Star hotels line up ‘new normal’ experiences for guests post lockdown

Sangeetha Chengappa Bengaluru | Updated on May 25, 2020

Even as they keenly await Government guidelines for a post-lockdown opening, luxury and five-star hotels across the country are getting ready with ‘new normal’ experiences for guests combined with stringent health and safety standards, from the time they enter the hotel till they check-out.

Upon entry into The Oberoi or Trident Hotels for instance, the exteriors of the car in which the guest arrives will be sanitised by a fogging machine after which it will enter the hotel’s porch. The guest will be greeted by a masked and gloved doorman. Baggage will be sanitised after being security scanned and taken by a masked and gloved bellboy. A tray with a hand sanitiser, disinfectant wipes, masks and disposable gloves will be placed at the main porch. Contactless temperature reading of the guest will be taken, who will also require to fill up a self declaration form which covers COVID19 symptoms. If any of the guest’s parameters are not normal, medical examination and assistance will be provided with a detailed procedure in place to quarantine guests testing positive for COVID19. Every hotel will be supervised by Hygiene & Safety Managers as well as by senior members of the hotel management team.

The Oberoi Group has also collaborated with Bureau Veritas to validate and review its curated hygiene & safety standards programme and to conduct virtual and in-person training sessions to implement the programme at all its hotels.

“At The Oberoi Group, we have always prioritized the health and safety of our guests and colleagues and have been working relentlessly to welcome guests back at our hotels. It is imperative for us to take extraordinary measures to ensure the well being of our guests, and our people,” says Vikram Oberoi, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of The Oberoi Group.

“Once businesses resume, during the phase of normalisation, hotels will see the emergence of a new customer whose daily behaviour and thinking will differ from what it was before the COVID-19 outbreak. Guests of the future will insist on ‘safe delivery’ of all standard services within a hotel. Hotels will have to redefine service delivery protocols while maintaining safe distance and minimising physical touch points” said Siddharth Thaker, Managing Partner, Prognosis Global Consulting.

“Every guest room will necessarily have supplies of hand sanitisers, sanitiser wipes to clean surfaces and face masks along with the other essentials like bathroom slippers that are disposable. Every alternate room in the hotel will be kept empty in order to reduce guest density. Hotels will move from multiple restaurants to a single all-day dining restaurant with a limited 1-page curated menu. There will be no more buffets, table density will be reduced with tables placed 6 ft apart. In-room dining will be encouraged. True luxury will be in maintaining safe distance and in slowing down. Increasingly, less will mean more for the discerning traveller” observed Thaker.

‘Safety Assured’

In anticipation of operations returning to normal soon, Royal Orchid & Regenta Hotels have announced their latest campaign focused on staff and guest safety - ‘Safety Assured’ which presses upon strict adherence to COVID-related government guidelines and implementation of best practices across the group’s 60 plus hotels in India. In addition to assigning alternate rooms to guests, frequent sanitising from entry till check-out for staff and guests, following FSSAI guidelines to prepare and serve food, the Group will also suspend swimming pool, gym and spa operations in the interim. Housekeeping amenities and mini-bar items will now be made available only on request so as to minimize chances of contamination and all staff has been mandated to use the Aarogya Setu App.

Buffet operations have been paused and guests are encouraged to order from special menus, with food delivery being limited to room service. The group is also in the process of implementing ‘Contactless Check-in’ and ‘Touchless, QR Code Menus’ for food ordering. Post lockdown, the hotel will also be opening up outdoor restaurants for dining, and banquet halls will be reconfigured to comply with the needs of social-distancing and other COVID regulations.

“As everyone expects to return to a ‘new normal,’ our responsibility is to provide utmost safety and assurance to our guests and staff, while maintaining the same high levels of service and warmth that we have been known for. Our teams have undergone meticulous training to ensure that our guests feel right-at-home once they check-in to our hotels. With the government allowing flights in a graded manner; the economy must resume, and it is our responsibility to ensure that we don’t get complacent and compromise on safety” said Chander Baljee, Chairman & Managing Director, Royal Orchid & Regenta Hotels.

“At ITC Hotels, we are committed to delivering world-class luxury experiences that address the needs of well being through responsible practices which are in harmony with the environment and society. Safe distancing is now a reality in every industry, especially the service sector and we are adapting new ways across operations to ensure guest safety. We launched ‘WeAssure’ initiative recently, a unique programme designed in collaboration with medical professionals and disinfection experts to further enhance the existing hygiene & cleaning protocols. Besides this, the new normal in dining will be dictated by the pillars of health, hygiene and safety. Specially curated training programmes are being held in conduct, and precautions for personal, social, and workplaces for all associates to drive awareness and practice to serve the new world, after Covid” said Anil Chadha, COO, ITC Hotels.

Published on May 25, 2020

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