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Day to day living in the world is undoubtedly undergoing a massive overhaul, and the tourism and hospitality industry is probably seeing the biggest metamorphosis. This is our prediction of what the change would be like. By Bayar Jain
The anticipated change in the world of travel is no secret. As hotels around the world step up their game in various ways for enhanced hygienic practices — commonality can be chalked out from each of these initiatives. Based on this, we’ve tried to predict this transformation and prepare ourselves for a whole new avatar of hotels.
1. Technology takes the lead
An industry which thrives itself on human interaction and familiar hospitality would have to take the technological route to pave the way for a contactless stay. Many hotels such as Marriott and Hilton have already introduced mobile check-ins and check-outs via the guests’ mobiles. In fact, some have even introduced a virtual key that will allow guests to access different areas of the hotels. Room services, dining, and even payments are expected to rely on technology to minimise interaction.
2. Buffets to be minimised
Buffets, especially breakfast spreads, are typical to five-star properties across the world. These meals usually see all the hotel’s guests reaching for delicious meals from the same cloche, and using silverware previously used – but cleaned – by another guest earlier. Instead, single-serve meals could resurface at hotels and restaurants, wherein the hotel staff brings the food to the table instead of allowing guests to help themselves. Alternatively, packaged foods and ‘grab-on-the-go’ meals could also become a preferred choice for travellers.
3. In-room amenities to dwindle, barring room service
Room service aside – which would probably see a surge – in-room amenities could see a dip. The much-loved minibar could see a reduction or even total elimination as they are potential carriers of germs. In fact, even amenities such as a kettle, extra cushions and pillows, spare toiletries, excess hangers and linens, etc. are expected to be reduced. Instead, they are expected to be provided to guests upon request. On the flip-side, room service could see a spike as guests are expected to find it safer to eat in their rooms compared to the hotels’ restaurants. Delivery to rooms, however, is predicted to change as well. Once the guest places their order – most likely through the hotel apps on their phones – a hotel staff is expected to drop off the meal at the door or come dressed in full personal protective gear (PPE).
4. Multiple daily room cleans could be dipped
While this may sound like the antithesis of the accelerated cleanliness drives, it actually comes backed by logical reasoning. According to guidelines issued by the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) – a representative and guide for every segment of the hotel industry in the USA – housekeeping should not enter guest rooms during their stay unless specifically requested. This means that room cleaning will not be a regular occurrence. Although these guidelines are largely for the American hospitality sector, it could easily double as a blueprint for brands across the world to follow. Moreover, it is important to note that many large scale hotel chains, which have now spread their wings worldwide, find their grounds in American soil.
5. Guest rooms could see a staggering occupancy
Although cleaning rooms would see a step down while the guests stay, these rooms would require thorough deep cleansing following the checkout. This means that some hotels could resort to having staggered occupancy, which means that the rooms are expected to remain vacant for a few extra hours to ensure thorough cleaning.