It’s easy to feel anxious given the rapid progress the Coronavirus has made, but the first thing you should do is stay calm. Hospitality is about people, including yourself, so before you worry about revenue predictions or ADRs, make sure you, your staff and your guests are as safe as can be. The good news is, the transmission of the disease–and the anxiety of staff and guests alike–can be greatly limited with a few precautionary steps. As Thomas J. Donohue, CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said, “Be prudent, be prepared and don’t overreact.”
Ensure Your Staff Knows How to Protect Themselves
Your staff doesn’t need masks, but they do need to be washing their hands as often as possible, using disinfectant whenever necessary, and avoiding touching their faces. If you can provide hand sanitizer to your staff (many distributors are currently or soon will be sold out), this is an excellent precaution. It also has a calming effect–everyone responds better to problems they feel they can control to some extent. The hand sanitizer does just that. Ultimately, a calm staff will be more able to protect themselves and their guests.
Make Sure Your Staff Can Communicate to Guests
You want to make sure that everyone is providing the same information to guests and feels comfortable talking about the issue. You want to avoid a situation where different staff members are sharing different information with your guests. Consider the best way to communicate your hotel’s main points about the coronavirus, be it via email or an all-hands meeting. You can even do some role playing exercises to ensure that your staff has the talking points down.
Remain current with the latest official information on coronavirus. The best resource is the World Health Organization. They have created a page specifically for this outbreak, providing rolling updates and daily situation reports.
You can also follow the news across the hospitality industry through Phocuswright or hospitality.net. And of course, you can stay updated with Revinate’s new weekly Coronavirus Briefing series, and we’ll deliver the latest right to your inbox.
Finally, check in with your local government for additional resources. Some places, like Singapore, are providing economic relief for affected businesses.
Post Helpful Signage
In a high-tech world, sometimes low-tech solutions are the best kind. Be sure to post helpful signs in common areas detailing how to wash your hands and keep clean. Seeing the precaution can be calming to guests and serve as a gentle reminder. Everyone will need to do their part. These needn’t be dire warnings. The Guardian recently listed the perfect songs to sing along to while washing your hands (to ensure you’re washing long enough). Could you create a “pick a song to sing along” sign?
Communicate Actions You’re Taking
The last step is to proactively communicate to your guests that you’re taking this situation seriously and, more importantly, taking steps to ensure that the virus will not spread on your property. You’re likely already doing a lot: cleaning rooms daily, using disinfectant frequently, and overall maintaining a high level of cleanliness. Make sure your guests know how well you’re looking after them. Here are a couple of examples of how people in the industry are communicating to guests:
- Hilton posted a statement covering modification and cancellation policies.
- Alaska Airlines used their blog with an email from their Chief Commercial Officer to communicate how they’re enhancing their cleaning process as an extra level of precaution.
If you need help or guidance navigating this uncertainty, you can always reach out to our team.