Author: Kristina Haga
On the 30 April we opened our first round of discussions at WHTT Weekly on how a reopening will look like or looks like. As strategies and operations differ by region and segment one thing is sure we have to make major changes to adapt to a world with new standards. Talking about operational, health and safety, digitalization, we have to make sure we communicate on the changes in the right way to our customers, guests. Here is are a couple of point to summarize the conversation.
Hygiene standards and cleanliness
Governmental regulations will be implemented, and will, of course, have a big impact on the operation the hotels have to follow, but on top of that people will be looking around much more carefully on how hotels are handling their cleanliness.
We will have to create new responsibilities most likely, e.g someone who will be in charge of sanitation. With GDPR we saw that a chief data officer role was introduced, maybe we’ll see chief hygiene officer come from this. The role would be to measure hygiene standards and push the messaging.
Housekeeping has always had great standards, but clean has just gotten a whole new meaning.
Communicating and ensuring to your guests and customers that your hotel is up to the new hygiene standards is going to be crucial, so your marketing message and communication is going to be key.
Centralize your marketing message so you can bring it to a bigger audience
Not going dark on your guests is now more important than ever. Updating and improving your CRM strategy is going to be key in order to get your message on all the measures taken in regard to cleanliness and hygiene across to guests.
Build out your website to host all this information so it’s easily accessible to your guests.
Communication needs to be genuine and heartfelt, hotels need to redesign their space to allow for the new normal of social distancing, at least for a while. F&B concepts really need to show that you care about the health of your guests, so they feel safe and taken seriously.
Smaller independent and boutique hotels have a lot of leverage at the moment as people are scared and don’t want to be in places with huge amounts of people, so use that to your advantage to communicate this.
Be smart with your messaging and marketing as you might not have the same amount of marketing power (distribution) as the bigger chains.
Technology will advance even further, e.g mobile and self-check-ins, the contactless payment might be a new standard. A lot of hotels already have this is in place, but we’ll probably see this type of technology improve even further.
Evaluate and look at your tech stack as you now have the time since a lot of hotels are closed or running very low occupancy. And ensure that the systems you invest can integrate with your PMS and other tools.
Communicate through any device possible as a part of your communication strategy and guest journey: Mobile app, Website, Email, Social media.
This is an opportunity to take back some power from the OTA's as the cleanliness information and standards will sit on your website and channels, how will OTA’s be able to communicate this better than you?
Operational re-opening strategy
Staff training is going to really important, teach them that personal hygiene has been taken to a new level, uniform standards, etc.
Removing the ‘nice things’ in a room will be a part of what hotels need to do in the beginning for cleanliness purposes (carpets, pillows, things in the rooms that what a nice to have). How long this will be in place is probably going to depend on how long covid19 will be around. If there is no vaccination or resolution to the disease in the long term, items and processes will have to be changed for the long term. It all depends on the progress of the disease.
Design and functionality will have to be balanced to still keep the hotel experiences alive, especially in the boutique and luxury segment.
Watch WHTT Wash You Hands Part 1 with our experts
Kelly Gardner , Owner Connected Travel& Hospitality
Alan Young, CEO Puzzle Partner Ltd.
Rajesh Vohra, Director Sarova Hotels Ltd.
Moderated by Kristina Haga, Customer Marketing Strategy & Success Revinate