Looking forward to fulfilling your travel plans after COVID-19? We don’t want to burst your bubble but here’s some not-so-good news from travel experts: your future travels may not be as exciting as before – and that includes your hotel experiences in the near future.
While pandemic-era protocols are still being developed at lodging establishments around the world, it’s safe to say that hotel guests will see major changes the next time they check-in.
Goodbye, sumptuous buffet breakfasts, and crowded yet vibrant pool and lounge ambiance. Hello, keyless check-ins, in-room dining, and plastic barriers.
So, how will an average hotel stay look and feel like after the world starts moving around again? Here are 8 noticeable changes you’ll see the next time you stay at a hotel for a vacation.
1. Expect sanitized arrivals and temperature checks
A hotel’s defense against the spread of the virus will begin before a guest can enter the hotel. We might see automatic sliding doors and bellhops wearing PPE to open and close doors for guests. Hotels may also require visitors to be screened for temperature checks upon their arrival.
We’ll see hotels with touch-free hand sanitizer stations in lobbies, restrooms, and throughout their properties. There’ll also be disinfectant wipes located outside the elevators, to be used for wiping down the buttons.
2. The new lobby rules will involve contactless transactions
The lobby, which is considered the social heart of a hotel, may function entirely differently. The check-in will be paperless and contactless. We may see a pause in guests handing over credit cards and IDs, as payments may be limited to the card listed on the reservation made online.
Several hotels also consider placing physical barriers, like plastic or plexiglass between the hotel staff and the guests in high-traffic areas such as the front desk, concierge, and casinos.
3. “Keyless check-in” is the name of the game
The major changes in the hospitality industry are meant to eliminate human-to-human contact. The idea is to allow the guest to basically walk into the hotel, go up the elevator themselves, and enter the room without having to touch anything.
Several hotels are taking their contactless initiatives to the next level with keyless check-ins, including mobile check-in and digital keys. This means physical keys won’t be handed over, as they will be downloaded on the hotel’s apps.
4. PPE is part of the hotel staff’s uniform
Unfortunately, we won’t be seeing the bright smiles from the hotel staff for a while. From front-desk agents and housekeeping personnel to the spa practitioners, all of the members of the staff will be equipped with face masks and gloves to complete check-in and check-out procedures, and handle guest requests. We’ll also be required to wear face masks at all times.
5. There’ll be technology-driven cleaning tools
Let’s be honest – this global pandemic has turned each one of us into germaphobes. So it’s normal to doubt whether or not the hotel room we’re sleeping in is indeed clean.
Several hotels are adding new technologies including ultraviolet lighting in rooms to detect germs, ozone generators to remove odors, and tech-driven contact tracing to ensure all rooms are safe and spotless.
6. The in-room amenities will be pared down
In hotel rooms, cleanliness will be the priority, not extravagance. Hotel guests may notice that decorative pillows, bed runners, minibar items, coffeemakers, and even paper products like brochures and magazines, have been reduced. Single-use toiletries could also make a comeback to mitigate the spread of germs.
7. Social distancing measures will be observed at all times
Even after COVID-19 has passed, guests may still crave space and feel the need to distance from others. Social distancing measures will still be observed in public areas like front desk and lobby, and heavily trafficked amenities like hotel pools, gyms, spas, hotel restaurants, and bars.
We’ll see chairs spaced further apart in lobbies, restaurants, bars, pools, and lounges to promote distancing. We might see mask-wearing attendants in fitness centers to ensure every gym equipment is disinfected between uses. In the spa, staff members will also be equipped with PPE. Chances are, the menu of spa treatments may be cut down to minimize contact.
We’ll also see a reduction or suspension of amenities and activities that may draw larger crowds, as a part of hotel’s preparation for post covid-19 travel demand.
8. Goodbye, buffets: Hello, room service
Who doesn’t love breakfast buffets? Unfortunately, this sought-after hotel feature might be suspended during the pandemic era.
Hotels want to limit capacity inside their restaurants. With this, guests are encouraged to turn to room services and enjoy their meals in their respective hotel rooms without incurring an additional charge. We may also see some hotel rooms rearranged for a more suitable in-room dining.
But hey, here’s some good news for enthusiastic travelers: this pandemic shall pass and we will travel again eventually. Let’s all hope for the day when the world is finally back to normal and the smiles on our faces won’t have to be hidden behind our masks.
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is a savvy travel and lifestyle writer for Pembroke Hotel Kilkenny, a four-star boutique hotel in Kilkenny, offering exceptional accommodation and dining experiences in Ireland’s historic marble city. When she’s not taking vibrant street photos, you can find her writing articles about travel, food, and lifestyle.