My travel plans have been tremendously affected due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. Like everyone else, I had to stay locked down in my home. The fear of constant risk of contracting a virus is still real and that there’s no vaccine yet just aggravate the feeling. There’s virtually no one who is not affected by this pandemic, and that includes me as well.
As nothing seems to be stopping this pandemic, the business as usual has slowly started to come back on track. About a week ago, I happened to travel to houston on a business trip. With lives trying to come back to normal, I could see people started travelling – which I think has again given a ray of positivity to the hotels and the hospitality industry. Ever since the nations announced that the lockdown will be relaxed and gradually taken down, the Scrubbed Clean hotels in Houston started to prepare for the new normal. I experienced this first hand when I stepped out of the house for a business trip recently.
I stayed at OYO Hotel near Near NRG Stadium, Houston. To say the least, they have fully geared up to welcome their guests with the best safety protocols.
This is what I truly experienced during my recent visit to houston. I stayed at the hotel for three nights. I could see that the hotel staff were taking up activities right from disinfecting the premises repeatedly, to keeping sanitizers, masks and PPE kits handy, they were leaving no stone unturned to ensure utmost safety of their guests as well as the staff. Measures like social distancing and minimum-touch policies were in place. Emerging from the stasis of months of closure, even my budget-friendly hotel was also coming up with a strict hygiene regime.
I’d prefer budget hotels during my business trips. This time when I picked a best rated hotel for accommodation, I got a firsthand look at what it was like to stay in such hotels in the middle of a pandemic. I observed that my hotel was putting all their efforts in a bid to serve their guests with the best possible services. They are taking serious measures to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission to their employees and guests.
Here are some of the preventative measures that I found being adopted by these budget-friendly hotels to ensure the safety of guests like me.
# 1. Adjustment in Policies
In wake of these testing times, my hotel had adjusted its policies to help provide me the required peace of mind. The hotel I visited had already informed me about the change in their reservation, cancellation, and room services. Unlike, pre-COVID times even the hotel staff seemed to have reduced it to minimum. There were displayed guidelines, provisions to ensure less interaction and physical contact between peers. Also, the hotel operations seemed to have received a systematic change for enhanced safety of staff.
# 2. Contactless Check-ins
There was no one to greet me at the time of check-in. Considering the demand of the situation, there is a considerable change in check-in process. There were no front desk formalities. Everything was completely swapped with contactless procedure. My check-in looked like social distancing decals, mandatory face masks, hand sanitizing stations, partitioned or no front desk. Also, I had to undergo frequent temperature checks right from the time I entered the hotel premises. There was no reception area furniture, and the other hotel that had ensured it to be arranged in a physically distanced manner.
# 3. Enhanced Cleaning Protocol
Recognizing the need of the hour, where everyone must feel safe and protected, my hotels had also incorporated demanding cleaning standards.
As I headed from the reception area to my room, I observed that there was frequent disinfecting and deep cleaning of touchpoints such as elevator buttons, light switches, TV remotes, thermostats, and doorknobs. The house keeping staff was so thorough that I appeared like it was a mandate for them. Here are additional cleaning protocols that I saw:
- Housekeeping employees wearing PPE kits, hand gloves and mask 24*7
- Monitored handwashing for employees.
- Deep cleaning of bedroom, bathroom, linens before my check-in.
# 4. Decreased Capacity
As per the new protocols implemented, I saw that OYO’s budget hotel I visited had reduced their guests’ capacity. Unlike previously when cheap hotels used to allow more guests per room, now the occupancy has been limited. There were only a few rooms left because the hotel considered keeping rooms vacant for a few days between the guests.
This was definitely a weird experience for me. I could see there were a lot of major changes have been prompted considering the seriousness of the situation. But hopefully, even the low-budget hotels are doing a lot to keep their guests and employees protected during COVID-19. Ultimately, during my stay, I should say I felt incredibly safe. Thus, even the pandemic is not restricting the hotels from serving their guests in the best way possible.
We are happy to present this collaborative post to offer valuable information to our readers.