Health and Safety measure taken for the guests as well as staff. – World Health Day
Komal Hora CEO & Editor Hospibuz Hospitality Lexis Media Current Pandemic has changed our mindset and made us more health conscious and take more attention towards our health. Health is key to happiness. Looking at the present scenario,
CEO & Editor
Hospibuz Hospitality Lexis Media
Current Pandemic has changed our mindset and made us more health conscious and take more attention towards our health. Health is key to happiness. Looking at the present scenario, there is an increase in diseases and this is the theme for this year’s World Health Day – OUR PLANET, OUR HEALTH’.
Health and Wellness in Hospitality matters now more than ever. Interaction with the industry experts from travel aggregators to hoteliers, about Healthcare in Hospitality as well as health and wellness trends in the Hospitality Industry.
Principal, Lexicon Institute of Hotel Management.
No other industry was hit as hard as the hospitality industry during the pandemic. A lot has been spoken and written about its resilience, but I personally feel that for most it was a matter of survival. The industry has reinforced Darwin’s theory, as going through the abyss of misfortune, it reinvented itself and is today fit to survive.
The only option left for the industry was to recreate its systems and interactions with guests to maximise hygiene and safety standards. Most hotels integrated wellness into their guest experiences. Yoga, meditation, exercise and play is a prominent feature in sales pitch and brochures today.
Human interactions are quickly being replaced by technology wherever possible. Touch free check-ins, sanitised baggage delivery and minimum room visits by housekeeping staff are encouraged. A larger stockpile of room amenities, with addons of frequently requested items, audio in-room dining menus, automated voice and movement-controlled lighting systems have reduced staff interventions for guest service. ‘Stay, eat and enjoy in a private space’- seems to be the new mantra.
Designs and layouts are adapting to safety and cleanliness issues. Changes in colour schemes to promote calm and relaxation, nature-based elements in design and architecture, spacious layouts in restaurants and public areas and abundant use of natural light are introduced to enhance wellbeing of the guest. Minimised buffet services, self-opening doors, foot-controlled faucets, disposable picks in elevators to press buttons, have helped reduced points of guest touch.
Wellness experience has a lot to do with personalization. Tailor made fitness routines for guests along with a more caring attitude are the new concerns regarding safety and hygiene.
Regular thermal checks, health check-up and medical history of staff, proactively encouraging sick staff to be on leave and emphasis on mental health of all have become safety benchmarks. SOP’s have been revised to include safety of guests and staff. Incident related command centres introduced during the pandemic have now become the epicentre of hygiene and safety control.
General Manager, Hyderabad Marriott Hotel & Convention Centre
“Keeping in mind the safety of associates & guests, we are continuing with intensified cleanliness and hygiene protocols as recommended by international brand standards. We have also worked at safe-guarding our team and all of our front of the house associates are now fully vaccinated. Our team is well-trained and better equipped with safety measures for a seamless guest experience. They also undergo daily temperature checks and are provided with sanitized uniforms and safety gear for their well-being.
Physical distancing is practiced throughout the hotel to safeguard our associates and guests. All our high-traffic public spaces and surface touch-points continue to undergo regular disinfection with medical grade cleaning agents.
We continue to offer contactless check-in service, mobile key technology and digitalized menus. Our guest rooms undergo thorough disinfection following international hygiene standards prior to guest arrival. For safe dining, our restaurants continue to maintain physical distancing guidelines, with redefined seating layouts with contactless service and payment options.
Vaishali P Sinha
Director Housekeeping, The Fern Hotels & Resorts Meluha The Fern & Founder & General secretary I-PHA, India
When the first covid wave was at its peak, The Fern Hotels & Resorts launched a health program titled Staygiene. The program was aimed to keep the guests as well as the staff safe from getting infected. The company executed this across all its properties covering all geographies. The program was a resounding success as not even a single guest felt sick.
Though the Covid 19 seems to be over, due to the vaccination program we are not letting our guard down. We are still following the enhanced safety measures to ensure the health of everyone.
