HOTELS are looking to balance hospitality with efforts to meet hygiene and safety standards in the “new normal,” as the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic continues.

Standard health protocols, such as contactless check-in, thermal scanning, physical distancing, and “no mask, no entry” policy, are now being implemented by hotels and other accommodation establishments. Other efforts include increased frequency of cleaning common areas, and extra disinfection of guest rooms.

Global hospitality company Hilton has rolled out Hilton CleanStay, a new standard of hotel cleanliness and sanitation in collaboration with Lysol maker Reckitt Benckiser group. The Mayo Clinic also advised Hilton on training methods, cleaning protocols and quality assurance.

“As the hospitality industry evolves to address travelers’ changing expectations — especially in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic — Hilton CleanStay is the latest evolution of our commitment to providing the peace of mind and confidence our guests need to travel freely, while protecting our Team Members,” Chris Nassetta, President and CEO of Hilton, said in a statement.

Changes in some hotels have started, with Hilton CleanStay implemented across the company’s 18 brands worldwide by mid-July. Lysol products will be used in Hilton properties in the United States and Canada, while Lysol and Dettol will be used in other countries where Hilton has properties.

In the Philippines, hotels are allowed to operate but at 50% operational capacity in areas under a modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), according to the Tourism department. Most parts of the country are under MGCQ, but Metro Manila and some key cities are still in a general community quarantine.

Resorts such as Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar have reopened after being shuttered during the Luzon-wide lockdown that started in mid-March. The heritage resort is located in Bagac, Bataan, which is now under MGCQ.

Under its “Secured Stays at Las Casas” campaign, the 217-room property is hoping its efforts to ensure safety and cleanliness would attract guests. Marivent Resort Hotel, Inc. President Paul Kerr said Las Casas is giving the highest priority to the safety of its guests and employees, and is following stringent health and sanitation guidelines set by the Health and Tourism departments.

Booking platform OYO Hotels & Homes has also introduced “Sanitized Stays,” a badge that will indicate a property meets strict standards for safety, hygiene and protective equipment. Its hotels will go through an initial check, followed by regular checks before getting the Sanitized Stays badge.

OYO is also changing its check-in and check-out procedures to ensure there is only “minimal contact.” Hotel staff will also be trained to conduct health screening and proper disinfection of spaces.

“As a brand committed to offering safe accommodation options, OYO is proactively leading the change in housekeeping and cleanliness protocols within the hospitality industry, across all OYO properties. In this industry, maintaining the trust and confidence of guests is key — and this is reflected in the guest-first approach OYO is taking through our new protocols, in order to provide reassurance and peace of mind to guests,” Ankit Gupta, OYO Hotels & Homes country head for Philippines, said in a statement.

Online hotel management and booking platform RedDoorz introduced “HygienePass,” a cleanliness and sanitation certification program for its properties. It targets to have all of RedDoorz Philippines’ 250 hotels across the country be certified.

The certification process will be in close coordination with RedDoorz’s trainer and consultant for the program, Dr. Renzo Guinto.

“HygienePass is very much in line with current international and national guidelines on infection prevention and control for the accommodations sector. RedDoorz will initiate the development and implementation of the said tech-driven programme and we will both discern COVID-19 response efforts, monitor quarantine and public health safety guidelines, and help these hotels prepare for the reopening of the economy,” Dr. Guinto said.

RedDoorz has developed a “proprietary digital technology solution to help counter the virus spread and to enable key elements of the audit and certification process.” — Cathy Rose A. Garcia