Health & Travel: Accommodations

As we are thinking and dreaming about travelling, a big part of those dreams are about where we will stay. Now more than ever, people want to know how businesses are managing their staff and other guests. In our current environment, it is commonplace for accommodations to provide easy access to their cancellation, employee, and guest policies. This holds true across the board, regardless of the size or type of accommodation. Everyone is doing it – from national and international hotel chains, Airbnb hosts, lodges, inns and bed & breakfasts. They’re not doing it alone, however. Accommodations are working with local and national health departments and government entities to follow guidelines and keep everyone safe.

What Accommodations Are Doing

The American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) put together the AHLA Safe Stay™ Guest Checklist. AHLA membership includes several large hotel chains such as Marriott, Hilton, Best Western and Vision.

Following AHLA’s announcement in July 2020, many accommodations have made it mandatory for all people, including guests, to wear face masks when they are in any public area inside the facility. This is what Marriott International, CEO, Arne Sorenson, has to say about this policy:

In addition to updated policies, new procedures are in place, some of which will continue beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the silver linings that have come out of this crisis is there will be positive changes that will make travelling safer and cleaner. One example is Hilton’s partnership with the makers of Lysol®. Their global program called Hilton CleanStay with Lysol Protection will introduce a new standard of hotel cleanliness and disinfection.

Cleaning Upgrades

Outside of new policies and procedures, some upgrades visitors can expect to find at accommodations now include:

  • Hand Sanitizer Stations. Installed at most hotel entrances, front desks, elevator banks and meetings spaces.
  • New Cleaning Technologies. Electrostatic sprayers sanitize surfaces and ultraviolet light technology sanitizes guest keys and devices shared by staff.
  • Guest Rooms. Elevated protocols to thoroughly clean all surfaces with hospital-grade disinfectants, and disinfecting wipes in each room for guest use.
  • Mobile Apps. Providing reassurance and distancing options for customers. In many cases mobile devices can be used for check-in, guest room access, and ordering room service.

Adding in the Outdoors

It’s not only inside that changes have been made! Accommodations are creating outdoor and open-air experiences in response that will be permanent offerings going forward. One such example is at the Inns of Aurora, in Aurora, NY. The Inns of Aurora is made up of five distinctive inns. It also has a farm-to-table restaurant, casual pub, village market, wellness & activities center and demonstration kitchen. The Inns now offer outdoor adventures, with over five miles of trails around the property. A new position, the Outdoorsman, is a guide for hire through concierge for fishing or archery lessons and wilderness treks. Alex Schloop, Director of Marketing & Creative Director for the Inns of Aurora said “It was created out of the need to supply an outdoor experience and will now become an ongoing offer at the Inns.”

Archery (left) and Fishing (right) offered at Inns of Aurora in Aurora, NY.
Photo Credit: Inns of Aurora

Even in this virtual world, the thrill of travel only comes through actual physical experiences. So many people are looking forward to when we can all travel freely again. Whether you are dipping your toe in the travel space and enjoying some local getaways, or dreaming of an adventure to a faraway place, travel will resume. There will be a time in the not-so distant future where travel will resume to where it once was, and the accommodations and places we visit will be even better than they were before.