Daily temperature checks, regular sanitization, enhanced awareness training sessions on hygiene are still on. Online e-registration options before arrival, scanned ID proofs before check-in, e-version of reservation confirmation voucher are some of the SOP’s we are following to ensure minimal guest interaction during check in. Improved cleaning protocols have been formulated for all rooms prior to and after each guest’s stay. The guests have also become used to greater hygiene protocol and it is in the interest of guests as well as the staff to follow them diligently.
General Manager, Sheraton Grand Bangalore Hotel at Brigade Gateway.
The Pandemic brought about a sudden change in our perspective of life and livelihood. Adjusting to the ‘New Normal’ was the need of the hour. The learnings of the pandemic will only benefit operations in the long run and will prepare hotels for the potential of future outbreaks.
Our industry prides itself on leading customer delight and it will need to continue to reassure guests of a safe environment. People eventually will resume travel and we can already see the demand improving day by day. It is also likely that a new crisis may emerge someday, and hotels need to be ready and not forget the recent learnings.
Hotels will need to continue to be cautious and will have to balance safety measures with a sensibility that helps guests feel at ease. They will also need to continue to demonstrate that they provide a clean and healthy environment and are following specific disinfecting protocols. Promoting healthy hygiene practices and enhanced proactive maintenance measures will most likely become the most influential factor for the guest deciding where to stay. Hotels are expected to go the extra mile in addressing hygiene-related anxieties of guests.
The crisis caused because of the pandemic actually offered a unique opportunity to rethink our current business models and reinvent.
A lot of initiatives will continue in the post pandemic world such as – touchless technology, keyless entry, digital menus and payments. Sticking to the new norms of hospitality, hoteliers must re-imagine and personalize digital journeys for their guests with a focus on delivering contactless experiences.
As much as we are excited about going back to the life of pre-pandemic we would like to move ahead with caution keeping safety of our associates and guests as the top priority.
Rooms Division Manager, Crowne Plaza New Delhi Okhla (IHG).
Essence of ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ is about embracing the values of care and empathy for our guests. Hence, creating a culture of health, safety and wellness has been a core principle to deliver our promise of True Hospitality at Crowne Plaza New Delhi Okhla. We believe in curating tailor-made experiences for our guests to create an essence of ‘home away from home’. The pandemic has undoubtedly brought a paradigm shift on how guest & host interactions take place in the industry and how our team members have been sensitized to ensure the safety of every stakeholder in the process.
We have adopted the protocols and guidelines recommended by IHG Ways of Clean, World Health Organization and local government authorities to ensure enhanced cleanliness protocols and safety measures. This includes contactless experiences, digital menus, QR code-based payments, anti-viral screen protectors at front desk, social distancing floor markers, mandatory masks, temperature screenings and sanitizer dispensers. We inculcated the best practices such as assisted buffet, individual portioned snacks, shields for employees, revamped floor plans, table layouts and server route maps to minimize common touch points and curb chances of contamination. The changes have been well received by the guests and clearly the future of the hospitality industry will revolve around motion sensor and artificial intelligence-based experiences. However, amidst the technological advancements, what hospitality industry managed to retain was the feeling of warmth, value, delightful experiences and a will to walk an extra mile for the guests to create unforgettable experiences. Our food and beverage offerings were enhanced with immunity-pro ingredient-based dishes and welcome shots to cater to the evolving choice of guests.
For our employees, we conducted multiple online and offline trainings so that they can take care of their health and safety and are prepared to face any unwarranted outbreaks. Special FSSAI trainings and refreshers were organized for the food handlers and ‘front of the house’ team members to ensure our commitment of safety and health for our guests.
We designed ‘Well Being Weeks’ every quarter with engaging activities & sessions ensure their physical, mental and emotional wellness. I believe the spirit that ‘We are in this together’ helped us battle the deadly pandemic waves. With the mantra of ‘It is ok to not be ok’ we strived to create a work life balance and mental well- being for team members during such unprecedented times. For the first time, we introduced the concept of periodic check-ins- one on one interaction with their immediate supervisor where the focus was on how the team members are feeling as how we as an organization can help them excel in their personal and professional goals.
Gradually, while the hospitality industry is witnessing green shoots in terms of business, the essence of health, safety and wellness will be an integral part of DNA of hospitality industry.