INTERNATIONAL REPORT—As the restrictions on travel put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic start to ease, hospitality companies are releasing plans to assure guests that they will be safe staying at their properties. Here’s a look:
Radisson Hotel Group Creates Radisson Safety Protocol
Radisson Hotel Group has introduced Radisson Hotels Safety Protocol, a new program of in-depth cleanliness and disinfection procedures, in partnership with SGS, an inspection, verification, testing and certification company.
The company has conducted a thorough review of all existing health and safety processes and worked with a team of experts to develop and validate additional protocols. These enhanced protocols, operational guidance and comprehensive health and safety procedures, validated by SGS, will be adapted based on local requirements and recommendations, to ensure guests’ safety and peace of mind from check-in to checkout.
These guidelines include hand sanitizing stations at all entrances; the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and protective screens; enhanced and recorded cleaning and disinfection frequency; social distancing in all areas of its hotels, including in the meeting and event facilities; training in local, Centers for Disease Control (CDC), or World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations and health guidelines; reiteration of food safety standards; and comprehensive staff training. Radisson Hotel Group’s enhanced cleaning and disinfection guidelines have been developed in collaboration with global hygiene solutions provider Diversey by uniting best-in-class cleaning and hygiene solutions with reinforced protocols and patented technology designed for healthcare.
Radisson will be introducing an official label of cleanliness and disinfection issued by SGS. Under this program, individual hotels can receive an approval label upon completion of a comprehensive local audit including on-site testing using the latest technology.
“At Radisson Hotel Group, we are committed to delivering a clean and safe environment for our guests and team members,” said Federico J. González, CEO, Radisson Hospitality AB and chairman, Radisson Hotel Group’s global steering committee. “The world has been fundamentally changed by COVID-19, so it is key that we strive to protect all who work, stay and partner with us as we reopen our doors to a new era of travel.”
Radisson will soon be announcing an extension to its brand commitment, which includes 20 steps and an additional 10-step protocol for meetings and events. The company expects to complete all the necessary operational details of this program over the next few weeks. Principles under consideration include the following:
- Increased cleaning and disinfection frequency of all hotel areas, paying special attention to high-touch items
- Stations installed with alcohol-based hand sanitizer and gloves at the front entrance and hotel public areas
- All room keys disinfected and presented safely upon check-in
- Express checkout process available for guests to minimize contact
- Cash-free methods of payments available and encouraged
- Door hangers displayed with cleaning and disinfection procedures in each room
- Comprehensive hygiene and preventions training programs for team members
- Team members provided with personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves
RLHC Releases Hotel Cleanliness Standards
RLH Corporation (RLHC) has released enhanced cleanliness recommendations for its 1,000-plus independently owned and operated hotels.
Hotel cleanliness recommendations are based on guidance from the CDC, WHO, leading hospitality trade associations such as the AHLA and AAHOA, and commercial cleaning and sanitation companies like Ecolab, Proctor & Gamble and Diversey.
Hotels following the company’s guidelines should be deploying several cleanliness measures:
- Physical distancing, including the use of physical distancing markers, protocols for space between hotel staff and hotel guests, plexiglass shields at front desks and credit card terminals to limit physical contact, where possible.
- Only opening as many rooms as needed as occupancy begins to increase—when reserving rooms, locate bookings in one section of the building or in every other room, when possible.
- Increased public space sanitation, including making hand sanitizer available to guests and employees throughout public spaces and hourly disinfection of public and back-of-house areas, as well as the surfaces within them.
- Increased guestroom sanitation, including removing all reusable collateral and reading material from rooms, removing extra pillows and blankets stored in closets and focusing housekeeping attention on disinfecting every surface within a guestroom such as desks, counters, phones, TV remotes, thermostats, cabinets, doors, restroom hardware, windows, lighting controls and closet hangers.
- Food and beverage service modifications, such as serving condiments in single-use containers, suspending self-serve food options, and prohibiting the reuse of cups at self-serve beverage stations.
- Technological advancements, such as mobile check-in and digital keys, where available.
