As the restrictions are starting to ease across Southeast Asia, hoteliers need to be ready and prepare their operations for the “new normal”. It is a reality that COVID-19 is here to stay for the next few months but that should not hinder guests from enjoying their stays with a peace of mind.
Travelers are already planning their upcoming trips as the lockdown has taken a toll on their entire well-being. Their next choice of stay will also be an important choice with safety as their utmost priority. Hoteliers should therefore keep in mind that hotel operations will drastically change from Pre-COVID-19 as long-term safety measures are now required. The challenge will also be how to maintain these “new normal” measures without having to increase operations cost in order to get maximum profits.
5 Ways on How to Operate Efficiently During the New Normal
1. Adjust the Hotel Reception and Front Desk Procedures
Safety measures should be implemented once guests enter the hotel such as having proper temperature checks, accessible sanitizers, available masks and gloves. In the Philippines, installing acrylic screens is required to separate guests and hotel staff.
Having crowds in the hotel lobby should be avoided at all times to minimize the spread for COVID-19. Hotels should properly space furniture and widen the space. Also, it would help to have floor markers to aid guests on where to stand.
2. Implement stricter cleaning procedures
By this time, hotels would already have an idea on their guest’s behavior and staying habits. It is important to alter the frequency management for cleaning procedures to sanitize effectively. Public spaces should be cleaned more frequently during the day as this is a shared space. While for occupied rooms, this can be cleaned less because guests now stay longer for their safety.
Higher cleaning standards should also be regulated and implemented to ensure proper sanitation and cleanliness. Like for example, laundry providers should use high quality detergents to kill bacteria and germs that could have been left behind. This will also ensure the safety and confidence of our guests for the hotel.
3. Proper handling of hotel Staff
Hotel staff are your greatest assets as they create memorable experiences for your guests. Having well-trained staff will lead to high customer satisfaction ratings and increase returning guests. Given the COVID-19 situation, employers should have a strategy on how to protect the welfare and safety of the employees.
Have proper guidelines and protocol for positive cases of COVID-19. It is best to educate the team on how to minimize exposure through proper hygiene measures such as wearing masks, PPEs, using sanitizers and so on. Hoteliers can also provide a shuttle service or hotel stays for them to limit exposure from public transportation.
4. Prioritize guest satisfaction
When choosing hotel accommodation, guests are prioritizing their safety above all. It’s best to inform incoming guests ahead of time key safety procedures for the hotel and if they need to bring additional documents prior to their stay. These are extraordinary times and some guests may feel more stressed about the entire situation so it’s up to the hotel staff to make them feel welcome and comfortable as ever.
5. Use the best of technology
Clear and precise communication for hotel guests especially during a global crisis. It’s best to have the proper technology in place to be on top of your hotel operations. With the best property management system (PMS), hoteliers will be able to collect guest information even before they arrive at the property. Guests can now be reminded as well on the documents that are required prior to their stay through reminders sent out via the PMS. Through technology, it will be easier to minimize cash handling in the property through credit card payments as well.
ZEN eManager: The Digital All-in-One Solution to Properly Manage Hotel Operations in The New Normal
Being prepared in the new normal should be the priority for hotels. ZEN eManager is a digital all-in-one solution that helps hoteliers manage their hotel operations with full visibility in all properties with only one platform.
It is trusted by more than 5,000 independent hotels in Southeast Asia that allows monitoring of hotel operations real-time, easy management of hotel listings across all online travel agencies (OTAs) and automated guest reminders that are sent out through its Property Management System and Channel Manager. ZEN eManager also includes a dedicated revenue manager for your hotel to ensure hotel rates are optimal with costs and to get maximum profits.
eZee Absolute PMS gives a 360° view of hotel operations, in which current occupancy rate, on-site staff, and revenue per available room (RevPAR) can be accessed through the mobile app, or any internet-enabled gadget. It also sends automated guest reminders which keeps guests engaged and increases assurance that your hotel is safe and secure. eZee Centrix Channel Manager allows hoteliers to monitor cancellations, re-bookings, and no-shows real-time, in which they can easily adjust room availability in any OTA anytime and anywhere, in one dashboard.
A dedicated revenue manager straight from ZEN headquarters is also assigned to the property to ensure that rates are optimal.
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Ever since the pandemic has started, it has changed our lives in so many ways especially in the way we travel. And the big question facing the travel industry now, as it ramps up again, is how travel will change, when we’ll travel again, and what are the new travel rules under the new normal.
The new travel normal may mean a shift to vacation rentals over hotels, and driving rather than flying. While everything remains uncertain for now and it’s quite impossible to predict the future of travel, one thing is for sure—travel will change.
Below, we have listed seven most possible changes that we could face when traveling after pandemic.
1. Airports and ports will have more security and screening
If you think that the pre-pandemic security checks and screenings at the airport and ports are strict already, then you must expect that these will be stricter soon. To ensure everyone’s safety, travelers may have to face new types of screenings to travel under new normal such as temperature checks and COVID-19 rapid tests, if needed.
2. Queues might be longer than the usual
One effect of the new travel rules is longer waiting games at the airport. Travelers might have to allot more time than before for security checks and screenings.
3. Masks and PPEs required
Even when traveling is still not allowed during the pandemic, people are already required to wear face masks and personal protective equipment when going out to avoid getting or spreading the virus, and this rule will not be going away anytime soon. That being said, this will be the main rule to travel under new normal. Travelers will be required to wear face masks while the flight crew will have to wear PPEs.
4. Airlines could be more expensive
One of the industries that were greatly hit by the pandemic is the airline industry. Their operations stopped for months as traveling was restricted. While some continued to operate amid the pandemic, they have blocked off some seats on planes or limited the number of tickets sold, hence resulting in drastically reduced numbers of passengers. Their practices over the past few months are likely to shape the future of flying. This could mean more expensive airfares.
5. Fewer crowds
In order to practice social distancing, the local government units and private business owners will have to limit the capacity of visitors to iconic landmarks. Therefore, expect fewer crowds when touring, which could be a good thing because you can appreciate the destination’s beauty more without the crowd obstructing the view, and you wouldn’t have to rush to take a selfie at one corner because someone’s waiting for you. Another good thing about this is that countries will not have to battle with over tourism anymore.
6. Road trips and any trips closer to home will be the new norm
Because traveling abroad is and will be a bit out of the picture for quite some time, road trips will be the answer to travel after pandemic. Long-distance trips will be put on a halt for now but traveling closer to home will be a trend. Hello, staycation! A perfect way to satisfy wanderlust!
7. Local travels will boom after the pandemic
Over the next year, we will see a boom in domestic travel. Many will go by recreational vehicles—that actually makes sense, given that one is a lot more self-contained. Some countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Singapore, China, South Korea, Vietnam, Japan, and the Philippines are thinking of implementing travel bubbles through which their citizens can travel after pandemic, even as borders remain closed, in the hopes that they can cross-promote their destinations to a shared audience as travelers crawl they way back out there.
We don’t have to be daunted by the new travel rules as these will help us ensure our safety while feeding our wanderlust. Till we can travel again, stay safe! 🙂
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