Although big events might not be safe enough quite yet due to the pandemic, it won’t be long before they return. When they do, hotel leaders must be ready to impress as event organizers are likely more discerning than ever.
Organizers and planners will expect gatherings to be safe, pristine, and comfortable. As long as attendance — and coveted registration fees — are on the line, they won’t accept anything less. Of course, facility managers and hotel operators instinctively know that event organizers will shop around and pick the best places to hold their events when conferences restart.
Consequently, facility managers have a healthy runway to perfect their cleaning procedures so they’ll be ready when throngs descend upon their breakout rooms and ballrooms again.
Planning for post-pandemic event challenges
With this in mind, hotel facility managers need to identify their cleaning challenges and create solutions now. For one, cleaning up after attendees and taking care of messes or spills immediately after they occur isn’t always easy during gatherings. Trying to clean busy areas thoroughly can be a difficult, disruptive task. Yet performing after-hours cleanings might not be good enough — particularly if many people are meandering and spreading around messes during big events. Hundreds of shoes could be grinding soil and spills into the floor material with every passing hour.
This leads to a secondary challenge: cleaning rhythms. During a typical large event like a conference, attendees will expect to socialize at-will. They’ll want to congregate in some areas on their way to others. Determining how best to arrange an intuitive cleaning pattern may depend upon the type of event as well as other factors.
For example, at trade shows, the problem might be easily remedied. Some trade shows can be sectioned off for casual, quick cleans. Nevertheless, keeping up with cleaning, disinfecting, and upkeep remains tough during normal times. After a global pandemic, finding the downtime to spruce up a room or hallway can be more difficult. These challenges, however, can be alleviated with professional and pragmatic planning.
Solving top cleaning issues for large-scale corporate events and conventions
Facility managers who can develop and execute effective cleaning, sanitizing, and beautifying protocols will find themselves helping their hotels solidify their credibility — and earn profits. Start with these steps:
Develop transparency around cleaning
Communication about every aspect of cleaning will be hugely important to event organizers and participants. Facility managers should do their best to explain what’s being cleaned and when, and perhaps even outline the types of services and products they use. Patrons will want to know that all surfaces, from floors to countertops, are being addressed regularly.
This type of information should also be clearly outlined in any contract documents with event planners so that they understand that sanitation is a high priority for the hotel. Before, during, and even after a trade show or conference, facility managers should give organizers documents explaining what cleaning will be done, is being done, and has been done.
Create an intuitive cleaning flowchart
Mapping out alternate utilizations of ballrooms, conference rooms, and common areas will help facility managers determine how best to create a rolling cleaning routine. At huge gatherings, facility managers may also want to suggest that event organizers put guests into predesignated groups. This helps keep the groups moving together throughout the day, which can be useful for cleaning.
For example, Group A might receive a message that it’s time to eat lunch in a special area. After Group A finishes, the in-house cleaning crew could take time to clean and disinfect the same area before Group B gets a “time to eat” alert. Though this kind of structured, staggered flow may seem unusual to attendees initially, they’re likely to find freshly cleaned spaces appealing and appreciate the extra effort.
Make disinfecting a priority
Facility managers will need to emphasize disinfection after the pandemic. Disinfection should involve using an EPA-approved, nontoxic disinfecting agent that’s safe for people and assets. Facility managers will need to educate their in-house cleaning teams on proper disinfectant application as well as removal or reduction of residual chemicals.
It should also be noted that some disinfectants have chemical compositions that can have adverse effects on specific surfaces — particularly carpets and other textiles. Carefully selecting the disinfectant type can help hotel facility managers avoid lasting damage to property assets. If a disinfectant seems too harsh, a less damaging alternative should be found.
The return of large-scale events will come eventually — and hopefully sooner rather than later. Now is the right time for hotel facility managers to get ready. The more you prepare to present sparkling, impressive spaces, the more conferences and conventions you’ll be able to book when the time comes.
About the author
Brian Miller is a business support specialist at milliCare Floor & Textile Care. Since he began his career in the floor and textile care industry in 2007, he has served at various companies across the U.S. in roles ranging from floor technician, technical sales rep, and general manager.