As hotels had to adjust and recalibrate early on in the pandemic, it looks like they will have to do it again. However, this time, it is for all the right reasons and what they have been longing for—booking guests.
As cities and states in the US are opening up and many have targeted dates, a sense of optimism is surging and hotels are prepping for an influx of clients this summer and beyond. Even though there was a significant amount of travel (mostly within driving distance) last summer, this year will feel much more open. But, as you start planning your getaway and the excitement builds, remember to pack your mask as we are not yet ‘out of the woods’ in regard to the pandemic. Here is what to look for…
From what we know, hotels are filling up fast and it is no surprise. Everyone has been anxiously waiting to come ‘out of their pandemic shells’ and go on vacation as soon as possible. As summer bookings were to be expected, people are also having longer booking windows.
In the past year, bookings for the weekend were known to be completed earlier in the same week, whereas now, people are booking weeks and months ahead as more destinations open up and hotels are welcoming guests again even if at a lower capacity still. Therefore, now is the time to book if you want to secure your reservation for the one place you have been eager to experience
‘Flexible’ with a ‘twist’
In the past year everyone has become accustomed to flexible booking policies whether it is for hotels, airline tickets, or almost anything travel-related. Many hotels and companies are still honoring the policies which were put in place to attract people, at the very least, to reserve a room or ticket but this will not last long as travel incrementally makes its way to ‘normal’ levels and demand increases.
At the same time, the travel industry learned a hard lesson in the past year and will not likely abandon customer-oriented policies but as history has always taught us, people tend to have short-term memory. And, most of us will want to forget about the abrupt lifestyle changes we had to endure once we are back flying around the globe looking for ‘our spot’ on the beach.
Safety still matters
Since everyone knows that locations are opening up that does not mean health and safety protocols will no longer be in place. 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 calling the hotel directly in order to better understand what to expect.
Something seems different
Whether it is newly-annexed outdoor space or a reconfiguration of an existing area, hotels have adapted to health and safety guidelines in order to offer guests continued quality service. We have seen some creative solutions from transforming rooftops to restaurants and terraces or outdoor spaces now supplied with exercise equipment. Additionally and perhaps not as noticeable, is touchless check-in and other no-contact services that 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.
So, when you visit your go-to hotel and see some changes do not be surprised as I am sure you will enjoy them especially since enclosed areas are no longer a welcomed feature and open-air spaces are now a hot commodity. And, we can argue that it is always better to be out in the fresh air.
Kindness goes a long way
Doctors and nurses have been at the frontline of this pandemic and service industry workers were right behind them. Hotel workers, specifically, had to contend with guest turnover and interacting with clientele on a daily basis. Also, many have been let go due to the lack of demand in the past year and may not be employed for some time. Those who managed to weather the economic storm have done so at risk, in many cases, and are working hard to provide you with top-notch service.
That said, please remember to follow hotel health guidelines (even if they require you to continue to wear a mask), be particularly courteous, and when possible be extra generous with gratuities.
For more information on the best hotel destinations for your next trip, HotelsCurated will lead you to find your soon-to-be favorite spot.