Rebuilding traveler confidence in travel is one of the prerequisites for maintaining their loyalty to the hotel. When the travelers’ behavior and demands change, hotels also need to quickly take a grasp of these changes and come up with timely policies to keep guests staying with their brands.
For travelers, booking flexibility is no longer a perk but has become a prerequisite expectation in making accommodation choices. In addition, the acceleration of contactless technologies and experience personalization will also strengthen the confidence of travelers when choosing a hotel for their trip. To respond to new changes in travel demand, hotels need to provide the necessary information, ensure health and safety regulations, and develop flexible cancellation policies.
To ensure guests’ well-being, Accor has implemented the ALLSAFE Cleanliness and Prevention Label to increase its hygiene standards to the next level. This is a program that converges some of the most stringent cleaning standards and requires the strictest operational protocols in the hospitality industry.
In addition, Accor allows guests who book a non-flexible rate until June 30, 2021 to modify their reservation for a later date without any modification fees subject to availability and applicable rates and conditions. Furthermore, Accor also assists guests by issuing a credit voucher for a full amount of the original booking value for use at a future date all at once or over several occasions at the same hotel within 18 months of the voucher issue date. Especially, in the event that the guest’s hotel is closed or cannot be opened to accommodate guests due to the government’s lockdown orders at the date of their stay, guests can cancel their reservation free of charge and receive a full refund.
At all of its properties, Hilton ensures that its employees wear face masks at all times and practice social distancing in accordance with local health authority regulations besides modifying certain services and amenities, including temporarily simplified breakfast services at select brands, during guests’ stay to ensure their privacy and safety. Hilton has also launched the IHG Clean Promise program globally to raise the hygiene standards that are available in hotels by world-class experts and apply scientific practices to ensure that it meets the expectations of guests in the new era of the hospitality industry.
For the convenience of guests during this sensitive time, all Hilton hotels will allow guests to change or cancel their reservations with absolute flexibility, without incurring any additional charges at all. Most Hilton hotels even allow guests to change or cancel up to 24 hours prior to the original arrival date.
Marriott has an extremely detailed description of the hygiene and safety practices that the hotel group takes across its properties. In addition to standard measures such as wearing face masks or disinfecting with hospital-grade disinfectants in the common area, Marriott also ensures to remove or rearrange furniture to create more space for social distance, and set up hand sanitizing stations around Marriott’s hotels where there are a lot of direct contacts like near the entrances and front desks, elevator banks and fitness and meeting spaces. Moreover, Marriott is constantly updating new recommendations from competent authorities on disinfection and sanitation to adjust its current operational practices and designing new approaches to buffets.
Regarding supporting flexibility in booking, the hotel group allows guests with existing reservations made before July 6, 2020 for any future arrival date to change the time or cancel at no charge up to 24 hours before the scheduled arrival date. However, Marriott also notes that in the event of a difference in room rates at two different dates, the guests will be responsible for the difference. For guests making new reservations for arrival dates or after April 1, 2021, flexible policies will apply according to each hotel’s current regulations on cancellation policies.
To help keep its guests safe while staying at Hyatt, the brand launched the Global Care & Cleanliness Commitment initiative, a program that includes international cleanliness and training accreditation processes for all staff at any Hyatt hotel.
Hyatt also actively updates regulations on hygiene and safety for guests in addition to regulations on wearing masks in common areas and limiting physical contact. In addition, Hyatt also has a number of options that are personalized to each guest group such as guests with medical conditions, guests consuming food or beverages in restaurants, guests who are seated outdoors and socially distant, meetings and events guests who are seated and socially distant, and children under the age of two.
Different from the hospitality giants above, Hyatt even provides complimentary on-property Covid-19 testing. Accordingly, all 19 Hyatt resorts in Latin America, including Mexico, Costa Rica, the Caribbean and South America, will allow up to two registered guests per room per stay to undergo either rapid antigen or RT-PCR tests, which are approved by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, these guests must stay in each resort for the minimum length of time which varies per property to receive this free testing offer. If their stay is not applicable, guests may purchase additional on-property tests for a fee.
Finally, hotels are extending a Travel Delay Rate to guests who cannot complete their travel due to test-related reasons, representing up to a 50% savings on standard rates. However, this Travel Dalay Rate program is not applicable for Hyatt Ziva and Hyatt Zilara hotels.