COVID changes hotel industry and guest experience

Hotel room (FILE)
Hotel room (FILE)(WVIR)
Published: Aug. 5, 2021 at 12:02 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - The coronavirus pandemic has brought many changes to the hotel industry and the guest experience.

Many hotels have enhanced their cleaning protocols and are working to limit contact with guests as much as possible. Breakfast buffets may be more of a grab-and-go style, and room service may be left at your door, rather than someone coming inside your room.

While some of the changes may be temporary, like limited access to things like a pool or ice machines, others might be here to stay.

According to AAA, many hotels working to incorporate new technology to give guests a contactless experience.

“This includes the use of web check-in, digital room keys, even voice activated elevators. And the hotel app may integrate into room functions, like lowering or raising your heat and air conditioning,” Debra Calvert, Managing Director of Merchandise and Auto Travel at AAA Club Alliance, said. “Other hotels are providing QR codes that can be scanned to display information about the hotel on your smart device.”

Technology is also being used to test the cleanliness of surfaces in hotels. AAA inspectors are ramping up their efforts, conducting over 25,000 inspections a year, to make sure hotels are doing what they say they’re doing. Moving forward, any hotel that has a AAA Diamond Designation will have to pass the ATP surface test.

The ATP surface test is used in schools, hospitals and restaurants. Inspectors swab test high-touch surfaces, put the swab into a chemical chamber to activate it, then process the sample in a machine. Results show a pass or fail on the machine within five seconds.

“COVID is what’s the hot button today. In the past, it’s been SARS and MERS, E-coli you name a lot of different things that have been there, and we truly believe that having a broad spectrum cleanliness test is the right way to go and will be relevant today and well into the future,” Scott Hammerle, Director of AAA Diamond Program said.

Experts say you can also do your own inspection when you get to your room. Ask yourself if it smells and looks fresh, and they say a good indicator of a clean room is a clean bathroom.

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