With hygiene the top focus of the world during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, the travel and hospitality industries have upped their game to ensure a clean and safe environment for guests on the road.
From the U.S. to Thailand, here is how hotels and destinations are responding to the challenges of the new world.
Hotel Industry Across U.S. & Canada Unite
Aiming to have a common set of hygiene standards across North American hotels, leading hospitality organizations of the U.S. and Canada have endorsed the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s (AHLA) Stay Safe, new cleanliness guidelines, developed by industry leaders and public health officials.
In addition to industry-wide endorsement of Safe Stay, local and state government organizations are also utilizing the industry protocols to inform governors, mayors, legislators and attorneys general as they work locally to reopen economies. The Stay Safe guidelines, which encompass employee and guest health and responsibilities, cleaning products and physical distancing protocols among others, bring a new level of focus and transparency to an industry built on cleanliness.
Already adopted in AHLA member hotels in all 50 states, Safe Stay has now been endorsed by the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA), Association of Lodging Professionals, Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI), Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals, Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI), Hospitality Technology Next Generation (HTNG), Hotel Association of Canada (HAC), Latino Hotel Association (LHA), National Association of Black Hotel Owner, Operators & Developers (NABHOOD) and U.S. Travel Association.
Sonoma County Tourism Debuts S.A.F.E. Travels Promise
Sonoma County Tourism has launched the “SAFE Travels Promise” with the goal of welcoming visitors back to Sonoma County when the time is right and encouraging high standards of hygiene, observing all local health regulations required in Sonoma County, and committing to being responsible travelers.
Through a range of actions, visitors are asked to adhere to the following commitment:
- S = Serious: I recognize the coronavirus is a serious public health issue that impacts all of us, including here in Sonoma County.
- A = Attentive: I will pay attention to and abide by the health regulations required of all residents and visitors in Sonoma County, even if these are not the same as the regulations in my home region.
- F = Future-focused: I realize the COVID-19 pandemic will be prevalent for the foreseeable future, so I will help ensure no further spread of the virus. I will take the preparations needed to help ensure my time in the destination is safe and responsible including considering the impact my activities have on the natural and human resources.
- E = Everyone: Everyone is responsible for his/her own safety and that of their families. The burden of health is on oneself. While participating in visitor experiences, I will exercise the precautions and considerations requested by the property or business.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), which has constantly been monitoring the coronavirus situation, says it is ready to welcome guests whenever it becomes safe to travel again. In the meantime, TAT has been reaching out to the community to help those in need and working hard to keep the spirits of the travel industry high.
From raising donations to help elephants, sanctuaries and mahouts deeply impacted by COVID-19 crisis in Thailand to donating 100-300 Thai meals to healthcare workers in northeast U.S. in association with Thai restaurants until the end of the month, TAT has been giving back to the society in its own way.
With the Global Wellness Day on June 13, TAT is celebrating its #FromThailandWithLove campaign and will be handing out Thailand masks to the participants. In addition, TAT recently launched a feel-good video displaying solidarity with the rest of world, with visuals of those quarantined to help flatten the curve and messages of hope.
Banyan Tree Samui, which has been employing hygiene managers at most of its hotels since 2010, is laying emphasis on food safety. “All food & beverage served at Banyan Tree Samui can be fully traced with full documentation from the stage of receiving to storage, preparation, processing, cooking and, finally, serving. Even the temperature of the dish can be tracked and identified,” says the resort’s hygiene manager Phakthima Naratthakit.
Social Distancing in Bali
Tanah Gajah, a Resort by Hadiprana, located on the outskirts of Ubud, Bali with just 20 suites and villas, is making sure things are safe for both guests and staff.
The entire property is sprayed down with disinfectant twice a week and housekeeping disinfects guestrooms on a daily basis. Hand sanitizers are available at all outlets (from the lobby to the swimming pool) and also distributed to each guest along with reusable fabric masks. The personal butler is the guest’s only point of contact and visitors are directly escorted to their villa on arrival instead of checking in at the lobby. The butler completes their registration later. There is also provision made for daily temperature checkups for all guests.
Minimizing Contact at Alma Resort Cam Ranh
The new 30-hectare Alma Resort encourages minimized interaction between staff and guests, and between guests themselves. Guests can buy their own food from Alma’s mini-supermarket to cook in their accommodation’s private kitchen or ask room service to deliver food to their doorstep. Guests’ body temperatures are checked when they enter any of the resort’s restaurants, where everything is brought to the guests and they handle them on their own. Items like salt and pepper have been removed from the tables; guests need to specifically ask for them, and they will be cleaned straight after use. Diners are encouraged to sit outside, where there is enough spacing between tables. If guests do not want staff entering their rooms for the daily turndown service, Alma places extra towels, bed linen and more in the guestroom in advance.
Meliá Koh Samui Intensifies Disinfection Measures
Meliá Koh Samui is making sure its guests have a fully sanitized stay. Vehicles transporting guests to and from the airport are disinfected after every trip. Disinfectants are continually used throughout the resort, including all facilities and touchpoints. Other precautions include deep cleaning of guestrooms, covering all soiled linen transported from guestrooms to the laundry, and sanitizing luggage trolleys after use.