Hotels mull changes to adapt to new normal

Lyna Mohamad

With the gradual easing of COVID-19 restrictions, hotels are looking at what needs to be adapted and changed in their daily operations, to ensure both short and long-term survival.

Brunei Association of Hotels (BAH) President Mohd Iswandi bin Maaruf recently addressed the concerns of hotel guests and restaurant patrons who expressed anxiety about going back to their usual hotel dining or weekend retreat.

“For hoteliers, the well-being and health of our guests and staff members are of the utmost importance. With restrictions slowly being lifted, cleaning requirements are now much more specific and frequent, to reassure both our employees and guests,” he said.

“On February 12 this year, BAH issued its hotel members with the General Sanitation and Hygiene Advisory for Premises, to provide existing hotel guests with some peace of mind regarding the standards of hygiene being practised, apart from preventive measures.”

He added that hotels are considering how to implement the new cleaning protocols and allocating the right amount of time for the extra precautions among the housekeeping staff.

Housekeepers are required to clean and sanitise high-touch areas such as lifts, handrails and door handles every one to two hours.

There is also a 24-hour minimum vacancy between hotel room guests, which means that a particular room cannot be reassigned immediately to another guest within 24 hours.

“Although many suppliers are introducing cleaning and hygiene products, most hotels are looking for cost-effective products,” said Mohd Iswandi.

“It is impossible to know exactly what the future will look like for hotels, but what we do know is that it will be different from what we are used to, and we will have to adapt.

“These challenging months have shown us how the hospitality industry can come together in support during a crisis. I believe that by continuing to work together and embracing the tools available, we will be able to define new processes and be better equipped to face the challenges that may lie ahead. Hoteliers are always ready to welcome their returning guests and diners back to their premises,” he said.