As parts of the world begin their initial phases for re-opening during COVID-19, we are starting to see a glimmer of what hotel and resorts stays could look like as people move forward with vacation plans.
As we touched on in a previous post about what to expect when you travel next, the new normal for accommodations will look a little different than what you’re used to. While certain factors will be similar across the board, each hotel – whether it’s state specific here in the United States, or abiding by country regulations that differ from place to place – will also have their own take on how they are choosing to incorporate safety and sanitation protocols in the future.
With the above in mind, I wanted to give you a heads up about what you might expect in the near future.
- Speedy Check-In? Don't Mind if I do! -
While this won’t necessarily be implemented in every hotel, we’ve received confirmation that a high percentage will be instituting a contactless check-in experience. Your smartphone is going to be used for a lot more than sharing memes and applying filters in the future and it’s not all bad! Contactless check-in in many cases will be done via an app or through a website online and will often allow you to bypass the lobby and head straight to your room!
In cases where that isn’t possible, you’ll find social distancing markers in lobbies and staggered approaches to checking in guests – and I don’t think any of us are going to be unhappy about streamlined check-in processes so that we can get started on our vacay stat!
As you’ve probably anticipated, health screenings are going to be a lot more prevalent in our lives for a while. In addition to airport and customs screenings, many countries and individual hotels are instituting their own health screenings. Depending on the property these could be as simple as filling in a health questionnaire or as cautionary as temperature checks and a visit with an on-site nurse or doctor.
Adjusted Staffing Measures
Visitors and staff on property will all have rigorous sanitization and safety protocols – most often even prior to entering the grounds. Some locations will have completely separate entrances where staff are required to enter via a sanitation tunnel, others are requiring that staff change into uniforms upon arrival at work so that each uniform can be appropriately laundered prior to their next shift and not be exposed to any elements outside of the property.
You’ll also likely view a decrease in staff who enter your room – rather than a butler filling the mini-fridge, a porter bringing extra amenities, etc, all tasks that need to be completed within a guest room will be completed by one staff member – minimizing exposure for both staff and guests. Additionally, staff will likely be required to wear gloves and masks and will be greeting you in contactless ways.
Social Distancing Requirements
As previously mentioned, all locations will be implementing various social distancing measures. Depending on the country that you visit those social distancing measures could be anywhere from 6-10 feet but all destinations and properties have confirmed that social distancing will be required. You’ll find markers in highly trafficked areas of the property and restaurant tables, pool and beach loungers, and gym equipment will all be separated by the appropriate distances required.
Limited Amenities and Services
Building upon our previous prediction that guests could expect to see some services, amenities and activities halted or reduced once travel resumes again, we have received confirmation that that certainly will be the case in many locations.
Depending on the property and service, these will differ – and it’s important to keep in mind that what may be in place when you plan your vacation may not be once you arrive.
A few things seem to be prevalent mostly industry wide such as buffet service either being suspended altogether in favor of a'la carte options or self-service not being an option at buffets – rather, you'll be served by a specific server at each station.
Likewise, restaurants will have a reduced capacity in order to abide by social distancing guidelines and there will be limits on the number of guests who can be seated together. For large groups it will be paramount to plan early and to work with your travel agent in order to arrange for group dining options.
Swim-up bars could be closed entirely or open with restrictions, and on-property watersports, in some locations, are requiring that guests are present while machines are sterilized prior to their use.
Like all of the above, this one is fluid and ever-changing, but we know that this can be a make or break factor for many travelers.
Thus far, there are destinations which will require masks to be worn in all areas that guests congregate together and again, in other destinations, this might not be required and swim up bars may be closed or open with restriction along with water sports and other activities.
While all of this can seem daunting to wrap your head around, for the most part those in the industry who have already begun traveling have nothing but good news to report!
Most of the above changes are allowing for more personalized services to be administered to each guest, and you can rest soundly in the knowledge that cleanliness and hygiene standards have never been higher!
When it comes to planning where you want to go next and understanding the new protocols, my best advice is to reach out so that we can discuss the kind of experience that you're looking for and tailor a vacation to suit your needs.
Stay safe, positive and hopeful!