Health and safety protocols have always been at the forefront of importance for my hotels. I am thankful in light of the coronavirus pandemic that my properties are associated with hotel brands that provide the invaluable resources necessary to increase our need for cleanliness to help keep our guests safe.
On April 27, Hilton announced a partnership the makers of Lysol and the Mayo Clinic to define a new standard of hotel cleanliness, elevating hygiene practices from check-in to checkout. All cleaning protocols were reviewed, updated and enhanced. And some new procedures were added to ensure that the environment in which our guests stay is guided by infection prevention and control professional recommendations using hospital-grade cleaning products, as well as the necessary team training.
I recognize as individuals we have the luxury to determine whether or not travel is appropriate given our personal circumstances. I also know that not all businesspeople have the luxury to opt out of travel without risk of losing their livelihood at an already uncertain time. If you are among those individuals, before you book your next hotel stay call ahead and ask these questions to gain some peace of mind:
• Do you seal the door to rooms after thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting between guests, so I know I will be the first person in the room?
• Do you have social distancing requirements in your public areas like lobbies?
• Are you limiting housekeeping visits during stays? If so, and I would like my room cleaned more often, can I request that service?
• Are you sealing the remote control? Do you reseal between guests?
• How have you adjusted your breakfast service to ensure that multiple guests aren’t sharing utensils and that social distancing is enforced?
• Can you send me a copy of your hygiene and cleaning protocol?
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Springfield Business Journal Economic Growth Survey research indicates that consumers have heightened concerns regarding travel. Hygiene on your journey and trust in cleanliness standards are critical to restarting travel.
We are fortunate that our area has not been as hard hit to date as some, so the economic impact of reduced travel and tourism is relatively low. Yet, our hotel and hospitality industry still sustained the most devastating financial period in memory. In Springfield, dozens of groups have canceled their 2020 conventions and conferences, and sporting events and tournaments are all but gone. Business travel is down dramatically and leisure travel, while rebounding, is not to pre-COVID-19 anticipated levels.
I am assured as an industry that we will move forward locally with the wise leadership of Tracy Kimberlin and his staff at the Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau. Alongside our fellow hospitality professionals we will not only recover but arise stronger than ever. Safe travels.
Steve Childers to lead city’s key growth initiatives, including Forward SGF.