Building the New Guest Experience in a Post-Pandemic World
By Nancy Snyder Senior Manager of Hospitality Sales, Legrand North America | May 10, 2020
With state-mandated shelter-in-place and lockdown restrictions, reduced travel options, and corporate work-from-home policies, the hospitality industry has been deeply impacted by COVID-19. However, when the threat of the pandemic passes, we will not be going back to "business as usual."
Even as states lift lockdown restrictions, many companies are remaining "work from home," and reducing business travel with tech leading the way. For example, as of April 16, Facebook Inc. banned gatherings of more than 50 people for its staff of 45,000 through June 2021, including conferences; Microsoft has transitioned its Ignite conference, planned for September, to be online-only. For folks who will be required to travel for work, common workspaces in hotels will be treated with caution, and guest rooms will be highly analyzed for cleanliness -- and this is true for leisure travelers as well.
The definition of the guest experience is changing, and that is not only going to impact how designers design new hotels, but also how hoteliers upgrade their current properties to meet new expectations. Though purse strings are tight for almost everyone right now, hoteliers are going to need to make both immediate and long term changes to properties to accommodate this new set of expectations and ensure guests feel not only comfortable, but safe. The same applies to employees of the hotel as they return to their jobs -- from management to housekeeping to facilities engineers, everyone this industry touches will want to know that measures have been taken to keep safety from the spread of germs top of mind.
I've worked in the hospitality industry for many years and at Legrand, I specialize in ideating and implementing energy-efficient and design-forward solutions for delivering power and light, as well as pioneering Internet of Things (IoT) systems for hotels. Below are a few ideas for hoteliers to consider to appeal to guests in a post-pandemic world.
It is intuitive that guests may feel trepidation about hotel restaurants and bars -- areas where folks are already on high alert for germs. However, coworking spaces and even lobby entrances will be seen with fresh eyes by guests looking for signs that a hotel is clean and hospitable. They will notice if work areas or bar seating is close together, and they may avoid banquettes or plush booths over hardwood or steel chairs, as they are on the lookout for surfaces that are more resistant to germs. Guests will seek streamlined solutions for check-in, ideally with less human contact, as a reaction to social distancing practices.
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