While each location and chain are handling things a little differently, hotel safety is ramping up in business travel destinations around the world.
COVID-19 has changed nearly everything about the business travel process, hotel safety included. Visit a hotel in fall 2020, and you’ll find that contact is severely curtailed, that hand sanitizer is available at every turn, and that capacity and services are limited — all to promote cleanliness and health.
Below, you’ll find a step-by-step look at what hotel safety might look like when you take your next business trip. If you’re curious about air travel safety during the COVID-19 outbreak, we’ve written a similar post that shares what airports and airlines are doing to promote cleanliness and health.
Before Your Trip
The best thing you can do before your trip is book well in advance. When you book in advance, you enjoy more options — allowing you to book a hotel room that makes you feel as safe and comfortable as possible. As an added benefit, booking early ensures you can get a room at the property you prefer. Availability may be limited as hotels enact new safety and cleaning measures, which naturally reduces capacity.
Many hotels and chains are also offering significant flexibility right now. In most cases, guests can cancel or otherwise change reservations up to 24 hours prior to check-in. As your arrival draws closer, expect to get health- and safety-focused communications from the hotel.
The 3 most common questions are:
- Have you traveled outside the country in the past 2–3 weeks?
- Are you experiencing a cough, fever or other COVID-19 symptoms?
- Have you been in contact with anyone who is symptomatic?
These questions are asked for the safety of all guests. Any given hotel may also ask questions that help streamline the check-in process, thereby reducing contact between guests and staff.
When You Arrive
If you normally use valet parking, you may find that your hotel is only offering self-parking right now. Workers at hotels are likely to be wearing masks and gloves, and hand sanitizing dispensers and disinfecting wipes will be readily accessible in most cases.
Once you enter the lobby, you’ll notice that furniture has been arranged to promote social distancing. At the check-in desk, hotels are now using low- or no-touch payment options. Guest key cards are disinfected. And many hotels are providing welcome flyers or letters that outline what they are doing to promote health and safety — and what guests can do to remain safe during their stays.
Guests should consider downloading hotel apps so that they can take advantage of virtual check-in and virtual key options. This helps limit contact during a stay.
During Your Stay
When traveling for business, your hotel room should be a place of refuge where you can rest and relax from the busy workday. Here’s a look at hotel safety measures designed to make your room a safe, healthy place to spend time, as well as what hotels are doing to make parts of their properties clean for use:
- Guest Rooms: Hotels are cleaning rooms more deeply and thoroughly than ever before. But they are doing so between stays rather than during a guest’s visit. Many hotels are cleaning every third day during a guest’s stay to limit the number of workers entering someone’s room. Also, many hotels are leaving rooms empty for a day or 2 between guest stays, providing plenty of time for cleaning and full sanitization.
- Dining: Looking to order room service? Expect touchless delivery from the kitchen. Also, condiments and seasonings (like salt and pepper) are likely to come in disposable containers. If you visit restaurants on a hotel property, expect masks and gloves to be used by staff. Also, tables will be spread out for social distancing and menus will be disposable.
- Fitness Centers and Spas: Unfortunately, fitness centers and spas remain closed at some hotels. In cases where fitness centers and spas are open, expect reduced capacity and limited service — as well as plentiful hand sanitizer. This may be a disappointment to some guests, but limited access is designed to promote health and safety.
As mentioned above, it’s best to book hotels as far in advance as possible right now. Doing so is a good idea in part because the extra cleaning and safety precautions may put a strain on availability. As hotels leave rooms empty for 24 or 48 hours between stays, and as they try to keep guests as socially distanced as possible, their capacities will drop below normal levels. Book early to guarantee you can stay where you want to stay.
Hotels are now making it easier than ever to leave on checkout day. You can typically check out using an app or an in-room television. Keys can be left in rooms or dropped in boxes placed in the lobby. And invoices for expense purposes will be emailed to guests rather than slipped underneath a door.
Seasoned travelers may even appreciate that there are fewer roadblocks to departure than there have been in the past due to the added hotel safety measures being taken.
Get Travel-Related COVID-19 News and Tips
At JTB Business Travel, we are committed to helping our clients enjoy the safest business travel experiences possible. Discover more about hotel safety on our COVID-19 information hub, where you can find the latest on business travel and how to stay healthy while away from the office. Have questions about traveling during the pandemic? Contact us today to find out how we can help.