There are numerous ways in which the pandemic have fundamentally changed the way we approach certain sectors and services. Theatres and cinemas have struggled to reopen, despite a relatively positive demand, and continue to adapt their businesses as best as possible to allow for the shared experience of art and entertainment. Restaurants and cafes are turning to local councils to pedestrianise certain areas to allow more seating to be made available outside, encouraging people to dine.
The travel industry, perhaps most of all, has been significantly impacted by the COVID outbreak. This is because international travel was and continues to be restricted, limiting the offerings of transportation and tourism companies. While certain options are beginning to reopen to the UK, they do so with the requirement of self-isolation upon returning home, which is limiting the interest in international travel and promoting, instead, inland staycations.
Hotels are adapting to new safety regulations and, while initially limited in their service options, have begun to return to full operation. After the beginning of the UK’s lockdown that kept residents within their homes for weeks, there was a surge of demand for hotel bookings. Although many of these bookings were subsequently cancelled, there remained a surprisingly amount of demand as residents sought escape from their homes.
If you’re planning a hotel stay, here’s how it may look.
As with many other sectors, hotels have been forced to quickly adopt contactless and virtual transactions. This means the check-in experience is now, almost entirely, done away from the hotel counter. Cash transactions are now limited if offered at all and essential documents are being accepted via digital scan. You will likely enter your stay without having to interact with another human, except perhaps those guiding and greeting you from a distance.
Once through the main entrance, you will pass through timber fire doors, each with an available hand sanitiser, to ensure that the building is both fire-safe and compliant to hygiene regulations. Your door, which will now be part of the cleaning rounds, will be regularly cleaned, opening to a room that seems both familiar and unfamiliar at the same time.
In many ways, your hotel room will appear the same. There will still be a bed, a shower, and perhaps even a TV. These are the essentials of a comfortable stay. However, in other ways, it will be different. Many hotels are now omitting minibars and kettle stations, optioning instead to offer drinks elsewhere or for them to be delivered to the room. This prevents cross-contamination with items, such as perishables, that are difficult to sanitise.
In their place will be hygiene equipment, such as tissues and sanitisers, to encourage your own cleanliness and to demonstrate that the hotel cares about your safety and wellbeing. Additionally, elsewhere in the hotel, you may be asked to undergo a temperature check as the staff monitor their guests to ensure the continued health of all their customers.
Communal areas, such as waiting rooms, bars, and restaurants will now be limited, meaning there will be less of a rush for the breakfast buffet. Instead, some hotels are booking specific slots for a guest dining, ensuring a controlled capacity for dining.
Otherwise, hotels don’t seem to be changing their operation too much. Instead, it is the demand for them that is changing. As international travel options continue to be limited, their business methods are having to adapt to new demographics, particularly those in-land.