With the hotel business planning to open up in the coming week, at least in parts of India, everyone is getting all set to up the hygiene protocols to ensure their guests and staff are protected from the CoronaVirus. Accor (owner of brands such as ibis, Novotel, Sofitel and Pullman) has derived a strategy to ensure all precautionary measures across its properties. The strategy has been developed with a heavy focus on customer and employee safety and wellbeing.
The ALLSAFE label certification, developed with and vetted by Bureau Veritas, represents Accor’s new cleanliness and prevention standards and provides assurance that these standards will be met by their hotels in anticipation of the progressive reopening of its hotels across the different regions. Accor has also declared a new partnership with insurance company AXA, to offer guests access to medical support at its 5,000 hotels worldwide.
Here in India, Accor has also been working closely with their sanitation partners Diversey along with local medical and government authorities to ensure even more regular cleaning protocols to protect the safety and well-being of guests and staff. Diversey has implemented stringent and comprehensive outline of measures that all hotels must follow including frequent cleaning of public spaces, regular sanitation of high-touch points such as elevator buttons and public sitting areas and enhanced cleaning processes for rooms.
As a standard procedure, Accor’s hotels will disinfect guest luggage with the prior permission of the guests. Upon arrival, Accor brands will not be providing any cold towels to welcome guests; no welcome aarti and tika either – going forward it will be a sanitizer shot for the guest’s hands will be provided as a welcome to the hotel, and at every restaurant.
Accor will continue to do temperature checks at the entrance of the hotel. Face masks and thermometers will be readily available for guests on request. Not just that, the reception will move behind plexiglass, just like other customer-facing businesses like airlines will.
During check-in guests will be required to complete a self-health declaration form to declare their state of health; whether they have come into contact with any person suspected of the COVID-19; and their past travel patterns of the last 14 days. Accor will be encouraging e-check-ins and an e-card will be sent on the guest’s email requesting an instant acknowledgement of the same over email. Guest will be requested to share Photo ID, COVID-19 form, credit card authorization form for payment and picture of a business card on the email to process the check-in formalities. No physical cards will be taken or used for pre-authorization to avoid contact.
Room cleaning covers the cleaning of the entire room which consists of room and bathroom accessories as well as hard surfaces including high critical touchpoints. Accor will avoid using any mattress and fabric-based furniture in the rooms to restrict any chances of the infection spreading. Room linen will be changed once in two days or only on request; no turndown services will be available to facilitate minimal contact. Soiled linen such as pillowcases, bed sheets, curtains and used towels will be placed in leak-resistant laundry bags and sealed before sending to the laundry room for cleaning.
In the initial phase, Accor anticipates that guests may opt for in-room dining and restrict the use of the elevator to avoid human encounters as much as possible. Across brands, the new normal would be a mindful room allocation to place all guests apart.
Restaurants and Dining
An exhaustive checklist is being prepared for the Restaurant Operations in F&B Service across the board for Luxury, midscale, and the economy hotels. The floor plans are being re-drawn to maintain social-distancing norms between the tables. Guests would be reminded when entering and leaving the restaurant, breakfast, or dining room to disinfect their hands with disinfectant gel, preferably located at the entrance to those facilities.
Also, Accor may have buffets at some hotels which will be simpler depending on the occupancies and mostly be served on the table to avoid contact. Guests will be informed to wait for a call from the restaurant to know when to come down from their rooms to prevent crowding.
In addition to the restaurants, protocols are also be defined for the bar and the kitchen areas to be followed by the guests and employees in order to make them feel safe at all times. For the initial phase, Accor has already encouraged more delivery and take away services and will continue to do so. Accor expects that guests will also appreciate the new normal for restaurants and bars.
Lobby furniture will be reduced so that the number of guests in any waiting area does not exceed and social distancing is emphasized. Every elevator entrance at every floor will have a toothpick dispenser or ‘use your elbow’ signage to press the buttons.
With respect to the usage of the hotel’s transport, no guest would sit beside the driver’s seat. All chauffeurs will be wearing masks and gloves during the entire period of their shift. Newspapers, magazines, and edible amenities will be discontinued in all cars. Accor will encourage the guests to wear a mask in the car and hand sanitizer will be offered before boarding the vehicle.
Considering the scenario currently, facilities like gym’s, spa’s and swimming pools are still being pondered upon and to tackle the realities Accor will need to look for ways that are in the best interest of our guests.
Accor has also developed an extensive procedure for its operational staff internally on iAuditor- a self-assessment platform, which enlists the brand’s standards and per touchpoint. iAuditor will assist hotels teams and management to focus on enhancing hygiene and cleanliness, temperature checks at the entrance, thereby safeguarding the well-being of guests and employees alike.
This looks pretty exhaustive to me, and as a significant cog of the travel industry, I’m sure hotels will go above and beyond to protect their guests and their staff from exposure to the new Virus. Having said that, I do hope this works in practice, and I am seriously considering heading to a hotel to check this out for myself when I can.
What do you think of the new hotel cleaning protocols from Accor? Will they convince you to stay again in the coming days with this?
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