Gaining guests’ trust is the primary objective of the hospitality industry in the time of a public health crisis. Suffice it to say, it’s not easy to be confident to go out, much less stay in shared spaces, when the possibility of catching a virus that has disrupted lives remains likely.
So how do establishments in this industry work to gain that trust?
“The first thing we had to do was change our mindset,” Resorts World Manila chief operating officer Stephen Reilly said at a virtual press conference. “We’ve been used to adapting to change: our management and our partner hotels are very resilient as we go the next level: RWM 2.0.”
As restrictions are expected to further ease on July 1, putting Metro Manila under modified community quarantine, RWM and its partner hotels in Newport City look forward to welcoming back their guests.
“Hotels will be available when we go to MGCQ state. We are looking at July 1 being open for local bookings,” said Marriott Manila cluster general manager Bruce Winton.
In anticipation of possible delay of reopening, Winton said “if it changes, we’ll adapt” by offering free cancellation and rebooking as well as temporarily waiving penalty fees.
Implementing more stringent safety and sanitation procedures
All seven hotels in RWM property have implemented enhanced cleaning procedures to ensure guests’ safety which could then lead to increased confidence.
International brands Marriott Hotel Manila, Sheraton Manila Hotel, Hilton Manila, Holiday Inn Express Manila (HiEx Manila), soon-to-open Hotel Okura, and homegrown hotels Belmont Hotel Manila and Savoy Hotel Manila account for approximately 3,600 rooms in the Pasay-based integrated resort. Each property has its own brand of enhanced sanitation standard in compliance with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases and World Health Organization guidelines.
Marriott and Sheraton have Global Health Cleanliness Program, Hilton has Clean Stay, HiEx follows Intercontinental Hotel Group’s guidelines for COVID-19 prevention, and Megaworld Hotels’ Savoy and Belmont have Stay Safe programs.
While terminologies and a few details vary, all aforementioned programs basically focus on more rigorous cleaning than usual with the aid of expert hygiene partners. It entails identifying key touchpoints or the most frequently touched surfaces and sanitizing them regularly.
For instance, in every Hilton Manila guest room, a Clean Stay seal is placed in all key areas to assure guests that they are the first person to enter the room.
“When they pick up a telephone or a television remote, a client will wonder who touched them before, so we put a seal around the remote so you know it has been disinfected,” explained Hilton general manager Simon McGrath.
In case you’re wondering what are the 10 identified key touchpoints, these are switches and electronic controls, handles and knobs, major bathroom surfaces, climate control panels, telephones and remote controls, bed and bedding, bath amenities, hard surfaces such as desks and nightstands, closet goods, and in-room food and beverage.
Housekeeping services are also limited. At HiEx, general manager Elpidio Beloso, Jr. said the amount of time housekeeping spends in each guest room would be reduced, and for extended stays, housekeeping would be on “upon request” basis.
To ensure all protocols such as physical distancing and wearing of face masks are followed throughout the RWM property, the Anti-Virus Patrol will be deployed.
“The AVPs will tour the property to remind the staff and guests of our protocol. They will ensure safety but make sure people still enjoy because people go to Resorts World Manila to enjoy,” said Reilly who is a trained AVP as well.
Taking advantage of technology
Digital keys, QR codes, digital payment options, online check-ins, and menus on TV screens are just some of the new innovative solutions in place to promote contactless service and further reduce interaction between guests and staff.
HiEx places emphasis on contactless transactions from check-in to check-out. “Guests will no longer be asked to sign the registration card unless required by local guidance. We are also working on a cashless journey,” said Beloso.
Hilton Manila promotes its digital key, launched two years ago, that can be used to open the door using the guest’s smartphone. How does it work? A guest can book and choose a room online using the Hilton app, and their digital key will be sent to them through the app. In addition, its room service directory and menu have been moved to the TV.
Savoy and Belmont, on the other hand, will soon launch an e-concierge service.
“Megaworld Hotels’ e-concierge is a fully digital app that guests can use for mobile check-ins and check-outs, ordering online from outlets, and addressing concerns in real time,” explained general manager Avinash Menon. The app also offers cashless transactions and online guest feedback.
Offering modified dining options and new services
In addition to transparent acrylic barriers, limited capacity, and enhanced sanitation procedure, restaurants in RWM and partner hotels are promoting pick-up and delivery services. RWM’s in-house delivery service, Delishvery, is now accepting orders for Victoria Harbour Café, Silk Road, Happy 9, and Casa Buenas. Soon it will also cater to Marriott Manila and Hilton Manila.
Savoy and Belmont both launched their pick-up and takeaway services Out of the Box and B on the Go, respectively
Meanwhile, the yet-to-open Hotel Okura Manila offers its exquisite Japanese cuisine for takeout. Sheraton Manila has to-go selections from S Kitchen and Oori.
Sheraton is also opening its property to remote employees, offering a “work from hotel” concept.
Sheraton’s co-working space, CoLab will be the first by the brand in Asia Pacific. It offers one-stop solution for companies and employees looking for a conducive workspace.
“The co-working space is an ample 1,300 square meters,” enthused Sheraton general manager Anna Vergara, “plus you get to work with a view of the airport and have a nice gym, pool, and restaurants a few steps away.”
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