By Frank Wolfe
Do you remember where you were when COVID-19 changed the world? Although it was not until several hours later that it dawned on me that it happened, I was at the Dubai International Airport. It was the typical hurry, bump and for some, shove, of any airport. As I boarded the tram, I was surrounded by a plane full of passengers departing for Iran at a gate close to mine. We were packed in a crowded train car and some were coughing, sneezing and sweating due to the temperature. After arriving at home, the next day’s headline was about all the horrible cases of COVID-19 in Iran. That was how it all became real for me…February 20, 2020.
Two months later, and some areas of the world are finally returning to what will become a new normal. I am not going to waste column inches reminding everyone of what has happened in the last two months. It is fair to say it has been devastating and, suddenly, hospitality must make a transition from offering clean rooms to cleaner rooms, clean restaurants to cleaner restaurants, clean clubs to cleaner clubs and so on. CLEAN is the new buzz word, competitive advantage and the one thing that can propel our enterprises into the future.
As you prepare to ramp up your enterprise and develop strategies to return to the good old days of January and profitability, what are solutions that are currently available, and how can you convince your potential customers doing business with you is not only CLEAN but also safe? Some of these are simple: accelerating your current cleaning practices, cleaning in full view of guests, adding hand sanitizer stations in all public areas and posting signage as to what your enterprise does to maintain a high level of cleanliness. Internally, you could schedule intensive team member training so that they display hygienic practices, work with the cleaning products vendors for ideas to extend cleanliness and even publish in rooms the contact information for a Chief Cleanliness Officer who is on duty to help with any cleanliness issues. You might want to consider door hangars, looped electronic messages or even window clings depending your type of enterprise.
Some of the things we are doing at HFTP, as the producers of HITEC, to help the industry is increasing both education and product exposure to cleaner options and best practices from around the world. Our research teams are already discovering products that have been used in some of the most impacted regions. A few examples of these are disposable sheets, cleaning robots, bacteria resistant products and coatings, temperature scanning for guests, contactless entry, self-sanitizing toilets and more. These will be highlighted through special reports, education sessions and a feature pavilion at HITEC 2020 in San Antonio, Texas, USA, October 26-29, 2020.
Currently our industry has quite a few obstacles that have been caused by this nasty old virus COVID-19. However, like all challenges, hospitality has always adapted and moved forward. The hospitality industry is and always will be a family industry. There is no one more capable of taking care of family than family. Look forward to seeing you IN PERSON at HITEC.