After deepening our understanding of how we can stay fit, and sane, within the confines of our home, thanks to a plethora of online tools and platforms to assist us through meditation, yoga, strength training, or breathing techniques, the reigns have been put back into our hands – people are far less set on the idea that fitness has to take place within a gym or mindfulness learned on a mat. Instead, there has been a sharp realisation that rejuvenation of one’s mind and strengthening of one’s body can take place anytime and anywhere. Providing the space, curating the right atmosphere, and making available the tools for a guest to do this around the property or in the comforts of their room, easily and at their own pace, is therefore going to be vital in the future.
Public spaces within a hotel, including F&B outlets, washroom facilities, spa & post-treatment spaces, as well as the frequency of the elevators, must be carefully rethought. Going forward, hoteliers must factor in allowing greater distance between seats or standing guests, as well as to instill more natural ways to create spaciousness. Furthermore, we anticipate that it will be appreciated by guests for hotels to have ‘No Phone’ zones within the public spaces, whether that be in designated areas by the pool, library or lounges, making way for spaces fit for relaxation.
We have long felt many check-in processes to be long winded and drawn out, whereby it can feel like the front desk staff are engaging in the repetitive exchange of already known information. This means your waiting time between entering the lobby and accessing your room is increased. But in a post-pandemic environment, this has to change.
Moving as much of this process as realistically possible to the pre-arrival stage, via the booking process and through the authentic exchanges that should take place in the days leading up to a guest arriving is going to be key. This will serve as a valuable opportunity for the team to identify guest preferences: for instance, newspaper choices, special dietary requirements to aid in the gifting of in-room F&B items, as well as noting the purpose of the trip in order to assist in the preparation of making available certain activities for the family or guest experiences for the honeymooners etc.
Likewise, where possible, check-in should not be restricted to the front desk. In a time where the existence of having a lobby space or front desk is being questioned and contactless interactions are favoured, it is time to rethink the check-in process. Check-in should take place in-room, if staff availability permits, or in more comfortable locations around the hotel or outdoor spaces, where a guest can sit spaciously with a refreshment tray, as opposed to lining up or sitting amongst other guests. This is an obvious and much preferred alternative, one that feels more luxury and makes the guest feel more valued. On that note, offering a virtual front desk or concierge service may align better with the needs of guests.
Moreover, moving all transactions to paperless form is better not only for the environment, but also for hygiene reasons, to limit the repeated use of the same pens. Similarly, using electronic devices for a simplified and short check-in is a more efficient means to minimise close human contact. This mindset should continue into investing in new technologies in-room, ones which minimise touch or interception, such as face recognition.
Hotels wanting to take this a step further may even consider challenging the norm and defying the traditional ‘rules’ of hospitality, by removing phone connection points by the bed to discourage exposure to the blue light from mobiles before sleeping, as this is known to hinder sleep quality. Likewise, implementing a more ‘zen’ alarm clock into rooms, one synced to morning meditation or relaxing music to aid starting the day less anxiously compared to waking up to the grating beep of a classic alarm, whilst also eradicating the need to keep one’s phone on the bedside table.