With the news cycle laser-focused on the looming threat of a COVID-19 second wave happening in nearly every territory, it is up to each and every hotel to ensure we are all fully compliant with virus safety guidelines in order to restore group booking confidence. And the only way to ensure compliance with these safety guidelines is through contactless and compliance technologies to give guests a strong guarantee of proper sanitization as well as peace of mind.
This is of particular concern given that there are already states where a second wave has occurred, forcing many properties to reenter lockdown conditions. You must demonstrate that you are going beyond the minimum to protect your reputation and safeguard your room revenues by keeping your hotel doors open. Moreover, as we enter the fall months, many properties can no longer rely on peak season leisure travel to stay afloat, so bringing groups back is a necessary objective.
All it takes is one slip-up from any staff member to draw the ire of anxious municipal officials or to elicit the scorn of hair-trigger guests who are likely to vent their umbrage on TripAdvisor or other social media. Groups will have a scrupulous eye for cleanliness infractions; one slip-up can cost you a contract. Hence, you need monitoring technology to straightforwardly prove via thorough and agnostic documentation that your entire team was compliant with the latest viral safety guidelines.
Just think about this from the meeting or event planner’s perspective. Employers can no longer risk sending their people to a property that does not take the new guidelines seriously or provide certain safety guarantees, lest they be held accountable for putting attendees in harm’s way. The flip side is that many companies or event hosts will be willing to pay a higher nightly rate for that assurance.
Given the need for platforms adapted to effectively ‘cover your assets’ from COVID-19 and to offer that necessary morsel of compliance to give groups confidence in booking, there are four new features to be on the lookout for when deciding what to implement.
1. Mandatory online training. Prior to COVID-19, web-based courses were available, but there was always pushback to make them absolute requirements for employees to work. Now, however, with physical distancing still vastly important, you must have the ability within your administrative dashboard to set certain reading materials and videos as compulsory before you can allow team members onsite. Further, systems can be set up to offer granular recordkeeping of who has looked at each provision, at what time and for how long.
2. Testing on that training. It’s one thing to scan a document or to zone out while watching a tutorial; it’s a whole other to be keenly engaged with the coursework so that the information is actually remembered. The only real way to motivate employees to thoroughly absorb their training is to quiz them on what they learned. Knowing that they will be tested afterwards inherently encourages more active participation at the outset, while recurrently poor test scores can clue you into those individuals who require extra coaching or disciplinary action.
3. Visually demonstrated compliance. Prove that your task is scrupulously completed by showing, not telling. The new cleaning protocols have already increased labor costs substantially, and the last thing you need is for your team members to have to manually document everything to further drain their time. Instead, a picture is worth a thousand words; enabling staffers to quickly upload an image of their work can provide the same level of compliance as a written record but in a fraction of the time.
4. Analytical report generation.
With all the data points generated by the above three features, it’s easy for managers to get bogged down by the multitude of numbers. Instead, these need to be compiled into clear and concise reports for executives to swiftly review and identify actionable next steps. Plus, said reports are exactly what any auditing process will demand, and having them at the ready will help alleviate any governmental concerns or lawsuits.
As we transition into the next normal of more domestic travel, the hopeful reawakening of groups and the constant threat of a second wave, you need technology that can cover your assets while maintaining a lean team and keeping costs low. Specifically for groups, the four features mentioned above represent a good first step so that you can answer confidence about attendee safety whenever this subject is broached during a negotiation.