INTERNATIONAL REPORT—As the hotel industry readies for its reopening from the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of companies are implementing new cleanliness and safety protocols. Here are some of them:
Fairmont Hotels in Canada Reopen With New Protocols
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts in Canada’s Western Mountain Region—Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper and Whistler— will reopen on June 1. This includes guest services, select F&B venues and golf courses, as well as limited spa services.
The new operational standards being implemented at Fairmont Banff Springs, Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge and Fairmont Chateau Whistler, and at Fairmont properties across North and Central America, were developed and vetted by a team of expert advisors to ensure maximum efficacy in preventing the spread of all viruses and pathogens, including COVID-19, with oversight by Bureau Veritas; Dr. Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security & fellow with the Infectious Diseases Society of America; and Ruth Petran, Ph.D., CFS, senior corporate scientist, Food Safety and Public Health, for Ecolab.
At each touchpoint along the guest journey through the hotel, extensive measures are being taken to protect guests and employees, including physical distancing; mandatory screening for all guests and employees, which may include a temperature check; masks provided to guests and worn by all employees; a 48-hour “settling period” for occupied rooms post-departure; increased frequency of cleaning and disinfecting, with a focus on high-touch points; and continued use of EPA registered disinfectant chemicals, proven effective in preventing the transmission of COVID-19. Hands-on training for all employees, a dedicated on-property rollout committee and a formal audit program, validated under the global Allsafe Cleanliness label, ensure initial and continued compliance.
Columbia Hospitality Launches Columbia Clean
Columbia Hospitality Inc. has launched Columbia Clean, a new protocol for health, hygiene, safety and sanitation, developed with Ecolab.
Columbia Clean spans the company’s managed hotel properties, restaurants, golf courses, conference centers, distinctive venues and high-rise residential properties. Its genesis is in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and builds upon the already stringent standards of hygiene and sanitation at Columbia properties.
This partnership with Ecolab will elevate Columbia Hospitality’s health, hygiene, sanitation and safety-related initiatives, including the following elements:
- Utilizing Ecolab products to clean and disinfect throughout the properties
- Utilizing training and procedures as recommended by Ecolab and the CDC
- Increasing the frequency and intensity of cleaning and disinfecting high-touch, high-traffic areas at every property, such as light switches, door handles, remotes, elevator buttons and thermostats
- Increasing the frequency of cleaning and sanitizing culinary tools and kitchen work areas, along with team members wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), sanitizing POS systems between uses, etc.
- Enhancing cleaning and sanitation standards in all guestrooms, event spaces, common areas, heart-of-house spaces, etc.
- Implementing physical-distancing layouts, markers and signage in restaurants and bars, common areas, meeting and event spaces and amenities
- Decluttering paper and other amenities, such as pens, directories, magazines, scorecards, etc., and replacing them with digital options or providing them upon request
- Increasing the number of customer-accessible sanitizing stations at primary entrances and high-traffic locations, like elevators and lobbies
- Implementing innovative cleaning technologies, such as modern electrostatic sprayers and ultraviolet light, to sanitize surfaces and objects
- Implementing low- and no-touch golf experiences, including the elimination of shared water stations, ball washers, bunker rakes, etc.
- Launching Columbia Clean Teams, whose members are thoroughly trained on health, hygiene, safety and sanitization standards and responsible for upholding them
Banyan Tree Introduces SafeSanctuary
In preparation for the return of travel, Banyan Tree Group, in partnership with Bureau Veritas, is launching the SafeSanctuary program, an integrated health and well-being protocol, which will be rolled out progressively from June 2020 throughout all properties.
The SafeSanctuary Seal demonstrates the rigor of Protect, Provide and Prevent, to assure all guests and associates of the group’s enhanced health and safety measures at all guest touchpoints. This program has more than 40 areas of enhanced protocols, including screening procedures, hygiene stations, and redesigned processes throughout the guest and associate experience. Highlights include the following:
- Protective assurance protocols: Rigorous cleaning and distancing protocols will be applied through the guest and associate journey, focusing on high-traffic public areas as well as high-touch areas in-room with EPA-approved and recommended cleaning agents. Appropriate distancing will be encouraged through signage and with ambassadors in public areas such as pools, lobbies, restaurants and other facilities. There will be limited capacity quotas in enclosed areas and for group activities. Guest amenities, linens and bedding are thoroughly steamed and arrive fully protected in-room.
- Providing for Contactless Journeys: Going contactless as much as possible, in-room directories and restaurant menus will be replaced with digital options for access on personal devices. Check-in and checkout processes and experiences such as personal health and fitness classes, cooking sessions or well-being consultations may be conducted in-room.
- Preventing through Continuous Education & Training: All associates are educated continuously on the evolving nature of this health situation, along with guests and surrounding communities. Education and training are fundamental to ongoing success, and the centralized Banyan Tree Management Academy will increase its subject-specific training standards worldwide. Hygiene Managers on each property and key personnel will apply audit technology that allows implementation of the new protocols.
- Well-being Now and for the Future: The group is rolling out an Organizational Well-being index to assess and respond to associates’ well-being, as well as a regional Tele-therapy service to help support emotional and mental health. Self-care, mindfulness and resilience modules are already available for both associates and guests.
Diamond Resorts Updates Cleaning Protocols
Diamond Resorts has been closely monitoring guidelines recommended by the CDC and other public health agencies, and consulting with in-house and outside experts, to expand its existing Diamond Standard of Clean protocols.
As its resorts reopen in accordance with government regulations, the following protocols at the company’s U.S. properties will include the following:
- Low-Contact Check-In: Plexiglass partitions will be added at front desks to provide an extra level of precaution for guests and team members. Contactless express checkout will be strongly encouraged.
- Welcome Kits: Upon arrival, members, owners and guests will receive a complimentary kit, including sanitizer packets and other convenience items, where available.
- Enhanced Cleaning Protocols: EPA-recommended disinfectants will be used to thoroughly clean all accommodations. Particular attention will be paid to high-touch surfaces such as door handles and television remotes. Housekeeping team members are required to wear PPE, such as masks and gloves, throughout the cleaning process.
- Minimizing Contact: To reduce contact, midweek housekeeping will be ceased temporarily. However, additional supplies such as bed linens, towels and toiletries will be available upon request. The items will be delivered outside the door in a package for a no-contact delivery.
- New Cleaning Technologies: Diamond Resorts is in the process of adding new technologies to enhance cleaning. This includes the use of electrostatic sprayers, which uniformly mist disinfectant to sanitize surfaces.
- Frequent Cleanings: Dedicated team members will be assigned to clean high-touch surfaces and high-traffic areas with increased frequency.
- Social Distancing: Strict social-distancing guidelines will be implemented in public areas. Signs will be posted encouraging guests to remain at least six ft. away from other groups.
- Hand Sanitizer and Wipes: Hand sanitizer and wipes or disinfectant sprays will be provided in the coming weeks at stations throughout the resorts.
- Additional Precautions: Team members will be required to wear a face mask while working.