INTERNATIONAL REPORT—As the hotel industry readies for its reopening from the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of companies and vendors are implementing new cleanliness and safety protocols. Here are some of them:
Mandarin Oriental Unveils We Care Initiative
With a number of its hotels recently opening or set to open soon, Mandarin Oriental has put in place its We Care initiative, upgrading its health and safety protocols at all of its domestic and global properties.
The We Care protocols include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Ensuring info on guests’ personal preferences on service levels and level of interaction with staff is collected prior to arrival
- Mandarin Oriental-branded “We Care” PPE available for all guests, including masks, disinfectant hand sanitizers and disposable gloves
- Mandatory health declaration forms upon arrival at hotel
- Temperature checks for guests and staff
The We Care policies have already been implemented at the recently opened Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum in Paradise Bay, Turkey, and Mandarin Oriental, Lago di Como in Lake Como, Italy. Reopening July 1 are Mandarin Oriental, Miami and Mandarin Oriental, Canouan in St. Vincent & Grenadines.
Shangri-La Group Launches Shangri-La Cares
Shangri-La Group has introduced the Shangri-La Cares commitment, which elevates its hygiene and safety protocols for all properties worldwide. Shangri-La Cares reinforces the group’s commitment to caring for people, as well as its distinctive Asian hospitality as it begins welcoming guests back to hotels and resorts, according to the company.
Shangri-La Group has rolled out a pilot program at select hotels, which had been operating throughout April and May, to refine additional health and safety protocols and to expand on operational protocols with respect to the pandemic situation. All new procedures and protocols form the cornerstone of an ongoing commitment that has been introduced globally.
Shangri-La has followed recommendations laid out by the World Health Organization, or more stringent local directives where appropriate, to ensure its operational protocols are comprehensive. Concrete measures have been adopted at all hotels and resorts to combat the risk of COVID-19 so that guests can feel safe when staying at or visiting its properties. These protocols include the following:
- Increased frequency and full attention to deep cleaning of all high-touch surfaces and areas used by guests throughout the hotels
- Use of medical-grade sanitizers and disinfectants, which are approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- Increased cleaning frequency of air filters and air-conditioner systems to ensure optimal air quality
- Safe dining, meetings and events with extra precautions to respect physical distancing and enhanced food safety practices
Preferred Hotels & Resorts Partners With Bureau Veritas
Bureau Veritas has partnered with Preferred Hotels & Resorts to deploy the SafeGuard Hygiene Excellence and Safety Label, designed to support the operational restart activities of the hospitality industry. The SafeGuard Hygiene Excellence and Safety Label is a suite of services offered through Bureau Veritas’ “Restart Your Business with BV” program, a health, safety and hygiene excellence program that will be made available to support member properties with their reopening efforts. “Restart your Business with BV” will be offered to all member properties represented within the Preferred Hotels & Resorts portfolio.
As an independent third-party partner to Preferred Hotels & Resorts, Bureau Veritas will leverage its footprint and auditing expertise in more than 140 countries to make available a consistent and uniformed standard to every Preferred member hotel around the world. Bureau Veritas will deliver remote video audits, followed by systematic on-site audits to ensure the relevant measures are efficiently implemented locally at each specific hotel.
The full suite of consulting, auditing and certification services made available by Bureau Veritas to the Preferred Hotels & Resorts portfolio includes the following:
- Consulting services to establish hygiene excellence guidelines and operating procedures for member hotels as they reopen
- Communication and learning kits to educate all employees on good hygiene practices and protocols
- Guidance on the voluntary application to earn Bureau Veritas’ Safe Guard Hygiene Excellence Label, which demonstrates that member hotels and resorts are in compliance with the recommended guidelines and protocols
- Audits of hygiene protocols and operational requirements implementation
- Continued support, auditing and testing to guarantee ongoing compliance with global and local hygiene excellence standards
CitizenM Launches New Safety Standards Powered by New App
CitizenM is upgrading to a minimal-fuss contactless experience with a free global app. Using a mobile device, guests can open their rooms or create a keycard. Kiosk passport scanning will be a thing of the past—this will be feasible through the app. Once guests check in, they can use their phone to open their room, order F&B, control the in-room experience and checkout when they’ve finished their stay.
A contactless experience isn’t the only reassurance for guests looking at future travel. Since CitizenM only offers one room type, implementing new hygiene standards consistently was effortless, according to the company. Guestrooms feature minimal surfaces to clean, innovative materials like Corian, and no carpets, bedspreads or chocolate on pillows. The hotel brand has moved to an opt-in housekeeping service for extra hygiene security. Unless guests choose to have their room cleaned, no one will enter it.
Every hotel has strategically placed disinfectant stations for guests and employees. Social-distancing signs and safety routes are clearly set out. Electrostatic sprayers are also ready to sanitize luggage, public areas and guestrooms after checkout. Furthermore, all of citizenM’s laundry partners guarantee to deliver disinfected clean linen.
Breakfast is sealed, bagged and available for room delivery or taking away. To limit interaction, the hotel chain has adopted cashless payments across its entire portfolio—and house rules are also in place at all locations for extra safety.
Southern Management Unveils Upgraded Cleaning and Sanitization Program
Southern Management Corporation has launched the Ever Strong comprehensive cleaning and sanitization program. This detailed plan allows Southern to safely reopen and operate its four hotels—The Hotel at the University of Maryland, Cambria Hotel College Park, The Hotel at Arundel Preserve and Bear Creek Mountain Resort and Conference Center. Based upon the latest guidance from the CDC, government authorities, and in concert with the American Hospitality and Lodging Association’s (AHLA) Safe Stay standards, Ever Strong is built upon four pillars— physical distancing, cleanliness, active monitoring and rapid response.
- Physical Distancing: Each of the four properties have been modified to maximize public spaces and encourage physical distancing—keeping guests six feet apart at all times. In addition to layout changes and signage, the properties have adjusted their operational practices to encourage responsible distancing in all areas such as elevators, restaurants, fitness centers, meeting and event spaces and pools. All staff members are required to wear face coverings and guests are strongly encouraged to as well. Disposable face coverings are provided for guests, if needed.
- Cleanliness: The company’s market-leading cleaning programs have been enhanced and include significantly increased frequency of cleaning in all high-traffic areas and frequent sanitizing of high-touch surfaces. The placement of hand-sanitizing stations, property-wide use of personal protective equipment and focus on team member health protocols are also in effect. Guestroom sanitization is a priority with enhanced high-touch deep cleaning on doors, furniture, fixtures, telephones, remotes, etc. Linens are delivered and removed from guestrooms in single-use bags. Team members will not enter guestrooms during the guest visits unless required to respond to an emergency. Guestrooms remain vacant for 48 hours after checkout, when possible.
- Active Monitoring: A critical element of maintaining the Ever Strong program includes monitoring and evaluating practices, heeding expert guidance, listening to feedback and adapting. As the Ever Strong program evolves, Southern will actively communicate changes to procedures and protocols to team members and guests. The most current version of the plan is made available to the public via the property websites.
- Rapid Response: When a presumed or confirmed case of COVID-19 is identified, the mitigation strategy is to take immediate measures that protect guests and team members, while ensuring the continuity and safety of operations. Management will work with the Southern COVID-19 Response Team to follow established protocols. The actions that will be taken include restrict area access, sanitation, notification, room recovery and contact tracing. Additionally, Southern will notify any in-house guests and team members of the action plan in the event of a positive case of COVID-19 on the property. Contact tracing will be used to determine anyone who may have come into contact with a contaminated area.