Hotels across the country are starting to reopen for business, but guests who show up will face a very different environment.
General managers need to persuade guests that they will be safe staying at their hotels thanks to measures like social-distancing guidelines, checking employees’ temperatures and more intense cleanings, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The Gaylord hotel brand, for instance, is now spending between $10 million and $12 million on new safety procedures. Staffers are encouraging guests to use their phones to check in, and housekeeping services are only available upon request. A maximum of six people can sit at the chain’s 72-inch round banquet tables, and each room includes disinfecting wipes.
The brand is not lowering its room rates, however, as the hotel chain does not want guests to get accustomed to discounts.
The coronavirus pandemic has pummeled the hospitality industry, with hotel occupancy levels in the U.S. plummeting to less than 25 percent in April and more than 5,000 U.S. hotels closing in March and April. About 70 percent of hotel employees have been furloughed or laid off since March, according to the American Hotel & Lodging Association.
Ursula Mendoza, a third-grade teacher who showed up to the Gaylord Texan’s recent reopening with her family, told the Journal she wanted to make their trip to the hotel soon after it reopened.
“I thought if we came early on, it would be before all these people came and contaminated the place,”she said. “I don’t know if it’s silly of me to think that way. But that’s what we thought.” [WSJ] — Eddie Small