Guest Blog by React Mobile – Founded in 2013, React Mobile is a global leader in providing panic button solutions for hotels. Our hospitality safety platform helps hotels keep their employees safe.
The React Mobile system is an open and flexible platform that allows management to deploy response resources to an emergency’s exact location within seconds of an alert, getting help to where it’s needed anywhere on or off the property. In an emergency, quick response times are essential, and React Mobile gives you the tools to react fast.
New safety technology and policies help hoteliers improve how they protect their employees and meet guest expectations for safety and cleanliness.
Before the pandemic, several cities and states were already committed to implementing workplace panic buttons and panic alarms to protect their employees from sexual harassment situations, medical emergencies, and other dangerous situations. Visiting a hotel today, you will immediately notice the new workplace safety and health culture that enhances employee and guest safety with new policies, technologies, and even medical specialists to develop best practices to run a safe hotel operation.
What does employee safety and health programs look like at hotels, resorts, and casinos during a global pandemic? Since each work environment is unique to its location, you will discover various employee and guest safety practices. Earlier this year, React Mobile reached out to veteran hoteliers to learn what they were doing to improve their hotel employee safety and guest safety alike. Our findings cover four main hotel safety topics:
- Safety Training for Hotel Employee
- Leveraging Contactless Technology for Hotels
- New Safety Standards Increases Employee and Guest Confidence
- Expert Medical Team Recommendations
Safety Training for Hotel Employees
In Hawaii, a new safe and healthy workplace culture has been adopted by Prince Resorts with a focus on enhanced safety training. Beyond ensuring employees’ physical work-related injuries, Ryan Doi, Corporate Director of Information Systems at Prince Resorts, shared how the company could provide employees with financial assistance and workers compensation during times when employees are putting their life on the line to welcome back guests.
The Hawaiian hotel company, which operates Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Prince Waikiki, The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort, developed a new two-hour employee safety training program to protect their employees and provide a safe experience for their guests. The safety training session covered best practices in using personal protective equipment (PPE), washing hands, and using new cleaning tools available at their property.
The employees also reviewed new safety guidelines about social distancing and steps to take if they are in emergency situations where an employee or guests need medical assistance. The new injury or illness safety training is a continuous paid training program offered to all employees, available beyond the end of the pandemic to ensure safe work.
Leveraging Contactless Technology for Hotels
On the east coast in Florida, The Gale South Beach (a Hilton Hotel) established more confidence in their employees by operating at a new safety level – contactless technology. As the hotel anticipated enforcing social distancing policies may be difficult, management focused on improving the cleanliness and communication at their property to minimize the risk of spreading the virus.
With cleaning being the top-priorities to help make employees and guests feel safe, the hotel introduced new contactless technology to the property. One of the latest technologies is a Google Nest Hub that runs on Volara’s conversation management platform. The Volara solution extended the hotel’s functionalities to allow a guest to use their voice to make requests without having to interact with the staff.
As an added perk, the guest can use the voice assistant to make phone calls, play movies or music, request hotel services, set alarms, and much more without touching a device in the room. When a guest would request towels by just saying, “Hey Google, bring me more towels,” the system will send the information to ALICE, the hotel’s work order management software.
ALICE then sends that request to the correct department in pair with Kipsu, a text messaging platform to follow up with the guest to ensure their satisfaction with the contactless service. The outcome of employee safety at The Gale South Beach became “the cleanest and safest hotel in Miami,” noted by General Manager, Kevin Waldstein at The Gale South Beach.
New Cleaning Standards Increases Employee and Guest Confidence
Hoteliers are relying on technology to enhance employee safety and making sure their guests feel welcome and safe. Jay Reed, a partner of hospitality advisory firm CIO Suite, states that it’s important for the hospitality industry to motivate their employees to come back to work by having new employee safety programs. Many hotel brands have also set new cleaning and safety standards that add the extra layer of confidence when employees and guests are on the property.
Some of those standards include using new electrostatic sprayers to sanitize surfaces, converting a guest’s smartphone into their room keys, and adding voice-activated technology to rooms. Reed has witnessed as a hospitality consultant that hotel properties that adopt employee safety policies, maintain a high level of cleanliness, and have contactless guest experiences, are more efficient and likely to have higher occupancy.
Expert Medical Team Recommendations
From New York City and in Beverly Hills, SIXTY Hotels reached out to an expert medical team to develop strict policies for each of their properties to help them protect their employees and guests. Chris Horn, VP of Operations at SIXTY Hotels, called the medical team to review their properties by each department, employee interactions and movement throughout the property, equipment storage, number of employees working on a shift, and much more.
Based on all the details, the medical team created a new safety operating procedure for SIXTY Hotels, which has aided in the hotel’s success during these difficult times.
The new operating procedure changed how employees interact with guests, wearing personal protective equipment, disinfection process, and more. The employees are also equipped with a React Mobile employee safety device to call for help during emergencies. Guests who arrive at the hotel must carry their luggage, receive items hung on their door, be provided single-use containers, and have non-essential items removed from rooms to minimize the risk of spreading the virus.
The Future of Employee and Guest Safety for Hoteliers
The hospitality industry continues to bear through the pandemic challenges as cities announce lockdowns from the surge of cases at the end of 2020. Despite some hotels having to close temporarily, many are prepared to operate with confidence as hoteliers have learned how to maintain a cleaner property, work with a smaller team, and reassure their employees and guests of all of the safety initiatives to help keep everyone safe.
Hoteliers have adapted quickly and can rest assured that all the new safety policies and technologies implemented today will shape a more robust employee and guest satisfaction for the long term.