With the Covid-19 is still a pandemic in Malaysia, hotel, and tourism industry in one of the most affected industry in Malaysia at least. People are more caution with their healthcare, and this is a good sign to the community. Hotel and tourism business must bring public cautious into their new marketing plan and strategy as it should not be their obstacle to obtain public trust and reduce their fright towards the hotel and tourism entity. Here are 9 possible preparation to increase a successful transition from Covid-19.
This is not an option anymore and it cannot be emphasized it though. Developing trust from your customer by improving your hotel and facilities safety aspect is the most important way to gain their confidence on your facilities. The critical aspects are how to make them safe and how you announce it to the public. Like hospitals, you can prevent the rate of virus transmission among your own employee through universal masking, universal precautions, and cleaning protocol. Infection among the staff in all big businesses is commonly caused by the high prevalence in the community. Your employee attributes will be the huge benchmark of the safety measure implemented. Safety is your top priority. You have heard of Amber Alert. You may use the same modus operandi to use it as a medium to spread the information and increase the pre-caution among the staff.
2. Special incident force team
A group of staff that has been assembled to perform a specific task for the incident specially for the pandemic is a new system for you to create if you do not have any. Everyone must have a clear role to perform in terms of incident commander, operations leader, planning leader, logistics leader, staff leader and communications leader. This group must have a daily meeting to discuss and update the previous incident happened, the planning for the day and the mitigation plan. The commander should lead the team and each of the leader must be an expert in the area. All of them must have excellent communication skills and possess critical thinking skills. If you already have a dedicated safety team, you can add the special task to their division as they already have the structure. Communication is the key for the team as they need think and act quicker than other. Having a good online communication is not an option as it will affect the action of the team as well as the information distributed.
3. Universal precautions and training
Your staff must be trained to avoid contact with body fluids from anybody. This norm has been implemented to the hospitals staff and should be for all hospitality industry as it will be new norm from now on.
4. Cleaning protocols
Meticulous cleaning works must be added in your hotel’s cleaning protocols as it will increase your customer confidence to use your facilities. One hour waiting time after the customer check out from the room before start the housekeeping should be implement as the new protocols, besides applying the anti-virus cleaning agent to all hard surface and personal protective equipment for the cleaning crew. It also possible to use automated UV lighting during the waiting time and it will be lightened up once the system detected the customer is already checked out. Consider providing automatic hand sanitizer and clean wipes at the elevators, stairs, public toilet, entrance, and rooms to show our caution and responsibility to protect our customer.
5. Invest in technology
Moving forward, you may invest in mobile check-in and encourage your customer to use it even they are already in the lobby. Your guest may have minimal physical contact to a surface outside and inside their room by using the device that already with them which is their mobile phone. Inside their room they may use a single mobile device to control all the facilities in their room in terms of lighting, air-conditioning, curtain, hot and cold water and many more. Your guest may check the occupancy and availability of your hotel facilities such as gym, bar, restaurant, swimming pool and dining hall from their room without checking manually and it will keep them in minimal contact with others. Your staff can monitor and control the system from control room without interrupting the guest privacy. With the investment on your internet and network backbone, your guest will feel safer and protected and it might be their best experience using your hotel facilities.
6. Continue social distancing
Eliminate waiting room, crowded lobbies, and facilities. Keep minimal physical contact to protect your customer as well as your staff and tenant. Having an online system which provide facilities information as well as food and beverages delivery to their room is another level of social distancing.
7. Improve air quality
If your hotel uses the centralized air-conditioning system, it would be advisable to have an indoor air quality to monitor the level of the O2, CO, CO2 as well as VOC as it will enhance the ambience of your hotel. These air quality monitoring also can be implemented in the room with split unit by having an automated room system. You may use predictive maintenance for your air-conditioning system to improve the quality of air in the facilities. Your maintenance team may be alerted, and the top tier management can monitor it from the system.
8. Track record recommendation
Screening test will be developed to prove the infection. Online database may be developed with the cooperation from ministry of health and ministry of tourism to implement travelling pass. Tourist or guest must go through the screening process and the data can be accessed by the hotel management. Although it sounds a little bit troublesome to the guest, but it will increase their confidence to your hotel. It will need cooperation from other parties to succeed the effort.
9. Showing the commitment
Finally, lift your commitment to safe environment for customers and staff by voicing out and advertisement. You may expect the long term pay off for your investment in training, technology, and safety. You may join association ratings for cleanliness, safety, and healthy environment. The hotels and restaurants that deliver on safety will quickly differentiate themselves from others.
The industry atmosphere may be different from now on and we need to adapt with it. You need a new plan and strategy to increase the confidence of the public towards your hotel. It may take some time to recover and long-term return of investment, but you must be ahead from your competitor to gain public trust in your hotel and facilities. With the good marketing promises, delivered through your staff and marketing tools, that will encourage your customers to return.