As hotels respond to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic by partially or completely shutting down their operations to guests, proper steps need to be followed to make sure that the shutdown is effective, well-documented, and is easily reversible when travel starts to return.
Effective shutdowns prepare the hotel for dormancy by ensuring that physical assets are protected against decay, the property is safe, cost reduction goals are achieved, and the entire infrastructure remains in a state of readiness to be brought back online. Effective reopenings keep guests and staff safe in a functioning property.
Reopenings can only happen effectively if a hotel was properly closed. Whether you’re a seasoned hotel operator, have experience opening hotels, or are in completely unchartered waters, here are our recommendations for the top ten hotel checklists you need to efficiently run a hotel.
Guest Room Checklists
While there are many components of a hotel that are important (guest service, amenities, location, etc.), at the end of the day, having clean, functional, and aesthetically pleasing rooms for your guests fulfills the core function of a hotel. Taking a room out of order, or bringing it back into service, is a task that requires diligence, attention to detail and detailed documentation. Take care of your hotel rooms when closing and reopening with the following hotel housekeeping checklists:
Taking a Room Out of Order
A hotel checklist of this nature is meant to remove a room from inventory completely, in a semi-permanent way. This process is typically needed when a room will be out of service for several weeks or more.
The result of this set of checks will make it as if the room is no longer part of this hotel until it is brought back in service. This multi-section checklist covers everything from linen removal to altering a room’s status with an online travel agent. A few of the sections are as follows:
- General room checks
- Shutting down the water
- Unplugging unneeded electrical items
- Checking systems: removing from PMS, checking non-integrated OTA, etc.
Returning a Room to Service
As travel begins to return around the world, hotels are slowly starting to bring individual rooms back into service. Between taking a room out of service and bringing it back again, any number of scenarios, including staffing changes or permanent hotel changes may have occurred. Bring a room back to service without missing a step by following a room inspection checklist that addresses everything from replacing batteries in door locks to confirming that content on the television is accessible.
Disinfection checklists are designed to augment existing cleaning checklists. Disinfecting or sanitizing is different from cleaning.
Only EPA Approved Emerging Viral Pathogen or COVID-19 Killing disinfectants should be used. However, It is critical to make sure to use disinfection that accomplishes the task without damaging finishes (Paint, Stain, Chrome, etc.).
Preparing Hotel to Prevent Disease Transmission
Keeping guests and staff safe and preventing the transmission of COVID-19 is a new essential task for hotels. This checklist aims to educate staff and guests about new procedures that will be taken. To achieve this task, hotels must fully educate each team member, as well as follow well-documented and detailed guidelines. A disinfection checklist includes, but is not limited to, the following sections:
- Team training: What do you do if a staff member or guest falls ill?
- Removal of self-service lobby items
- Hand sanitizer stations
- Awareness training signage: Check with your local government for required or recommended documentation, but it may include signs for proper handwashing, proper social distancing, etc.
- Required tracking documentation: In some areas, hotels are required to register with local health and travel authority, and track guest and staff health to be able to provide details in the event of an outbreak.
Disinfecting a Guest Room
Cleaning a hotel guest room has always been an important task. But now, disinfection is more important than ever when turning over a room for a new guest. Room attendants must be fully protected before entering a room, and they also must ensure that they have all of the needed hotel supplies to complete the cleaning, without having to leave and re-enter the room, to reduce potential exposure. Use this checklist to ensure that rooms are disinfected properly and that staff are protected when doing so.
Disinfecting Guest Areas and Welcome Areas
While disinfecting a lobby may look very similar to the process of disinfecting a guest room, it will be done with much more frequency, as more guests and staff are in and out of the lobby. This checklist provides a list of all items in the lobby that need attention, on 30-minute intervals (or at another predetermined interval). High-traffic areas include but are not limited to elevators, fitness centers, vending and ice machines.
Disinfecting the Back of House (Hourly and After Each Shift)
A back of house disinfection checklist is needed to keep staff areas clean. Shared locker rooms and spaces must be regularly disinfected to protect staff. As staff are in and out of these Back of House areas, both while working and during breaks, the possibility of transmission would be high without a proper checklist.
General Property Checklists
Closed Maintenance Check (Weekly and Monthly)
The cadence of these checks is based on a light or caretaker crew and uses these resources efficiently. Hoteliers can complete these checks more frequently, but it is recommended to complete them weekly. Weekly checks include checking rooms and guest areas for water damage or leaks, and checking essential equipment (emergency lighting, water pumps, etc.).
Financial Checks (Temporary Closure and Reopening)
Hotels operate with the help of many third-party vendors and services. Communication with each of them about the status of your property, as well as requests to pause billing or return to service, will be important in maintaining smooth transitions as the status of your hotel changes.
Setting up your hotel’s office to handle related inquiries is important as well. This checklist provides a list of different steps for hotels to take internally, including setting out of office emails and voicemails, as well as a list of service providers to contact.
Turn Operational Expenses Back On
If third-party services have been paused, bringing them back online will be essential before reopening. Return to service or extend suspended service for monthly recurring expenses OpEx (i.e. SaaS or ASP) partners that bill on a per room basis for return of fees to be paid.
Return Areas of a Hotel to Service
As travel returns, it is possible that many properties open floors, wings or buildings one at a time, instead of reopening all areas at once. Make sure that each area has a checklist so that uniform procedures are carried out within each area, regardless of when they open. Items on your checklist may include:
- General Area Checks
- Team Office Set-Up
- Elevators and Stairs
- Vending Machines
- Housekeeping Setups
Soft Opening Guest Checklist
When reopening, it’s great to have a second eye on your property making sure everything is good to go from a guest perspective. If your hotel is having a soft opening, ask your guests or industry partners to fill out a checklist to assess everything from if staff members greeted them, to ensuring that guest room clocks are set to the right time.
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