As with most aspects of travel since the global pandemic, hotel check-in has changed in many ways and perhaps for good. More hotels are beginning to reopen their doors with new safety measures and various changes to the traditional experience. We have identified the things we advise looking for during your next hotel stay.
Before You Book…
#1 Pick Your Destination Wisely
Even though restrictions are beginning to ease, it may still be in your best interest to avoid destinations that are seeing spikes in COVID-19 cases. There are no guarantees but we recommend that you use your best judgment and conduct enough research to feel comfortable in making your decision.
#2 Choose a Hotel with a Flexible Cancellation Policy
For obvious reasons, this policy has always been important and, arguably, more important nowadays. But, that does not mean all hotels will offer a flexible cancellation policy despite the pandemic. Therefore, make inquiries as to the details of the cancellation policy in order to confirm that they are suitable for your trip if something were to change.
#3 Check Hotel’s Safety & Cleaning Protocol
Review what plans and safety protocols the hotel has in place to protect guests and staff. Many hotels display these procedures on their website but not necessarily. That said, it is worth an extra few minutes searching online or even call the hotel directly in order to better understand.
#4 Call to See what Amenities are Available
As rules are constantly in flux and various aspects of the hotel are ever-changing, get informed by asking the hotel which amenities will be available during your stay. Whether it is due to health or economic factors, some amenities we would normally take for granted, such as a working kitchen and restaurant, may not be available.
During Your Stay…
#5 Request a Room That Has Not Been Occupied for a Couple of Days
For maximum safety from potential coronavirus, ask to stay in a room that has been vacant for at least two to three days. “According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the coronavirus can live on some surfaces, including plastic and stainless steel, for up to 72 hours,” says Dr. Nilsen. Hopefully, the room has been properly sanitized by hotel staff between stays but it is always best to take extra precaution.
#6 Sanitize Your Room Upon Arrival
Pro Tip: Carry a personal pack of sanitary wipes or hand sanitizer and wipe ‘high-touch’ items as soon as you walk in, starting with the door handle. This way, you at least know that you have covered as many items in the room before utilizing it.
#7 Open Your Windows for Ventilation
This is a simple and beneficial act to perform now as anytime. Fresh air is always good and there is not much to say other than enjoy the breeze.
#8 Utilize Touchless Services
Along with touchless check-in, there are other no-contact services which have been in place since the pandemic such as grab-and-go food offerings as opposed to buffet breakfasts. Also, there may be fewer non-critical items (from magazines to robes) in the room so that there are fewer items and surfaces to keep clean.
#9 Avoid Shared Facilities and Common Areas
Even though many hotels have opened their shared facilities, that does not mean it is an ideal time to utilize them. We recommend treating each open facility on a case-by-case basis and use based on your level of comfort. At some hotels, you may even have private access and can schedule times accordingly.
#10 Limit Housekeeping Room Services
If you are looking to avoid unnecessary contact with people, ask to not have a daily housekeeper enter your room, rather, request extra towels or toiletries you think you may need during your entire stay in advance or have them dropped off in front of your door.
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