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    Prioritizing the privacy of guests and providing them with options to exercise, work and eat  in their rooms, among other activities, are some of the recommendations to the hotel and lodging industry in the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

    The reopening of hotels as the economy is activated is one of the most important aspects of the tourism sector in the country. Each hotel has different requirements for its reopening, a topic that was discussed in the webinar “Back to Hospitality: Reframing the guest experience” by Gensler, in which the Costa Rican Ana Ardón, senior associate and global hospitality co-leader for said firm, participated.

    Ardon has worked in hotels for large chains such as Hilton, Marriott and Hyatt. The meeting, moderated by Ray Shick, Global Director of the Gensler Practice Area, was also attended by Tom Ito, Global Director of Hospitality.

    The forum discussed this redesign and the path that hotels and resorts should take to keep their customers, and continue giving them unique experiences. The architecture firm is advising its client portfolio so that, together with the operator, they can prepare in the best way for the reopening.

    The type of hotel or resort and its market (local or international) must be considered. “In this scenario, the hotels will be back, as long as safe conditions are ensured for the staff and the guests,” said Ardón.

    How to do it?

    The path described by Ardón leads to the redesign of the common areas and taking advantage of contactless technology, prioritizing the privacy of the guests and giving several options of activities in the rooms. In addition, hotels and lodges must concentrate on communicating hygiene measures to their customers and providing a healthy, well-lit environment connected to the outside world.

    The first step to consider, which is an operations issue, is related to biosecurity (cleaning, temperature measurement and social distancing). In this new reality, the main spaces to analyze for the intervention are: the entrance to the hotel, lobby and check-in, corridors and rooms, restaurants, meeting rooms, pre-function and dance rooms, exteriors, gyms, spa and wellness.

    To give more options to the client, hotels must digitize their services, this applies to room service, reservations for gym and restaurants, as well as virtual tours for each of the amenities.

    “It should be taken into account that some guests must quarantine in hotels, so they should be offered flexible and pleasant spaces while offering options in the services provided by the hotel,” concluded Ardón.

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