How boutique hotels have cared for their staff in COVID-19
November 4, 2020
The happier your staff, the better they will be. A slight cliche maybe, but also a proven fact. And it has never been more important to make sure your staff are happy, because there has rarely been a more difficult time to be a hotel worker.
The changing demands on the hospitality industry enforced by the COVID-19 pandemic have not only led to staff having to work harder, they have also had the added concern of fearing for their own health. As your most important asset, your staff deserve your attention.
The best way to ensure your guests are properly cared for in the post-COVID world is to guarantee your staff are well looked after and happy. If they can be sure of their own safety and confident in how to successfully operate, they can deliver the best quality service to your guests. Here’s how, in 2020, to empower your staff in the best possible way.
Training and Practical Protection
Training your staff properly and giving them all the tools they need to operate safely is not only going to provide your guests with peace of mind, but your employees too.
There are additional costs involved, of course, but put simply, it is unavoidable. And it will pay dividends in the long-term because it is no longer business-as-usual. Boutique hotels have to operate in new ways in order to satisfy customers, and the only way to ensure operations run smoothly is for staff to be properly trained.
In their message to guests upon reopening, Cornwall’s Watergate Bay Hotel made it clear “we’re all in this together”, and outlined the rigorous training their staff had undertaken to ensure everybody’s safety.
This means the implementation of the practical protection that is now ubiquitous—screens, face masks, gloves, etc.—as well as ensuring necessary procedural changes from adapted check-in/check-out systems to enhanced cleaning methods.
These changes are not just in place to protect guests, they protect staff too, and allow them to work with the confidence and personality befitting your hotel.
Using Digital Apps
Reassurance is what we all want right now. As a boutique hotel, it is your responsibility to reassure your guests that everything that could possibly be done to ensure their safety is being done. As the face, heart, and soul of your hotel, your staff need to be reassured of that too.
Unfortunately, reassurance no longer means an arm around the shoulder. In fact, quite the opposite. It means keeping your distance and wearing a mask. And avoiding physical contact. Indeed, 80% of responders to a recent Somo survey said they’d be more likely to stay at a hotel if they could use digital tools to avoid any contact with hotel staff, just like Budock Vean have done. And the same is surely true of staff, who will feel more relaxed the less they have to interact closely with guests.
While that may feel like anti-hospitality, there are digital solutions to help staff and guests still interact effectively. Digital apps provide the possibility for everything from remote check-in and virtual do-not-disturb signs, to in-app messaging between staff and guests for ordering drinks and providing recommendations. This means a personal service can still be provided while guests and staff alike feel reassured.
(Mental) Health Checks
According to recent research carried out by the Royal Society for Public Health, almost two thirds (62%) of hospitality workers said they do not think the hospitality sector takes care of its employees. That is a shocking statistic, and should not be true of your hotel. Your staff deserve the same level of care and attention as your guests, and that’s never been more important.
Supporting your staff in the world of COVID-19 means regularly ensuring they have not contracted the disease. But physical health is only part of the issue. There is significant additional pressure on the mental health of staff working in hotels in the wake of COVID-19, and it is the responsibility of hotels to make sure that is addressed. Because a worried staff member, or a fatigued staff member, or a distracted staff member cannot provide a good service. Only healthy staff can do that.