How luxury resorts have cared for their staff in COVID-19
October 19, 2020
Bad staff don’t make for a luxury resort. If your staff are substandard, your hotel is not luxury. Staff make a hotel, they are your most important asset. Your staff don’t just reflect your luxury status, they are your luxury status.
But it has never been more difficult to work in a luxury hotel. The changing demands of 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.
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. Luxury resorts 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, Anantara promised that all “team members have received enhanced COVID-19-related health and safety training”. They also revealed a new policy of Guest Guardians to “ensure the highest level of health and safety compliance at all guest touchpoints.”
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 a luxury resort.
Using Digital Apps
Reassurance is what we all want right now. As a luxury resort, 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 resort, 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. 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 (see how Tewkesbury Park went contactless but kept the magic for each guest). Digital apps provide the possibility for everything from remote check-in and virtual do-not-disturb signs, to the capacity for in-app instant-messaging between staff and guests. This means luxury 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 any luxury resort. 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. At Soneva’s properties in the Maldives, for example, staff are afforded the same COVID-19 testing facilities as guests. Meanwhile, Velas Resorts have implemented a smell test alongside routine temperature tests for staff in a bid to ensure employees are protected.
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 luxury resorts, in particular, to make sure that is addressed. Because a worried staff member, or a fatigued staff member, or a distracted staff member cannot provide luxury service. Only healthy staff can do that.