Resorts & Hospitality

Preparing Your Resort for Peak Season in a Coronavirus World

By Bill Rose, President, Resorts Division

luxury umbrella poolsideIt’s hard to know exactly what guests’ expectations are going to be when they arrive at your resort this summer. One thing that’s clear, however, is that cleanliness is going to be a major concern.

Adequately preparing for that involves recruiting enough staff and effectively retraining them to perform their jobs according to a new set of standards.

Recruiting

With summer fast approaching, hopefully you’re beyond a lot of the recruiting obstacles faced by many resorts. However, if you’re still struggling to find employees, consider adopting these strategies to give your recruiting efforts a boost:

  • • Offer employee referral bonuses. Your current team members are the best resource for finding other great workers. Offering a cash bonus for referrals is a great strategy for incentivizing them to help in the recruiting effort. If you do this, be sure to encourage your team members to recruit individuals who believe in and live by the organization’s values.

  • • Have a dedicated recruiter for hourly team members. This is something HHS has done at our facilities and it has helped tremendously. A dedicated recruiter has more time to invest in the recruiting process. They can canvas neighborhoods and be more flexible when scheduling interviews. It may be difficult to do this depending on your situation, but if you’re able to, it’s a powerful way to ensure your recruiting process is consistent and streamlined.

  • • Build a database of job candidates. If you’re operating at a reduced capacity but plan on fully reopening down the road, this is a great way to get ahead in the recruiting and hiring process. Start interviewing people now for positions you will need to fill down the road. Do all of the administrative work ahead of time (interview, background checks, etc.) and put the candidates you’d like to hire in a database. When you’re ready to reopen at full capacity, you have a database full of qualified candidates ready to start right away.

As you onboard your new team members, the next challenge is adequately training them to perform at the level required by new cleanliness standards.

Training (and Retraining) Team Members

Even if every team member you hire has experience in housekeeping or is a prior team member at your resort, they will need to be retrained to know how to properly clean during the COVID-19 pandemic. The following areas are important to emphasize as you train your team members:

  • • Communicate the difference between cleaning versus disinfecting. Many hotels and resorts have implemented the use of sprayers or foggers to “zap” a room with a disinfectant. This isn’t a silver bullet solution. You still have to clean dirt and grime off of high-touch areas in order to adequately disinfect. Read this article on the difference between cleaning and disinfecting to better understand how both of these processes are used to kill viruses and bacteria and create a clean environment.

  • making bed with gloves on• Educate on the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE). To avoid cross contamination, it’s critical your team knows how to properly don and doff PPE according to CDC guidelines. Gloves must be changed frequently, and the same pair of gloves should never be used to clean different rooms. Also make sure to wear different gloves for each section of the room you clean. 

  • • Implement a zone cleaning system. A different cleaning cloth should be used for each zone of the room to avoid cross contamination. It’s best to follow a zone protocol in which you start with the cleanest zone and work your way to the dirtiest one. This means the bathroom is usually cleaned last. When cleaning the bathroom, use a different cleaning cloth for the toilet than the one you use for the sink area. For more information on zone cleaning, see HHS’ Infection Prevention Action Steps.

  • • Set up a training room. When training team members, set up a separate room that you train them in that is not used by guests. This will limit exposure and create a safer environment for training.

Focus on the Guest Experience

The safety of the guests should be your team’s top priority. In addition to carrying out the strict cleaning and disinfecting procedures, you should make the effort to ensure your guests actually feel safe. One way of doing that is to be transparent about the processes your team is implementing.

Educate your team members about the chemicals they’re using and the why behind the strict procedures they’re following. This will equip them to communicate that information to guests if they’re ever asked about their cleaning procedures. If a team member can tell a guest what chemical they’re using and how effective it is, it can make that guest feel much safer and improve their overall experience at the resort.

Recruiting and training team members is always a challenge in the resort industry, but it’s an especially unique challenge this summer. By implementing these strategies, your resort will be able to overcome these challenges and provide a great experience that meets the cleanliness expectations of your guests.