The customer journey (Stage I - From the parking lot to the room - arriving from outside)
Course description & objectives
A current topic, but also an increasingly important planetary concern, this advanced module concerns infectious risks in our hotel and accommodation establishments. In the wake of the sanitary protection measures that were implemented in our establishments following the Covid, many hoteliers are now thinking about prevention and, above all, reassurance. Customers will not be quite the same as before. And even more so the international tourists.
Cleanliness and especially hygiene will become a constant concern. And they will create more challenges for employees, especially for housekeeping staff. During the pandemic, many of these challenges were well highlighted in the various health safety protocols for the hospitality sector. Government agencies provided minimum requirements and employer associations developed guides and best practice advice.
There were all kinds of suggestions on many topics; for example, disinfection protocols for many of our equipment and facilities, i.e., payment terminals, baggage carts, service counters. During the pandemic, it was strongly suggested that common areas be cleaned every two to four hours, i.e., disinfection of lounges, elevators, entrances, reception desks, bathrooms. And the cleaning of rooms only after the clients' stay, not after each night. We see the same challenges for European hoteliers as for us in Quebec and North America: demonstrating how hotel managers are adapting their operations to respond to health changes.
In Quebec, the management of the pandemic is strictly regulated by laws and recommendations for the proper functioning of several sectors of activity. For the hotel sector, detailed recommendations for all hotel departments, such as the valet service policy, restricted access to the kitchen for employees only and the policy of natural ventilation of spaces for 10 to 15 minutes twice a day, have been communicated by the Institut national de santé public du Québec and the CNESST.
In concrete terms, for housekeeping staff, the cleaning methods used since the beginning of the pandemic must be changed. They must be adapted and a Public Health report on cleaning and disinfection of surfaces proposes new instructions to ensure better disinfection and better protection of visitors and hotel staff. These guidelines affect several aspects of the work of housekeeping teams. Measures such as prioritizing wet over dry cleaning, using products recommended by Health Canada, increasing the frequency of cleaning of frequently affected surfaces and machine washing all fabrics at high temperatures. The concern of contagion is not only visible among hotel employees - on whom covid-19 has an effect - but also among visitors. A recent study highlighted the concerns of guests about the risk of contamination.
To reduce these concerns, the authors propose solutions such as extreme cleanliness, which consists of visible cleaning actions, more exhaustive than usual, to reassure customers during their stay and the identification of possible points of contamination in the customer journey. To respond to these challenges and customer fears, some hoteliers have decided to provide more training to staff on hygiene, cleaning and disinfection of surfaces, based on the customer journey, and to inform customers of these new sanitary measures. It is therefore imperative for hotel managers to adapt the management of their hotel to this new reality in order to reassure and give confidence to our customers.