In this blog we review the hotel perspective of hotel’s reopening, but what challenges did hotels face to reopen safely? What has evolved for a guest staying in hotels? And what does the future hold?
A few questions which our Head of Client Services, Mark Dixon discussed on a recent site visit with Annie Brown, General Manager at Macdonald Manchester a 4* hotel in the centre of Manchester.
How would you sum up the re-opening of your venue?
It has been both challenging and rewarding. It has been great to share the excitement with our guests and return to a level of normality, despite the many changes to life in general.
Looking back to before 4th July, what challenges did you face before reopening and did you find the first couple of weeks constantly evolving?
Like many other General Managers and hotels, there was apprehension to overcome. Not fully knowing what expectations there would be and if we had done enough to prepare. The daily questions where to place signage and sanitiser stations to ensure the flow of guests. Both needing to meet social distancing guidelines and also physically worked within the guest’s journey throughout the hotel.
In working with Macdonald Hotels safety partner we had tried to anticipate all, however like many, I am sure, there were aspects that were improved on. As we became more aware of requirements I believe we will continue to evolve.
Remaining able to be proactive and flexible, to the required changes will continue to be essential as guidelines adapt and evolve.
How has the guest experience and journey changed since you have reopened?
The emphasis on sanitising and distancing is clear on entry with appropriate signage and stations in the lobby, lifts, and public areas. Our rooms have had the collateral removed and all menus are now offered online. However, the emphasis on service remains a priority, ensuring our guests feel comfortable with the new normal from the moment they arrive.
Two months on, what has evolved or changed since you opened?
The team are now fully flexible across all areas, which has enabled learning in new areas for all. Safety and cleanliness are at the forefront for both the team and guest’s safety, the feedback is testament to this being achieved at a heightened level. The food on offer has been simplified but still offers variety to cover all diners.
How has your F&B offering evolved since pre-COVID, during the first month and what is planned for the future?
We have started simply, with room service only breakfast hampers, freshly cooked and delivered to the door on a complimentary basis and restaurant dining is by reservation. We expect to continue to move this forward as guidelines change.
What changes will guests see over the coming months as more lockdown restrictions are lifted?
We expect the restaurant and spa to open fully in the coming weeks/months. Meetings and events are also returning albeit with smaller business meetings to start. We have developed new conference menus which we are looking forward to sharing with our conference delegates.
Are you noticing any trends?
Guests expectations are varied; however, it is evident there is a desire to get back to enjoying leisure time, in a safe environment. Weekend ‘staycations’ have been particularly busy, whilst the corporate market is showing a slower return.
Any tips for guests looking to stay at hotels with the new normal?
Expect changes to the previous normal, remember your face mask and enjoy your time away!
To book your next staycation of night away why not use our BVine accommodation tool or for more information on how BVine can support your business needs with corporate travel please contact us firstname.lastname@example.org
Previous BV Review blogs:
“BV Review: the return of conference centres”