Coronavirus: How the Hotel Industry is Reacting [Updated 15th March 2020]
I Shook Up The Whole World!
The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)can certainly lay claim to Muhammed Ali’s famous words when he beat Sonny Liston all those years ago.
The world is reeling as day by day we get new information about death rates, new areas of disease outbreak, and the new measures each government is making to try and get ahead of the curve (almost impossible).
In this article I discuss the fact that tourism in general is getting smashed, what hotel chains are doing regarding cancellation policies, a summary of some of the government guidelines and most importantly, what hygiene measures hotels are taking to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19.
Here's the Rub
No doubt the hotel industry has been one of the hardest hit in this disease initiated global financial meltdown.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Marriott International Inc., the largest hotel chain in the world are warning that their Chinese market (about 9% of their business) has dropped by 90%.
Hilton Hotels have stated that their full year adjusted earnings will be damaged by $25 to $50 million dollars.
Airline Companies Starting to Fall.
Airlines are also taking massive hits with the first casualty, Europe’s largest domestic airline Flybe, going into Administration on Friday.
The International Air Transport Association stated on the 6th of March that, “we estimate passenger revenue losses to be between $63 bn and $113 bn in 2020.” You can find their report by clicking here.
Needless to say that besides the death toll, the Novel Corona Virus will also take a great toll in financial matters globally which will include: company collapses; Billions of dollars lost; and countless jobs lost.
Government Issued Guidelines
Most of the guidelines that governments around the world have issued are focussed on three main directives.
- Isolate infected people or those who’ve been possible exposed to those infected and
- Test all people who may have come into contact with infected persons and
- Reporting back to the government exactly who has been identified as having the virus and who is being tested to see if they have the virus.
Some Relief For U.S. Companies.
So, Here's What the Hotel Industry is Doing to Keep the Faith with their Loyal Customers
To unpack what each hotel company is doing in each city would take a post the size of Moby Dick. Because every city has it’s own special requirements depending on how severe the outbreak is, and every government has released it’s own set of guidelines.
So what I’ve done is grabbed pieces from several media releases to give an idea as to what the Hotel Industry is doing as a whole.
Best Western Hotel & Resorts is helping their loyalty members to retain the status level by maintaining it until January 2022 without even fulfilling the normal requirements.
Further, they are reinstating loyalty members who dropped down a tier over the past month to their previous status and again retaining it until January 2022 without fulfilling the normal requirements.
Hilton Hotels have installed waivers to modification or cancellation charges for certain areas of travel such as China, Italy, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia for certain dates.
Marriott Hotels have also waived cancellation fees through March 31 2020 for guests travelling to their specified destinations.
Location Means Everything
The Hyatt Regency in Delhi have gone to extra measures to keep their guests and staff safe.
General manager Julian Ayers stated in the Economic Times of India, “the hotel has enacted elevated precautionary operational protocols, including deep-cleaning measures in the restaurant, colleague lockers and in all public areas, restaurants and meeting spaces across the hotel.”
Ayers added that they, “also started to conduct daily temperature checks for all colleagues and contractors when they enter and exit the building. (https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/services/hotels-/-restaurants/covid-19-hotel-chains-enforce-precautionary-measures-issue-safety-hygiene-advisories/articleshow/74469939.cms?).
On the Hygiene Side
The Royal Plaza Hotel in Hong Kong has issued a full page of the precautionary measures they have enacted in the midst of the Novel Corona Virus.
There’s was the most thorough I could find on the internet, some of their main points include:
- Increase the frequency of cleaning and disinfection of public area such as lifts, elevators, telephones, washrooms and lobby with disinfectant every two hours; clean and disinfect the air-conditioning system at least once per week.
- All staff must measure body temperature, disinfect hands and wear surgical masks before entering hotel, and all food-handling staff must wear gloves and surgical masks during duty
- adequate washrooms and Hygiene Check Station.
Hilton Hotels have also released a statement including:
- We have increased the frequency of cleaning our public areas (including lobbies, elevators, door handles, public bathrooms, etc.) and have continued the use of hospital-grade disinfectant.
- We will continue to adjust food and beverage service in accordance with current food safety recommendations.
- We have increased the deployment of antibacterial hand sanitizers.
To see the Hilton Hotel statement click here.
- Ongoing Training: In addition to training on housekeeping and hygiene protocols, hotel associates are also completing enhanced COVID-19 awareness training.
Here is an excerpt from the Wyndham Hotels statement which you can find by clicking here:
As Hotel Guests we Can Do a Lot
Suffice to say that the hotel industry is doing it very tough at the moment, and is likely to do it tough for quite a long time to come, with the high likelihood that companies already struggling in a difficult global financial climate will be forced to go into administration just like European airline Flybe has.
There are many simple things that we can do as guests in hotels to really limit the spread of disease and protect not only ourselves but the community as a whole.
Self-quarantining ourselves from the community if we have any reason to believe we have been exposed to the virus, or we have a fever, or show any other signs of being sick is the first and most important measure.
Washing of hands thoroughly and at frequent times throughout the day is very effective as it is known that hand-to-mouth is the most common cause of transmission.