While they were on temporary hiatus, both of Owensboro’s Hampton Inns were proactive in implementing new protocols that ensure a safe and comfortable experience from before guests arrive until after they leave.
“With our general managers, we imagined what the guest’s experience and what the team member’s experience would be on a typical day, then designed ways to reduce their interactions and any possible cross-exposure from person to person as much as possible,” said Madison Silvert, president of The Malcolm Bryant Corporation. “This is incredibly hard for a business that is designed to meet the needs of others. However, when their greatest need is good health, this separation becomes paramount.”
Silvert said the decision to suspend operations was difficult, but they were able to learn a lot and heavily focus on a return-to-work handbook that was safety- and health-focused — all while the spread of the coronavirus slowed and allowed the economy to slowly reopen.
Silvert said guests are first encouraged to call the hotel and get help signing up for the Hilton Honors program if they have not already done so. This gives guests access to the Hilton app for their phone.
“With this app they are provided the opportunity to use Hilton’s Digital Key, which allows a guest to go straight to their guest room and bypass the front desk altogether,” Silvert said. “If they do visit our front desk, social distancing stickers on the floor will provide them a place to stand 6 feet away from our front desk team member. That team member, after checking them in, will go so far as calling the elevator for the guest to provide a ‘no-touch’ experience.”
Silvert said they are also taking a very different tact toward house cleaning.
“When a guest checks out, nobody goes in that guest’s former room for five days,” he said. “This allows any surface contamination to die out on its own. A housekeeper then thoroughly cleans the room with powerful antiviral cleaning solutions.”
He said special attention is given to high-touch areas such as remote controls, which are then wrapped and sealed.
Once the room is completely sanitized, a special seal is applied to the door which is signed and dated by the housekeeper. The seal isn’t broken until the next guest enters the room, assuring that no potential cross-contamination can take place.
Silvert said hot, free, breakfast is still available but only via room service. Every evening the next morning’s breakfast options are provided to the guest, and they can schedule delivery from 6-9 a.m.
Silvert said guests have already begun to return since both hotels reopened, and he expects their new policies to be a big selling point as more people start to travel again.
“I think as people become more familiar with the great lengths we are going to for our guests and team members, more will come as the summer gets into full swing,” he said. “I think this is particularly true as Hilton begins to fully implement and make people aware of the new StayClean program they have developed with the Mayo Clinic and Lysol. We had guests on our first night, and look forward to serving many more guests in a safe and respectful way.”
Silvert said new safety measures are also being taken by staff. Employees must take temperature checks and answer questionnaires every time they return to the property. They will also wear personal protection equipment at all times, and cleaning schedules have been increased considerably. Employees cannot take breaks together and are on a more staggered schedule so multiple employees do not arrive simultaneously.
“There are many more new protocols we are implementing that a guest may never see, but every change we are making is with the health of everyone in mind,” he said, noting that the new protocols have been implemented at all of their properties. “We would not have opened back up until we believed we were doing everything we reasonably could to operate responsibly.”