Management has developed Deutsche Hospitality’s corona exit strategy by drawing up and piloting various scenarios. “We have spent the last few weeks undertaking targeted preparations for the moment when we would be permitted to reopen our hotels,” explained Thomas Willms, CEO, Deutsche Hospitality. “This crisis is bringing rapid changes in its wake, and the consequences of these changes are often cumulative. We have created internal working groups that have been cooperating with other companies, governments and associations via a series of conference video calls with a view to coming up with workable solutions.”
The new guidelines introduced by Deutsche Hospitality stipulate the revision and adaptation of all hygiene and disinfection measures, specific training for every member of staff and regular checks and monitoring of the measures put in place. Two key points are more frequent cleaning and disinfection and social distancing rules in public areas. Further measures include the fitting of perspex screens at reception, proactive guest information and the disinfection of room keys and cards.
Once the hotels reopen, the number one priority will be to implement and ensure compliance with the hygiene standards and social distancing regulations. Guests will be issued with face masks free of charge upon request, and protective mouth and nose coverings will be mandatory for both guests and staff in all public areas of the hotel and in restaurants. Breakfast will be served either à la carte or on a takeaway basis. There will be no morning buffet to begin with. The total number of tables in the restaurants will be reduced in order to maintain a distance of 1.5 metres between tables. Only guests who are sharing a hotel room will be permitted occupy the same table. Breakfast and restaurant opening times will be adjusted in accordance with the volume of guests and will then be expanded as required. More use will be made of facilities where no contact is involved, such as room service.
All public areas will be disinfected hourly. Lift capacity will be limited to two persons at any one time (except for families), and sanitiser dispensers have already been installed at all main touch points. Reception staff will work on a non-contact basis behind dividing partitions. Payments will be cashless wherever possible. Articles such as magazines, writing utensils, tablets, decorative cushions and blankets have been removed from rooms until further notice. Surfaces in guest rooms which are occupied will be wiped down with disinfectant every single day.
Some of Deutsche Hospitality’s hotels, such as the Steigenberger Hotel am Kanzleramt in Berlin and the Steigenberger Airport Hotel Frankfurt, have remained open even during lockdown in order to accommodate key workers, crisis team members and guests undertaking urgent business travel. This has enabled the company to develop new hygiene standards over the past weeks, and these have now been added to a catalogue of measures which was already very comprehensive. The stipulations and recommendations provided by government bodies and experts have been flexibly adjusted on an ongoing basis. “The staff at Deutsche Hospitality are very much looking forward to welcoming guests again,” Thomas Willms went on. “We are doing our utmost to ensure that you will enjoy the highest possible level of safety and comfort when you stay at our hotels.”
Deutsche Hospitality will begin by reopening several IntercityHotels on 11 May, for example in Darmstadt, Erfurt, Mainz, Nuremberg, Duisburg and Kiel. This will be followed on 25 May by the reopening of selected hotels of the brands Steigenberger Hotels & Resorts and MAXX by Steigenberger. These include the Steigenberger Parkhotel in Düsseldorf, the Steigenberger Grandhotel & Spa Petersberg, the Steigenberger Hotel de Saxe in Dresden, the Steigenberger Grandhotel Handelshof in Leipzig, the Steigenberger Hotel Munich, the Steigenberger Resorts on the Baltic Sea in Zingst and Heringsdorf as well as MAXX by Steigenberger Sanssouci Potsdam. At Whitsun, Jaz in the City Stuttgart will follow. The Zleep Hotels in Scandinavia have been available to guests throughout the past weeks.
As the hotels reopen, plans are also being launched to celebrate a true milestone birthday. Steigenberger Hotels & Resorts, Germany’s best-known hotel brand, will mark its 90th anniversary in the autumn. “We are part of a tradition of German hospitality which stretches a long way back into the past,” explained Thomas Willms. “Nowadays, the name Steigenberger represents the epitome of luxury and perfect hospitality for guests the world over.”