What hotels must do before reopening...

Misting machine spraying hospital grade disinfectants in Palazzo Versace Dubai

The hospitality industry will be changed forever. Not just from a hotel operations perspective, but in terms of asset management, say experts from Drees & Sommer, a European consulting, planning and project management enterprise.

The travel and tourism industry – and as a result the hotel industry – is under immense pressure with many hotels having had to shut down partially or completely, owners and operators suffering immense revenue losses with largely unchanged fixed costs, coupled with uncertainty about future demand for hotel rooms.

Given the expected new legal requirements and hygiene regulations for the travel and tourism industry, hotels will need to develop new operational solutions to position themselves optimally for a restart. Drees & Sommer’s team of experienced consultants have compiled a list of critical considerations to prepare a hotel for operation in the post Covid-19 hospitality era:

• In compliance with new hygiene expectations and regulations, hotels will need to review their property cleaning and sanitisation processes, including the use of UV lights and special medical-grade cleaning materials approved for hotels.

• The use of specific fabrics, furniture, fixtures and amenities in the guest rooms including items such as loose carpets, remote controls, minibars and light switches to ensure a hygienic environment for both staff and guests, should be reconsidered.

• It is important to optimise the flow of fresh and recycled air throughout the property’s air-conditioning system to avoid the spread of viruses that are potentially airborne.

• With digital and contactless services becoming the norm, the hotels should be ready for the digitisation of core operational processes such as check-in and check-out and the use of mobile room keys.

• The property’s operational workflows and study staff and guest movement have to be analysed to optimise space and occupation levels to ensure adherence to social distancing guideline, which are likely to remain in place for the foreseeable future

• Laundry and linen operations as well as garbage disposal protocols have to be re-engineered, the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff and the implementation of sealable laundry and garbage bags should be considered.

• The hotel’s current business model and operating concept should be assessed and possible re-use or repurposing options within the property including alternative rental and lease models for specific spaces should be considered.

Since the beginning of March, Drees & Sommer has had interdisciplinary, cross-professional teams of experts on standby to assist companies and public authorities with the recommissioning of hospitals and repurposing of buildings. The emergency task force consists of clinicians, medical technicians, nursing specialists and hygiene experts as well as engineers, architects and infrastructural facility management specialists, to provide integrated procedures and pooled resources for both the assets’ clinical and logistical processes.