As the world mitigates these unprecedented times in the face of COVID-19, the future is sure to hold some intriguing changes for the hospitality industry. While some traditional high-touch hotel practices like buffet breakfasts and minibars may be put to rest, new and innovative features will take their place.
As hotels ramp up their efforts to reduce the spread of coronavirus, we get a glimpse into what the future of the hospitality industry may look like.
Here are some of the ways in which hotel practices will adapt to a post-COVID-19 future.
In an atmosphere dominated by health and safety, the hotel industry is vigilantly implementing new, extensive safety protocols to inspire consumer confidence and safeguard both guests and employees. As mask requirements have become the norm, hotels are beginning to rethink design with social distancing in mind.
On top of this, hotels are rigorously expanding increased cleaning, hygiene, and sanitation practices to ensure that both travelers and hotel staff feel safe within all habitable spaces within the hotel. Increased transparency is sure to follow down the line as competing hotel chains vie to cultivate health-conscious environments for guests. And the methods in which cleanliness is measured is evolving to comply with hotel compliance laws.
Between lockdowns and self-quarantine around the world, the pandemic has brought in a new era of people with a strong yearning and appreciation for time spent in nature. This cultural phenomenon may very well be reflected in travel culture where thoughtfully designed outdoor spaces at hotels will become a priority to accommodate a balance between safety protocols and guest experiences.
With many business closures around the country, the future of restaurants is shadowing new designs that prioritize contactless solutions and social distancing. As dining continues to evolve, guest hospitality might reflect similar changes. Hotel restaurants will be rethought to accommodate occupancy restrictions with features such as alfresco seating, grab-and-go meals, and plexiglass dividers. Touch-free solutions like scannable QR codes are already starting to replace tangible restaurant menus and compendiums. These changes might even lead to technological innovations like personalized hand-washing stations. Hotel restaurants can embrace this by marketing intimate, personalized experiences, and driving demand by offering “limited” or “priority” reservations at check-in.
It has been long known that hotel rooms can harbor germs and bacteria due to insufficient cleaning between guests. As one of the many room surfaces that is frequently touched but less frequently cleaned, minibars are likely to be excluded from hotels in a post-COVID-19 future. While beloved by guests for their convenience, they have historically been a breeding ground for germs and pose more risk of harm. Alternatively, mini-bars may usher in innovative changes to the kind of service technology featured in guest rooms, such as ordering customized snack amenities that can be delivered upon arrival to the hotel, or apps to order room-service snacks on-demand.
Hotel spas are unique social hubs for guests. They provide an oasis of amenities, from steaming saunas to pools. Spa services are likely to be more limited and more structured than a pre-pandemic world. Many luxuries like facials are likely to pivot toward unique services that require less contact, such as sound healing treatments or spaces created for luxe in-house forest-bathing. Additionally, hotels may begin offering more in-room spa “gift packages” that guests can enjoy during their stay – for individuals and couples! And amenities may also be redesigned to accommodate private spa time for each guest. Spa common areas are likely to be regulated on a first-come, first-served basis so that guests can safely relax at a lower capacity without worrying about social distancing. A private hotel spa all to ourselves? Sign us up!
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