Nothing quite sums up the individual and global changes brought on by Covid-19 other than the words of Chris Ardolino, Narsi’s Vice President of Operations:
“Covid impacted our behaviors as human beings. The nature of social distancing and masking up made an indelible mark on human connections. Workplace adaptations caused by shutdowns, such as home and remote work, only contributed to exasperated isolationist behaviors.”
What do these significant changes mean for the hotel guest experience in a post-Covid world? Like many industry professionals, hoteliers must strive for balance. The guest experience must preserve the special face-to-face elements of what it once was while keeping guests safe. A safe and engaging guest experience is not just crucial for your guests; it’s crucial for the health of your business.
As Chris says, “There is something special about a smiling guest service representative, shuttle driver, or housekeeper who asks you about your day or travel that just makes the entire hotel experience so much more than just a bed or amenities.”
Safety Expectations and Guest Experience Post-Covid
Preserving the irreplaceable face-to-face aspects of the guest experience requires hotel leaders to ensure guests that Covid safety practices are in place. “The pandemic has impressed upon our human condition things such as hand sanitizing stations and plexiglass sneeze guards that weren’t as ubiquitous before the pandemic. These are assurances that guests can rely on,” says Chris.
While the pandemic has created permanent changes that require continuous monitoring and adaptation from hoteliers, guest expectations today are virtually the same as their expectations previously. In a pre- and post-Covid world, guests expect a spotlessly clean, well-appointed room with properly functioning appliances and amenities. Just as before, they expect hotels to use the highest degree of cleanliness and sanitation protocols.
Perhaps a slight difference is that the hotel industry is expected to lead the way more than ever in proper use of sanitizers and cleaning equipment. “Narsi has always used hospital grade cleansers and sanitizers and will continue to do so,” adds Chris.
Striking a Balance with Post-Covid Guest Experience
We’re seeing hotels implement all kinds of practices to ensure safety in the guest experience. Some hotels use self-service kiosks to check in, which can improve operational efficiency and reduce contact. Larger hotel brands have made a marketing push for consumers to adopt digital key entry for guests so that guests can use their mobile device and bypass the front desk. While these practices surely reduce the number of contact points, they do limit the hospitality experience which comes with excellent customer service.
For hotels to not only stay afloat, but also thrive in today’s post-Covid world, it’s important the industry doesn’t trade the efficiency and intent of such protocols for reduced customer interactions and services.
To strike that balance between ensuring safety and important face-to-face customer service interactions, Narsi has some recommendations that hotel leaders can consider:
- Incorporate wide open spaces in your designs so that guests and staff can interact in-person safely.
- Equip your team with the most advanced, hospital-grade cleaning supplies, tools, and technology available.
- Keep your hotel smelling fresh, not perfumed. The first thing guests notice when they enter our properties is a clean, fresh scent. It doesn’t smell like flowers or baked goods, it just smells clean, like the air after a summer rain.
These are just a few of the many ways to create a post-covid guest experience that balances safety with exceptional customer service. Smart hoteliers will implement safety protocols that still enable excellent communication between staff and guests—so that both parties stay safe and engaged. When your hotel’s guest experience prioritizes comfort, safety, and well-being in our post-covid world, that will most certainly equate to filling rooms and better business as we all return to a sense of normality in our travels.
About Narsi Properties
Narsi Properties is a private family-owned Hotel Development & Management company based in North Carolina. Founded in 1978 on principles of trust, authenticity, and family, we take pride in our community, guests, and team members as the cornerstones of our company values. Our philosophy of positive reinforcement ensures a comfortable and unique experience for hotel guests, in turn reassuring our investors and stakeholders of our consistent reliability and superior performance.