lastminute.com logo

Covid-19: How hotels are keeping guests safe

Jade Perry
lastminute.com team member

Hotels around the world have tried to help their communities during this difficult time. Some, such as Hilton and Meliá Hotels International, offered rooms to healthcare workers for free, while others, such as Orania.Berlin and NH Hotel Group, donated food to those in need.
Now that hotels have reopened, we understand that many of you will have questions about how they will keep you safe during your stay.  

What safety measures have been put in place?

We spoke to our hotel partners to give you an understanding of what can be expected and what measures have been put in place. These measures are explored in more detail below. 

In a survey of 213 hoteliers, lastminute.com found that 97.2% will provide hand sanitiser to customers.

Advanced technology will help staff to disinfect surfaces – Some hotels have taken cleaning responsibilities one step further and are using the latest technology to ensure that you stay healthy. Barceló Group, for example, will disinfect room keys using ultraviolet light technology, while Hilton is looking into the use of electrostatic sprayers to clean surfaces. Electrostatic sprayers use hospital-grade disinfectants recommended by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and WHO (World Health Organization).

Restaurant procedures have been re-examined – Be prepared for restaurant routines to change. Axel Hotels, for example, will be substituting its buffet breakfast with an à la carte menu in all of its hotels. Scandic Hotels, on the other hand, will be offering a takeaway breakfast in some of its locations. We also expect that many hotels will offer disposable menus, separated tables and have scheduled breakfast slots. The more tech-savvy hotels might even have robots. In Hong Kong, we’ve seen L’hotel Group deliver food to rooms with meal-delivery bots.

Social distancing guidelines have been put in place – Social distancing has been a key strategy in minimising the spread of the virus. Hotels are doing all they can to ensure that these guidelines are respected. Some hotels, such as Kempinski, have reduced/rearranged furniture in public areas to enforce social distancing. Accor Hotels (which includes Novotel, Ibis, Pullman and Sofitel hotels) has also placed signs in lobbies to remind everyone of social distancing procedures. 

Guest interactions with hotel staff will be minimised – A lot of hotels have been thinking about reducing face-to-face interactions between guests and staff. RIU Hotels, for example, are encouraging online check-ins and have installed safety screens at reception desks, while Hilton are trialling contactless check-in and check-out with a smartphone app. The app also allows you to open doors using your phone instead of a key card. NH Hotel Group will also ensure that hotel staff have daily health checks and will strictly screen those interacting with guests. 

Some hotels will trial the use of thermographic cameras – While there have been mixed views on the usefulness of these cameras, SHA Wellness Clinic in Spain has installed thermographic cameras to understand who might be affected by the virus. Wynn Resorts in Las Vegas is proposing a similar approach to monitor the health of guests. 

Access to fitness centres will be reduced – Will you be able to use the gym? The answer is: it depends. Some hotels have strict opening hours or time slots, while others will close gym and pool facilities to ensure that you are safe. Rosewood Hotels, for example, has announced that steam rooms, saunas and vitality pools will be closed. RIU Hotels, on the other hand, have promised that pools and jacuzzis will have capacity limits and be cleaned more frequently with the appropriate disinfectant products. Hilton has said that it may limit the number of guests allowed in its fitness centers and it may put time slots in place. It is also looking into having in-room exercise equipment. 

What hygiene measures have been put in place?

New hygiene measures will be an essential part of every hotel's strategy. Here are some of the changes we will see.

Hotels will enhance cleaning and hygiene procedures – The main priority for hotels is to keep you out of harm's way and ensure that all areas you visit are clean. For example, IHG, a large chain which includes many hotel brands such as Holiday InnCrowne Plaza and Indigo Hotels, has promised to disinfect common areas including corridors, lobbies and meeting rooms every 1 to 2 hours and increase the cleaning of light switches, door handles and lift buttons etc. Hilton has promised to place a seal on all guest room doors to reassure you that rooms haven’t been accessed since they were last cleaned. Hyatt has also announced that it will have at least one Hygiene Manager at each of its 900 locations by September. This person will be in charge of ensuring disinfection procedures are being followed.

Advanced technology will help staff to disinfect surfaces – Some hotels will take cleaning responsibilities one step further and use the latest technology to ensure that you stay healthy. Barceló Group, for example, will disinfect room keys using ultraviolet light technology, while Hilton is looking into the use of electrostatic sprayers to clean surfaces. Electrostatic sprayers use hospital-grade disinfectants recommended by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and WHO (World Health Organization).

Guest interactions with hotel staff will be minimised – A lot of hotels have been thinking about reducing face-to-face interactions between guests and staff. RIU Hotels, for example, are encouraging online check-ins and looking into installing safety screens at reception desks, while Hilton are trialling contactless check-in and check-out with its smartphone app. The app also allows you to open doors using your phone instead of a key card. NH Hotel Group will also ensure that hotel staff have daily health checks and will strictly screen those interacting with guests. 

Complimentary hand sanitiser, wipes, gloves and masks will be offered
– You will most likely own at least one of these times already, but many hotels are offering these to ensure that you feel protected during your stay. Hilton will provide stations for disinfectant wipes that you can help yourself to, while Kempinski Hotels will include hand sanitisers and face masks in each room. Employees will also wear gloves and masks for all interactions.

Hotels will launch partnerships to ensure safety standards are being adhered to 
– Various hotels are partnering with health and safety bodies to ensure that everything that can be done to protect you, is being done. Meliá Hotels International have collaborated with Bureau Veritas to ensure that the most rigorous standards are complied with, while Accor and Bureau Veritas have developed a label to certify that safety standards and cleaning protocols are being followed. The label will cover both accommodation and catering. More information about the label will be announced in the coming weeks, but the main thing you need to know is that this label will ensure that you are safe during your stay. 

What are the policies on cancellation?

Many hotels are helping guests out by offering full refunds (even on some non-refundable bookings), waiving cancellation fees and adding options to amend the dates of stay. For example, Hilton, Hyatt, IHG and Radisson are offering flexible cancellation options for stays until June 30th. These hotels have adapted their policies to offer flexibility in these uncertain times to ensure that you are able to cancel any travel plans if you need to.

Travellers' experiences during Covid-19

You could also be interested in

Find your perfect destination

Connect with us