Sandals Introduces Sandals Platinum Protocols of Cleanliness
In preparation to welcome guests back to its resorts, Sandals Resorts has introduced Sandals Platinum Protocols of Cleanliness, building on its existing practices to guarantee cleanliness standards and heightened health and safety measures that address changing consumer expectations amid COVID-19. New and enhanced protocols that will take effect across all 15 Sandals Resorts and three Beaches Resorts include the following:
- All-Encompassing 18 Touchpoint Practice: Sandals Resorts has completed a thorough research assessment of all points of guest contact, resulting in the integration of advanced hygiene practices across 18 key touchpoints—starting from the moment guests arrive at airport lounges through the entirety of the resort experience. These touchpoints include the airport lounge; guest transfers to and from resort; guestrooms, food and beverage experiences; housekeeping and laundry; elite services including butler service and Club Sandals Concierge; maintenance; resort activities such as water sports; elevators; swimming pools, Jacuzzis and spas; team member access points; fitness centers and the Red Lane Spa; public bathrooms; suppliers and receiving; all public areas including lobbies and beaches; back-of-house facilities, such as store rooms and offices; Kids Camps and water parks at Beaches Resorts; and HVAC systems.
- Enhanced Triple-Check System for Cleaning and Sanitation: All resorts are diligently cleaned and sanitized on an ongoing basis, with a Triple-Check system and a minimum of three inspections daily. These inspections include all hard surfaces—from door handles and interiors of vehicles used for airport transfers; public restrooms, which are inspected, cleaned and sanitized in 20-minute intervals; kitchens, bars and restaurants, including menus, tables, cutlery, glassware, chairs and more; and swimming pools and hot tubs. Additional hand sanitizing stations will be provided for guests and team members throughout the resorts, at all dining locations and within each individual guestroom. Any items that guests will come in contact with—from room cards to welcome cocktails glassware—are sanitized before distribution.
- New Certified Sandals Sanitized Guestrooms: Sandals will introduce even more robust housekeeping measures as part of Sandals Platinum Protocols of Cleanliness, to include the introduction of additional hospital-grade disinfectants; electrical aerosol sprayers for advanced cleaning; the use of UV-LED lighting equipment to inspect cleanliness; air duct sanitization for each arrival and upon each departure; weekly steam-cleaning and sanitization of carpeting; placement of anti-bacterial gels and soaps in each guestroom; and strict adherence to the Triple-Check System.
- At-Home to In-Room Check-in, beginning in June: Guests will have the ability to check in online, allowing them to skip the front desk and go directly to their room. A refreshing welcome cocktail, a personal anti-bacterial hand towel and individual in-room hand sanitizer will always await arriving guests.
- Social Distancing Practices: Sandals is introducing new ways to encourage guests to maintain a safe social distance while sustaining the relaxed experience the brand is known for, including adding more airport transfers with fewer guests per vehicle; extending check-in times between visitors; setting up a safe social distance across restaurants, bars and beaches; replacing handshakes with a nod and a smile; and restricting elevator trips to one couple per trip at Sandals Resorts and one family per trip at Beaches Resorts, with staff members taking alternate routes.
- Team Member Trainings and Precautionary Temperature Checks: Sandals is ensuring all team members stay healthy both inside and outside the workplace with ongoing specialized training on precautionary measures geared toward preventative protocols and added sanitation practices. All staff will be required to know where the nearest hand sanitizer stations are located at all times, wear protective face gear and gloves at all times when on resort, and ensure uniforms are not worn during travel to and from work. All team members across resort locations will also undergo required temperature checks before the start of each shift in addition to stringent medical clearance.
- Supplier-held Standards: All vendors, suppliers and partners will be held to the new Sandals Platinum Protocols of Cleanliness standards by restricting delivery windows to one party at a time, while limiting physical contact; sanitizing all touchpoints, including equipment, storage spaces and access areas; and removing all outer packing upon arrival.
Remington Hotels Rolls Out New Protocols
Remington Hotels is rolling out new guidelines for all its properties that include enhanced cleaning protocols and updated training systems, in addition to collaborating on best practices with multiple brand partners including Marriott and Hilton, to protect the well-being of guests and associates in response to COVID-19.
As part of the company’s response, Remington Hotels aligned with an industrial hygienist to develop a COVID-19 mitigation program for all hotels that outlines procedures in the event of a guest or associate being infected. As well, each Remington Hotels property is now utilizing EPA-registered disinfectant products with proven efficacy in killing respiratory viruses, including COVID-19. Additional steps taken to enhance cleaning procedures include the following:
- Public Areas: All hotels have increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting public spaces, with an emphasis on disinfecting protocol focused on “high-touch” areas including door handles, public bathrooms, reception, stairwells, lobby furnishings/hard surfaces, guest laundry facilities, elevators and push buttons, corner pantries and bell carts.
- Food & Beverage: Food offerings have been converted to prepared grab and go bags not to be consumed in public areas of hotels.
