How Hotels Are Adopting New Best Practices for Trust and Safety

November 10th, 2020

Ken Schnee, General Manager of the Hospitality, Technology, Entertainment and Media group of Sterling.

Click here to read the original article published by Hotel Best Practices.

Historically, the hotel industry has supported tourism, travel and events, created millions of job opportunities, and has been a staple of the economy worldwide. In 2019, the global hotel industry was on an upward trajectory worth around $570 billion and accounting for one in 25 U.S. jobs.

In March 2020, the COVID-19 virus severely disrupted the world, impacting all businesses and economies. To stop the spread of the virus, travel and tourism were immediately shut down and hotels temporarily closed their doors. Consequently, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 4.8 million hospitality and leisure jobs have been lost since February, with hotels on pace to lose $400 million in room revenue per day.

As we continue managing through this pandemic, hotels have been pivoting and adjusting their operating strategies. Now more than ever, hotels need to maintain a “people first” mentality as they strive to create a foundation of trust and safety for their guests, employees and communities. To learn how you can adapt your strategy to build a foundation of trust and safety in the workplace, read our tips below:

Keeping Hotels Safe Through COVID-19 Testing

Due to the large volume of in-person interactions at hotels, there has been a strong emphasis on employee health and safety protocols. COVID-19 testing of employees can help maximize safety and can make guests feel more inclined to stay. In a poll by Sterling, 53% of respondents said that they would feel more comfortable staying at a hotel if all employees were COVID tested or if at least client-facing teams were tested. Other respondents were either uncomfortable staying in a hotel (24%), or comfortable without testing (22%).

To maintain a safe environment for your employees and guests, your hotel can incorporate an end-to-end COVID-19 virus testing program into your re-opening strategy. Testing can be administered to employees before they return to the hotel, which can help determine if an employee has the active virus and the potential to infect others, as well as on an ongoing basis as needed.

There are many COVID-19 testing options including at-home, in-person and bulk testing that can be integrated into a program to coordinate, administer and oversee your testing in a compliant manner. Additional on-site testing such as temperature checks and wellness questionnaires can be administered in combination.

Identity Verification and Background Checks for Greater Safety

In conjunction with COVID-19 testing, identity verification and background checks can help maximize hotel safety by verifying that your employees are who they claim to be and are the right fit for your organization. Leveraging advanced tools, technology and solutions that have only recently become available, some identity verification providers offer a simple mobile phone-based process that makes identity verification fast and easy for your candidates, who can typically verify their identity in just a few minutes.

“To maintain a safe environment for your employees and guests, your hotel can incorporate an end-to-end COVID-19 virus testing program into your re-opening strategy.”

After you verify identity, background checks can help vet candidates by verifying work experience, qualifications and uncovering possible criminal history. Background checks are an important final step in the recruiting process so you can gain confidence that the person joining your organization is a great fit.

A New Guest Experience

The guest experience in hotels today and in the near future will focus on being “contact-free” and incorporate safety, social distancing, and ramped-up, demonstrative cleanliness.

In most major hotel chains, guests are required to wear face masks. Hand sanitizer is readily available and common areas are cleaned and sanitized more frequently. Advanced technology such as keyless check-ins and voice control technology can also be used to enforce social distancing and minimize physical contact.

Combined with COVID testing, these measures will guard against the spread of the virus at your hotel. In addition, when combined with COVID testing, background screening and identity verification, these measures will help demonstrate an environment of trust and safety for your guests and employees.

Adopting a ‘People-first’ Mentality

COVID-19 forever altered the hotel and travel industry. As people cautiously return to travel and hotel stays, initiatives such as COVID testing, background checks, identity verification and contact tracing will help protect your most important assets, your customers and employees.

As you continue your re-opening strategy, you will need to extend your focus on putting people first through all touch points — ultimately creating an environment of trust and safety for your employees, customers, partners, communities, brand and reputation.

Sterling is not a law firm. This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.

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