Friday,  July 23, 2021  11:47 pm

5 ways COVID-19 might change your hotel stay

5 ways COVID-19 might change your hotel stay
Christine Hogg

Christine Hogg is the Associate Digital Editor at PAX Global Media. Prior to joining PAX, she obtained her Honours BA in Journalism from the University of Toronto. Upon graduating, she went on to write for several travel publications while travelling the world. Her longest trip was a three-week stint in Europe, and the shortest was a 16-hour adventure in Iceland. Get in touch:

As social distancing restrictions continue to loosen up worldwide, many hotels have implemented a series of health and safety protocols in anticipation of welcoming guests once more.

Already, some hotels have done away with breakfast buffets and other comforts, like valet parking.

In light of this, the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) recently released new safety and cleaning guidelines for the hotel industry.

Here are five ways that your client's future hotel stay may be different in an era of the new “normal.”

Front desk check-in will disappear

Rather than a face-to-face check-in, guests will be encouraged to check in using their smartphones.

Although several hotels have installed glass or plastic shields for their front-desk employees, AHLA anticipates that most hotels will encourage guests to check in with their smartphone. 

Last year, several big brands, like Hilton Hotels & Resorts, created a smartphone app that takes care of the check-in process, but also lets guests explore other aspects and amenities of the hotel at their fingertips.

Room service will be less personal

No more nice trays: room service will be delivered in a bag, the AHLA predicts.

Ordering room service was once considered an act of luxury. 

Don’t feel like rising early to make the breakfast buffet? No problem—well, except that the buffet may likely disappear. The AHLA predicts that room service will now feel more like ordering UberEats, with your food being safely sealed in a plastic bag and dropped outside your door for a contactless delivery. 

That’s right —no more silver platter. While it’s definitely not as glamorous of an approach, this will ensure no contact between your food and another person once it leaves the kitchen.

No more buffets

On the topic of food, those all-inclusive resort buffets, or complimentary breakfast buffets could be out. 

We’ve all stood in line, only to watch someone pick up a piece of food and put it back, or pick up a set of tongs only to find them coated in some kind of sticky substance, right? 

Now, with COVID-19, it’s just too risky to have large quantities of food exposed for long periods of time. If they do survive, the AHLA says travellers could see a surge in pre-packed snacks or meals. Alternatively, the servers could be dressed in full PPE gear and there will be no more self-serve. (Depending on who you ask, this could actually be a good thing).

Think more granola bars and bento boxes, and less piles of mashed potatoes and heaps of greasy bacon.

You’ll be parking your own car

If valet parking sticks around, the hotel must verify sanitation measures are in order. Photo: Sandals Resorts

Several luxury hotel chains are known for their valet parking services. 

However, the practice opens up a whole new dimension of contact points between hotel staff, the rental car company, and the guest. If valet parking continues to be on offer, the AHLA suggests that it will be up to the individual hotel to ensure that all major touch points, like the steering wheel, are properly disinfected prior and post use.

You may have to clean up after yourself

If you don't mind making your own bed, this isn't so bad!

Some of us go on holiday, unpack our bags, make a giant mess, and let housekeeping take care of the rest. The rest of us actually make our bed in the morning, and don’t mind sleeping on the same sheets, or using the same bath towel twice. 

In order to minimize contact and to keep up with social distancing guidelines enacted at hotels around the world, the AHLA predicts that familiar housekeeping services will be significantly dialed back. Given the time and effort it now takes to clean and disinfect a single hotel room, those who want daily housekeeping services will have to put in a request.

To see a full list of the health and safety guidelines proposed by the AHLA, click here.

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