We miss hotels – the excitement of checking into somewhere new, slipping in between the clean sheets of a bed we don’t have to make. However, the next time we check into a hotel, the experience won’t be the same.
Management at hotels has been working overtime to redo policies and enact safety procedures in advance of welcoming guests back. You’ll notice a lot of changes before you even get to your room.
A valet won’t be touching your car door, luggage assistance won’t be automatically offered, employees will be wearing masks. And that aroma in the lobby? It’s probably Lysol.
The Check-in Experience and Guest Experience
Desk clerks may be behind plexiglass screens. If you even deal with one. You may check in virtually using an app on your phone where you will also download a key. Or you may check in using an airport-style kiosk.
If you do get a key from a desk clerk, they will most likely sanitize it before handing it to you.
You’ll see lots of sanitizing stations in lobbies and while masks most likely won’t be required for guests, they may be recommended.
The Breakers, a family-owned luxury property in Palm Beach, Florida, issued a 16-page guide to its new and extensive health and safety procedures. One change is that guests who stay there will receive a hygiene kit with spray, tissues, hand sanitizer and facial tissues.
And those popular breakfast buffets you’ve enjoyed? They may become a thing of the past as hotels turn to a la carte menus or individually packaged items.
You may also have to say goodbye to a welcome drink and wine and cheese hours in the lobby as hosted by some brands like Kimpton. That freshly baked cookie you receive at check-in will be packaged as well.
After years of hotel brands making strides in cutting down on plastic and waste, getting rid of plastic straws for example, they may now have to resort to using more plastic for those packaged items throughout the hotel.
You’ll probably see fewer lounge chairs by the pool to maintain social distancing, and gyms and spas may or may not be open.
What Won’t Be in Your Hotel Room
The biggest thing you hope won’t be there is the virus, of course. Marriott will be using electrostatic sprayers, which spray mist disinfectant, to clean guest rooms. Hilton is considering using them as well as part of its CleanStay program.
Marriott has also identified 12 items that will receive extra disinfectant, including thermostats, doorknobs and drawer knobs.
To maintain cleanliness some items you probably won’t see any more include magazines, bed scarves, decorative pillows, guest directory, notepads and pens. The hotel phone, one of the least used items these days, may also be taken out.
Want a robe or extra linens? They may be taken out of your room but available upon request.
If coffee makers remain, they may be sanitized and wrapped in plastic as will the remote control, often touted as one of the dirtiest items in a hotel room.
How long will these changes last? No one knows so we will all have to adjust to a new normal.