- Guestrooms: In addition to thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting rooms between guest departures and arrivals, Remington Hotels utilizes OpenKey as a “contactless” digital entry tool that limits guest and employee contact. The brand also offers Pure Rooms at all properties, to promote well-being in the guestrooms by providing purified air, hypoallergenic environments and allergy-friendly options.
The health, safety and knowledge of Remington Hotels’ associates are imperative to an effective cleaning program. To meet these criteria, the company has adopted the following heightened protocol:
- Enhanced Protocols for Operation and Training: With the new procedures and protocols in place, Remington Hotels has developed an updated training program to ensure associates are well versed in the new cleaning and guest interaction protocols.
- Well-Being Checks: Remington Hotels is instituting mandatory temperature checks of all associates when the associate starts their shift and additional times spaced out throughout the remainder of the shift.
- Handwashing and Protective Gear: Associates are mandated to wash their hands a minimum of every two hours, following the CDC guidelines. Additionally, associates are required to wear gloves and masks at all times.
Remington Hotels is supplying each of its 87 hotels with the proper protective gear to ensure associates can safely welcome guests and work together, including reusable masks from fellow Texas-based company, Dallas Wear Uniforms. The company, which traditionally makes uniforms for sports teams, has repurposed its factory to manufacture PPE due to COVID-19.
Westgate Resorts Launches WestgateCares Program
Westgate Resorts has launched the WestgateCares Program, a roadmap on how the company will safely reopen its resorts, hotels, restaurants, retail outlets, spas, casinos and other amenities with specific procedures that meet, and in most cases, exceed government-mandated directives.
From the very beginning of this crisis, Westgate organized a dedicated team of professionals to rapidly develop and implement comprehensive procedures to protect its guests and team members, including advanced cleaning procedures, strict personal hygiene protocols and a long list of operating procedures necessary to mitigate the risk of this virus. Westgate also announced that all of the program’s standard operating procedures and policies will be made publicly available on Westgate’s website to help other businesses craft their own procedures.
Some of the procedures that will be made available include restaurant and spa operating procedures; contactless curbside hotel check-in; enhanced sanitization standards for all guestrooms, common spaces and team member areas; how to create your own personal protective equipment (PPE); guest and team member screening protocols; and more.
Kempinski Hotels Unveils Kempinski White Glove Service
To provide the most outstanding level of service and guest comfort even during and after the current situation, Kempinski Hotels has launched Kempinski White Glove Service.
In light of the fact that some of the closed Kempinski Hotels have now reopened their doors, the Kempinski operational strategy and quality management team has launched this extensive service covering all areas of the luxury hotels, while keeping in line with the regional safety and health regulations as a top priority.
“It is crucial to us to continue delivering service on the highest level true to our Kempinski heritage as this is what we stand for,” said Benedikt Jaschke, chief quality officer/member of the Kempinski management board. “While we need to give guests full confidence in the cleanliness and disinfection of our premises and reflect the seriousness of the current situation in all aspects of our daily operation, we are eager to continue and even surpass our dedicated service à la Kempinski.”
To fully support the execution of the program, a comprehensive guidebook has been launched by the operational strategy and quality management team. The 50-page guidebook meticulously treats any kind of measures to be taken in all departments of the luxury hotels ranging from arrival of the guests to setup of public areas, food and beverage to housekeeping, as well as spa areas to meeting spaces.
Employees will now be wearing gloves during all guest interactions, as well as in compliance with government regulations and advice masks, which have been produced for Kempinski by Italian hotel uniform designer Maurel, carrying the patterns of the Kempinski flower print. Part of the amenities in all guestrooms will be mini hand sanitizers, as well as guest masks.
All furniture in public areas has to be rearranged to keep social distancing rules for the convenience of guests. Enhanced cleaning plans are provided by hygiene products supplier Diversey through wall charts and online guidelines to visualize step-by-step the flow of disinfection and cleaning of all hotel areas. Sanitizing stations will be spread throughout each hotel, key cards will be disinfected before and after usage, cloth towels in public toilets replaced by one-time-usage disposable towels and professional air purifiers provide clean and fresh air.
Absolute privacy is offered to guests who upon check-in and during their stay decide not to allow any hotel team member to enter their room during their full stay period at the hotel. While usually a “Do not disturb” sign is used temporarily, the new “Privacy” sign assures that requested services will still be handled, but in front of the guestroom door.
Procedures are not restricted to guest services, but also apply to back-of-house areas, such as the employee restaurant. To limit the number of employees having their breaks at the same time, service hours of the canteen for will be extended, some tables and chairs will be blocked to grant space and boxed meals can be offered as an alternative to be consumed at office desks.