As some areas around the world are coming out of the first phase of COVID-19, others are seeing surges or second spikes of the contagious disease. Globally, there are seemingly ever-changing rules regarding which travelers can or can’t enter an area. Many areas (cities, counties, states, and countries) have placed quarantine restrictions on travelers returning from overseas, coming from areas that are believed to be hot-spots, or simply anyone coming in that is not part of the community ‘bubble’.
In many cases, a quarantine for 14 days is required and breaking isolation rules can result in a hefty fine or even arrest. For many travelers going to restricted areas, quarantining in a hotel might be the only option.
Preparing Your Hotel for Quarantined Guests
Even with changing restrictions and government orders, hotels can take basic steps to prepare their property for guests who are quarantining and to streamline operations. While some hotels require that guests shelter in their hotel rooms, other quarantine hotels offer the option for guests to have more freedom on the hotel property (including outdoor smoking areas or outdoor exercise areas).
In preparation for guests who will need to isolate, additional standard operating procedures (SOPs) and checklists will need to be in place to make sure that guests and team members are protected while adhering to municipal regulations.
These quarantine and isolation specific SOPs and checklists are in addition to the heightened cleaning and sanitization procedures that hoteliers are using to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to maintain the health and safety of guests and staff.
ALICE created more than 200 digital checklists to help hoteliers manage operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about ALICE Checklists.
Welcoming Guests That Are Quarantining In Your Hotel
- If guests are presenting signs of being sick, follow local regulations regarding admission to hotels. According to the CDC, some of the signs include: Fever or chills, Sustained Coughing or Sneezing, Shortness of Breath or difficulty breathing
- Provide additional training for staff on hotel policies and SOPs regarding quarantined guests and guests that have tested positive for COVID-19
- Gather guest ID(s) for confirmation of all guests in room(s)
- Report guests in isolation to local authorities, if required
- Select guest rooms that are distanced from non-quarantine rooms, if possible
- Provide your teams with clear reporting about which guest rooms are occupied and/or under hotel room quarantine on a regular basis, including at daily stand-ups and shift changes
- Consider one-time use keys: If guests are required to stay in their rooms, a single use key should be enough. This way if a guest leaves their room, they have to go to the front desk for an additional key and their movement can be reported to authorities. This may seem harsh, but it is a great way to enforce policies and keep team members and other guests from being infected.
- If necessary, and only if necessary, should Housekeeping employees enter rooms
- Additional personal protective equipment, including protective suits and face shields should be provided to housekeeping staff that has to enter rooms while occupied
- Special accommodations will need to be made available for guests whose rooms are being cleaned, but still need to maintain isolation
- Rooms that had individuals quarantining in them should receive additional cleaning upon check out. If possible, room should be allowed to sit vacant for 72 hours after guest departure prior to cleaning
Communicating With Guests in Quarantine
By far the most important SOP a hotel can manage is its communication with guests. Hotel software such as ALICE’s Guest Messaging enables hoteliers to message guests via email or text before, during, and after their stay.
Be sure to communicate about the following:
- How to access and how to receive Room Service/In-Room Dining
- Steps to take for delivery of external food
- Delivery process for necessities (non-hotel toiletries, medicine)
- Process for leaving the hotel for medical care, including scheduling time and transportation (this may be different for healthy guests vs. guests showing symptoms
- Process to admit medical care professionals to guest room if in-room care is needed
- How to request or rent an insulated cooler or refrigerator, and how to access ice (for rooms without appliances)
- What to do if a room situation requires maintenance (clogged toilet, water issues, broken TV, HVAC, etc.)
- What happens when the isolation period is reached
- What to do if symptoms start to present
- Smoking policy and appropriate areas
- How to check-out out prior to the end of a guest’s quarantine period
Providing Hospitality for Quarantined Guests
In most cases, guests are required to stay in their rooms, with very limited access beyond their rooms except in emergency situations.
Some strategies to deliver great service while keeping people safe are to:
- Place fitness equipment in the room prior to arrival to facilitate exercise so that a guest can use their room to maintain physical health
- Provide disposable or easily sanitized games or puzzles
- Stock rooms with the appropriate amount of towels and other terry for an extended period of time
- Set up well checks via calls, emails or text every two or three days to make sure everyone is doing well
In some areas, guests are only required to isolate themselves at the hotel property - meaning they can use the facilities and amenities at a hotel.
In these cases, guests need to be active participants in keeping everyone else safe.
- Provide extra PPE for guests
- Sanitizing Wipes
- Hand Sanitizer
- Set clear times and pathways\movement flows to allow guest to exercise, including cycling and walking on premises
- Best practices are to schedule blocks of times for guests to safely leave their room so guests have less of a chance of coming in close contact with other guests or staff
- Set and communicate clear rules for
- Guests leaving their rooms and entering common areas
- Temperature screenings
- The use of restaurant or bar facilities
- Interacting with the hotel team
- The use of guest app for location tracking and alerting
Dealing with guests that are forced to quarantine prior to moving freely through an area is becoming increasingly common. Being prepared with good SOPs and checklists are terrific tools to help your property keep everyone safe.
Want to learn more about how ALICE can help your hotel provide exceptional contactless hospitality without sacrificing service in a post COVID-19 environment? Download our eBook today!