As things have begun to open back up, the hospitality industry has breathed a sigh of relief. It’s nice to welcome guests back to your hotel or resort. However, COVID-19 has brought a lot of changes.
Not only do you have to clean and sanitize your property much more often, but it’s also essential to be mindful of guests’ needs when it comes to social distancing and safety. At the same time, you want to be able to keep your guests safe if there’s an emergency or let them know about important information.
How can you maintain communication in a time when social distancing is the rule of the day? Here are some strategies you can use.
Let guests know what to expect in advance
Your vacation destination may not be able to offer all of the services you normally have available. If that’s the case, you must communicate with your guests ahead of time so they know.
For instance, if the spa won’t be open, you don’t want a customer to arrive looking forward to a massage. If the pool is closed, you could have some very disappointed families on your hands.
Hopefully, you’re able to offer most of your usual amenities. If something isn’t available, make sure that’s noted on your website, social media, in confirmation emails, and other pre-arrival materials.
Take advantage of passive communication
Passive communication doesn’t require a human being to deliver it. For instance, a sign at the front desk is passive communication. When you need to social distance and maintain clear communication, this is a great option.
Use signage in rooms to explain to guests how you are responding to the COVID-19 crisis. You can share your cleaning protocols and let customers know what to expect each day. You can also post this information on your website and in the lobby.
When you use signage to share information, you don’t have to worry about disease concerns. It’s a great way to lay a foundation and build trust.
Encourage guests to keep access to cell phones
A lot of people keep their phones with them no matter where they are or what they’re doing. However, on vacation, your guests might turn phones off or even tuck them away for days at a time.
However, a cell phone is a great way to communicate with someone while maintaining safety and distance. As a result, you may want to encourage your customers to keep their cell phones available for emergencies. There’s no reason a phone should ruin their vacation, but it’s an important way to get information.
Many hotel chains are taking advantage of their existing apps to share information with potential travelers and booked clients. This is a great way to pass along information without interrupting your guests’ relaxation time.
If you don’t have a mobile app for your hotel or resort, now is the time to create one. People are less likely to interact or touch things in public spaces, so an app is a perfect way to stay connected.
Keep communication courteous and professional
Your staff already know how best to talk with your guests, but social distancing may make things more difficult. Set up as many visual cues and barriers between your employees and guests as possible. These can eliminate the need for corrective actions regarding social distancing. Train your employees on how to respond if a guest gets too close or isn’t respecting social distancing. Teach them conflict resolution to help keep the situation calm while explaining the current requirements due to COVID-19.
Communication etiquette in professional situations can already be tricky, but the stress of a global pandemic and new processes can make everyone even tenser. Guests may be rude or make unrealistic demands. Helping your employees develop strategies to deal with this before it happens will keep things calmer for everyone.
Be flexible and adaptable
Recovering from COVID-19 isn’t easy for any industry, especially hospitality. One crucial step to take is to be as flexible as possible with guests. You may need to implement temporary refunds or vouchers and remove non-cancellable packages.
Consider offering new vacation deals focused on shorter trips and guests that are nearby. Promote weekend getaway packages and advertise in cities that are a few hours away by car. You’ll be able to boost your business by appealing to the type of travel that people are most willing to do right now.
Communication during COVID-19 is essential
In uncertain times people want to know exactly what to expect from their vacation hotel or resort. The better you communicate, the more trust you’ll build, and the more likely you are to have guests and even repeat customers.
You’ll have to focus on touchless communication, including signage, apps, and your website. The more you can do to tell guests about safety precautions and your concern for both your customers and employees, the better they will feel about staying with you.
Let guests know about any closures or unavailable services before they arrive. Doing so will prevent disappointment and help keep the stay smooth and enjoyable!
If the coronavirus pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that having a business continuity plan is key. Those few months when everything was uncertain wasn’t just hard for the general public, it was hard for businesses — especially those in the hospitality industry. Your hotel can recover from COVID-19, but it will take time to regain the trust of customers. By communicating clearly and safely, you’ll be well on your way back to normal.