Many hotels have been open for a few months now amid the pandemic, and they have come up with a myriad of innovations to keep guests safe. Some new procedures are a bit cumbersome, like in-lobby temperature checks. But others have proven convenient, even enjoyable, for hotel guests and employees. So which changes will have a permanent impact on the hotel industry long after the pandemic is over?
Many hotels have long been overdue for technology upgrades, and COVID-19 has given new momentum to some trends that were already on the horizon. To reduce the number of guests lingering at the front desk, hotels have been moving to online check-in. Some hotels are also looking at investing in room locks that can be operated via guest’s smartphones, eliminating the need for physical keys. While these changes do have benefits in keeping guests safe right now, their convenience will make them an expected feature in the future. A few companies like Hilton have taken the convenience of contactless technology a step further. They have created apps that give guests the ability to do anything from request room service, check out, control their room environment, and even get recommendations for local attractions by simply using their own smart-device.
Even when the risk of infection is past, hygiene will still be a key focus point for many properties. Guests will still be skittish and will need some reassurance in the aftermath of the pandemic. Though distancing lines and plexiglass will probably come down, guests can still expect to see things like hand sanitizer stations and even “clean room” seals on guest doors. Décor will probably remain minimal as well, reducing any unnecessary touch-points that may be difficult to keep sanitized.
Non-traditional Dining Options
While the breakfast buffet will eventually make a come-back, it may not be for a while. However, guests have been enjoying alternate dining options. Today’s travelers are more interested in experiences than amenities. Hotels who have partnered with local restaurants to provide a full package travel experience will continue to do so. Grab and go cafes and kiosks will also remain popular for guests looking for a quick bite to eat. In-room dining’s popularity will continue for those looking for a bit of luxury, but contactless delivery will still be prevalent, and menus will probably remain digital.
Focus on Employee Wellness
Considering the uncertainty of the industry, concerns about personal safety, and abiding by new procedures, hotel workers have faced an enormous amount of stress during the pandemic. The hotel industry has wisely placed a priority on providing the resources to keep employees physically and mentally healthy. Sick leave policies have also been much more flexible. These trends will need to continue, not only for the benefit of current employees but to encourage laid-off workers to return to the industry as business and hiring needs pick back up.
Partner with Experienced Recruiters
As the hotel industry makes permanent changes, their staffing needs will undoubtedly change as well. Hotel teams will need to be flexible and able to think creatively as guests’ needs evolve. The Hotel Recruiters at Horizon Hospitality can help properties and management companies find the management professionals to lead resilient teams. Contact them today to get started.