MINISTRY OF HEALTH ANNOUNCES "STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES" FOR HOSPITALITY SECTOR

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Standard Operating Procedures For Hospitality Industry


In the continuation of the decision of opening the Hotels and Restaurants across the nation from 8thJune onwards, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has come up with Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the Hospitality industry.


Reduce Physical Contact

As per the guidelines issued by MoHFW, the primary aim is kept at reducing the physical contact between the guests and the hotel staff. 

Also, the SOPs states some general guidelines for the hotel staff members to follow. Usage of all the safety gear, like a face mask, hand gloves, face shield, and sanitizer is a must for all the staff members, who are in direct or indirect contact with the guests. The hotel management should only allow asymptomatic staff members to join the duty, also avoid elderly staff members and pregnant staff members to face the guests directly (should only be deployed for back-office jobs). As per the guidelines issued, the hotel management and other business organizations should avoid calling the workers from containment zones and highly infected areas.

As I have been speaking about the contactless Check-in and Check-out procedures from the very beginning, the same is been spoken in the SOP released by the government. The SOP mandates Hotels to have a contactless process for Check-in and Check-out, I will talk over this in detail later in this post.


Food and Beverage

The guidelines also emphasize on promoting room service and home delivery; however, the buffet meals are also allowed but, social distancing has to be practiced in all the areas. The dine-in facilities should have disposable menus, paper napkins (instead of cloth napkins) and adequate distancing to be maintained in seating arrangements. 


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As increased room service demand will increase the demand for manpower, which will increase cost of operation or cost of the meal (to cover the cost of manpower) and if anything is compromised it will increase complaints, hotels should consider extended hours of restaurant operations, like extended hours for breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffet timings, hotels can also consider the odd-even rule to control the restaurant traffic or use banquet spaces as an additional dining area. Hotels should maintain the air-conditioning temperature between 24–30 degree Celsius in all the public areas, including the restaurants.


Other Facilities

Hotels have to keep the game zone, kids play area, and swimming pool closed (there is no point mentioned for Hotels having rooms with a private pool). 


Contactless Check-in and Check-out

Let’s talk more about contactless Check-in and Check-out; Inform the guest about the Express Check-in and Checkout procedure and ask for the mandatory details by sending the express check-in forms to them in advance to avoid any inconvenience. Try to add this change in procedure in the call scripts and speak with the guests about this while reconfirming the bookings. Taking ETA or expected time of arrival for every guest should be made mandatory, this will help the hotels to prepare the rooms and the other operational requirements like preparing room keys, declaration forms before the guest arrive at the property, this will also help hotels to avoid the rush in the lobby. 


Contactless Payment Procedure

Hotels should adopt contactless payment procedures for room and other incidental expenses. Every hotel should adopt Digital payment, QR-code, and other means of contactless payment options. Taking the payment in advance or after the checkout is totally hotels discretion. If required hotels can ask for advance payments for room and incidental expenses can be collected during checkout or Hotels can also collect advance for extras, but just to remind in this new normal every individual will search for properties with easiest, safest and less restrictive ways of operations, so hotels may decide what procedures they want to follow in this New Normal.


Welcome Experience

Welcome drinks and cold towels will get replaced with hand sanitizer and alcohol wipes, luggage sanitization, and safe distance will be part of the New Normal.


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Along with well cleaned and sanitized rooms, hotels can place a placard with a beautiful welcome note and a note of reassurance to the guest about their safety during the stay at the property. Regarding the room cleaning and sanitization, the SOP says the rooms and other service areas shall be sanitized each time the guest leaves.


In case of Emergency

In case any suspected or positive case noticed or found in the premises, the SOP says to isolate them and the hotel should provide them with required safety gear before a doctor’s service. The entire Hotel premise is mandatory to be disinfected if they find a COVID positive case. The Hotel management should start with training and changing the SOP’s before the actual operations start. They should start with mock drills and also work to set up a special team to handle this situation. Hotel Management should brief the Helpline numbers and emergency instructions to staff and should be part of the daily briefing and meetings.


This will definitely change the way hotels operate but remember these procedures should be followed to assure that the tourism stands back on its feet as early as possible.


HOTEL SOP POST LOCKDOWN

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