent bookings. A ‘minimum length of stay’ restriction might prove harmful for your business.
Even before COVID-19, we analyzed data for 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. If you want 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.