UK: OYO Hotels & Homes is rolling out its new operational procedures at its independently-owned hotels in preparation for reopening.
Procedures focus on a minimal-touch experience, ensuring high levels of hygiene and accounting for the need for social distancing.
The group is currently developing the technology for app-based remote check in to limit any contact between guests and staff. It is also exploring digital key boxes so guests can collect their key from outside their room rather than at reception.
Other procedures include the introduction of a ‘Sanitised Stay’ tag that will be displayed on online property descriptions.
Rishabh Gupta, head of OYO UK and Europe, said: “The ‘new normal’ that the hotel industry faces in the post-lockdown environment presents a real set of challenges for small, independent, neighbourhood hotels which generally operate with limited resources and budgets. OYO is working with our partners to introduce tailored solutions that balance excellent hygiene with cost efficiencies; utilising technology as well as practical steps to enable these valued hotels remain both attractive and viable.”
Examples of these solutions include:
- The removal of excess furniture from lobby areas to create extra space, and markings will be placed on the floor to enable social distancing.
- Disinfected movables such as room keys and TV remote controls will be presented to guests inside ziplock bags, and bedrooms will also include a supply of polybags to be used by guests for dirty towels and used toiletries.
- Hotel staff will be asked to refrain from handling guests’ luggage unless there is a particular need.Lifts should only be shared by one family / the occupants of one room at a time.
- Hotels are being supplied with posters containing important information such as Coronavirus symptoms and correct hand-washing techniques to put on display.
- Property managers are being encouraged to explore new ways of engaging with guests – for instance by video call if there is a repair and maintenance issue to report in the room.
- Upon check-out, guests will be sent an online payment link and asked to settle their bill online rather than by cash or card wherever possible.
- Hotels are asked to maintain stocks of hand sanitiser, masks and disposable gloves for the use of both staff and guests. OYO is supplying a vendor list and negotiating bulk pricing on these items wherever possible.
“Some measures might require the cooperation and goodwill of guests, or go against the hotelier’s natural instinct to aide the guest at every juncture,” added Gupta, “but we’re sure that everyone will understand that these procedures are being followed for everyone’s wellbeing. OYO and our partners are looking forward to re-opening our hotels as soon as the respective governments permit.”
OYO has more than 200 small and mid-sized properties across the UK, ranging from seafront guesthouses and B&Bs to traditional inns and city-centre business hotels.