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OYO Hotels & Homes is rolling out new operational
procedures at its independently-owned UK properties to prepare them for
reopening under timelines announced by the nation’s devolved governments.
Accommodation providers in England could be able to reopen
as early as 4 July with sufficient health and safety measures in place under
the government’s phased approach to lifting lockdown restrictions, but the
devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have not put a
specific date on when these businesses might be able to start accepting guests.
According OYO, the procedures will focus on a “minimal-touch
experience”, enhanced hygiene protocols and accounting for social distancing
guidelines. The Indian firm will introduce a ‘Sanitised Stays’ tag that will be
displayed on online property descriptions, indicating that staff are fully
trained in the new processes and that the hotel has reached a certain
compliance level in implementing them.
The company said the new procedures are intended to reassure
both guests and hotel staff of their safety and wellbeing during the
New protocols include removing excess furniture from lobby
areas to create extra space for physical distancing and to discourage guests
from using communal chairs and sofas; disinfecting items such as room keys and
TV remotes and placing them inside zip-locked bags for guests’ arrival, as well
as providing bags for guests to place dirty towels and used toiletries; asking
staff to refrain from handling guests’ luggage unless there is a particular
need; encouraging the use of lifts by only one family/occupants of the same
room at a time; asking property managers to make use of telephone or video
calls for repair or maintenance issues; the use of online payment links upon
check-out so guests do not have to use cash or card at the property where
possible; and maintaining a stock of hand sanitiser, masks and disposable
gloves for both staff and guests.
In addition, OYO is developing the technology for app-based,
remote check-in to minimise contact with staff, as well as digital key boxes so
guests can collect their key outside their room rather than at reception.
Rishabh Gupta, head of OYO UK and Europe, said: “The ‘new
normal’ that the hotel industry faces in the post-lockdown environment presents
a real set of challenges for small, independent, neighbourhood hotels which
generally operate with limited resources and budgets. OYO is working with our
partners to introduce tailored solutions that balance excellent hygiene with
cost efficiencies, utilising technology as well as practical steps to enable
these valued hotels to remain both attractive and viable.
“Some measures might require the cooperation and goodwill of
guests, or go against the hotelier’s natural instinct to aide the guest at
every juncture, but we’re sure that everyone will understand that these
procedures are being followed for everyone’s wellbeing.”
OYO, which set up its UK business in 2018, has more than 200 small and mid-sized properties under
its brand across the nation, according to the firm.