Reeling under the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, many countries across the world have started easing lockdown restrictions, allowing businesses to reopen, mostly in a staggered manner. But with coronavirus continuing to wreak havoc, it will be tough for businesses to hit the ground running and may take months before they are able to claw their way back to pre-corona glory.
The travel and hospitality industries, though, continue to suffer as global restrictions remain, but the industries seem to have worked out plans necessary to ensure safe travel and stay for guests even in times of the pandemic. Here is a look at the preparedness of various brands and the new hygiene protocols that have been put in place to keep the confidence of their guests intact.
EmpireCLS Announces New Health, Safety and Disinfecting Guidelines
EmpireCLS, a leader in luxury ground transportation, has updated its hygiene processes to ensure a healthy environment for its guests and employees.
The new norms, which include enhanced sanitation processes and new protocols for chauffeur interaction and fleet disinfection among others, have been reviewed, certified and endorsed by Corporate Medical Advisors, A Member of The International SOS Group and Dr. Patrick Yu, a senior member of the CMA Physician Team.
Releasing the new set of protocols, EmpireCLS chairman and CEO David Seelinger assured guests that the company “will provide the same personal touch that you have come to expect from us, while limiting the critical ‘touch points.’”
With the new standards in place, surgical masks, sanitizers and sanitizing wipes will be available in all vehicles; water bottles will no longer be placed in the rear seat, but will be available on request; universal phone chargers and car seats will be available but sanitized before and after each trip; magazines and newspapers, however, will be done away with.
Chauffeurs will remain outfitted in black suit and tie, with added N95 mask or equivalent and nitrile gloves. Guests will be given an option of handling their own luggage in case they do not want them to be touched by others. Chauffeurs will put on new pair of Nitrile gloves while handling guests’ luggage. On reaching the destination, chauffeurs will once again sanitize their hands before opening the door and prior to touching guests’ belongings. The use of front seat by guests will be discouraged.
The company has also purchased EMist Electrostatic Disinfectant system and the entire fleet has been disinfected with electrostatic technology and Vital Oxide. All touch points, including child seats, will be sanitized before and after each trip, using Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-approved products.
In case a chauffeur or passenger tests positive for COVID-19, tracing will be done and all parties who came in contact with the infected person will be notified, plus the vehicle will be removed for 48 hours and thoroughly sanitized.
Air filters have been replaced in all vehicles with three-layer high efficiency particulate air filters and air recirculation button will always be in off position to allow fresh air to be drawn from outside the vehicles.
In addition, the company has laid out several protocols for the employees, which include instructions for maintaining physical distancing, use and disposal of personal protective equipment, along with steps that need to be followed in case an employee feels sick.
Shelborne South Beach
Working closely with the local and national health authorities, the Shelborne South Beach hotel has unveiled its own enhanced protocols featuring a “cleaned with confidence” seal of assurance to ensure the safety of its guests and staff when it opens post the crisis.
The Miami Beach hotel has been closely monitoring the CDC and World Health Organization (WHO) statements regarding COVID-19 and is working to ensure all guidelines on hygiene and cleanliness are met. It has increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting public spaces, with a focus on high-touch areas, and is also performing a deep cleaning of guestrooms, with particular attention paid to remote controls, light switches, lamps and bathroom fixtures, leaving no detail unsanitized.
The hotel has also invested in equipment from EMist. Once a guest checks out, the housekeeping staff will disinfect the guestroom using the EPIX360, a handheld disinfectant sprayer, and clean the room rigorously before sealing off the room with a “cleaned with confidence” marking that will remain in place until the next guests arrive. Public spaces, such as meeting rooms, will be disinfected using an EM360 roller cart.
In addition, the hotel is taking various other steps to set high standards of cleanliness and is rigorously training its staff to stringently follow the new protocols.
In anticipation of a summer reopening, Riviera Nayarit is upgrading its health and sanitation standards. The Riviera Nayarit Convention & Visitors Bureau recently launched a Tourism Wellness and Best Practices Guide, outlining the new standard of sanitation and safety protocols to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
The guide, which indicates traveler and employee expectations; best practices and sanitation protocols specific to hotels, restaurants, airports, tour operators and spas; proper health screenings; credible resources and certification programs; and more, is meant to serve as a resource for local establishments seeking guidance on what the new industry standards are and how to best be prepared for when travel resumes.
The guide is a compilation of sanitation protocols set by the WHO, CDC, various nations including the United States, Canada, Singapore and New Zealand, as well as major hotel brands.
Although not mandatory, hotels and establishments are encouraged to implement the best practices outlined in the guidelines to regain consumer trust and elevate the region’s safety and sanitation standards.
In a bid to reopen its 33 properties across the globe, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group is laying out carefully crafted measures to ensure the safety of its guests and employees.
Additional measures have been added to the ‘We Care’ initiative, as part of which health declaration forms have been made mandatory for guests upon arrival; arrangements have been made for temperature checks for guests and staff;·and Mandarin Oriental-branded ‘We Care’ PPE kits, including masks, disinfectant hand sanitizers and disposable gloves, made available for all guests.
The group will also continue to monitor the situation and is following the direction of WHO, as well as relevant health and government authorities for each location to adapt and evolve procedures accordingly.
Understanding guests’ need for greater flexibility of future travel plans, the CEO James Riley has outlined revised cancellation policies, which can be found on their website.
The Travel Corporation
The Travel Corporation (TTC) and its brands (Trafalgar, Luxury Gold, Insight Vacations, Contiki and Costsaver) have announced their enhanced protocols and hygiene standards for all guided vacations once domestic and international travel resumes. The new steps and procedures have been implemented to provide travelers with the much-needed peace of mind during their travels, in these new times.
Some of the highlights of the new protocols include:
- Expertly trained travel directors: TTC’s travel directors and trip managers will be trained in these new and enhanced hygiene and physical distancing procedures.
- A Full Team of Support 24/7: TTC’s operations and guest support teams will be in contact with the travel director and drivers and on call 24/7
- Stringent on the Road Protocols: Drivers will be trained with the latest hygiene protocols and will clean and disinfect all surfaces including handrails, door handles, tables, seats, air-conditioning filters and overhead lockers on a daily basis. All of TTC’s guests will be asked to follow hygiene practices, including the regular washing of hands and sanitizing when required. Hand sanitizer is available on board for the guests to use throughout the day and it will be encouraged for clients to bring their own washable face mask and gloves and to bring additional hand sanitizer with them. (Additional face masks, rubber gloves, antiviral sprays and wipes will be readily available for guests on all trips.)
- Trusted Partners, Exceptional Partners: The Travel Corporation will try hard to only work with establishments that they are confident will consistently adhere to its standards
- Physical Distancing: TTC will be adapting to the right size groups, based on government distancing requirements
- In the Know: As part of TTC, each travel brand is kept up to date with government advisories and travel alerts and is continually in touch with their partners on the ground in each destination. Now, under TTC’s new protocols, their teams will work to try and ensure that their supplier partners (hotels, restaurants, museums and other venues) are also applying the same, new required hygiene and distancing protocols, to the extent possible.
TTC will be hosting agent training webinars on the future of travel and these newly enhanced protocols to assist agents in preparing for new world.