Crisis Management

Closing down your hotel in times of COVID-19

The situation for hotels isn't easy. What to consider? How to explain the situation? Find some answers here.

“See you next season” – is something you usually say here in Austria with a smile on your face to your guests leaving at the end of the winter season. You are already thinking about some quiet days, you can complete tasks for which there is no time during peak season, finally go on vacation… but not this year.

Status quo

Within a couple of weeks, or let’s rather say days, the situation in many countries all over the world has changed rapidly due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The hospitality sector takes a very big hit in all of that. Hotels have to close their doors because of government regulations or simply due to the lack of guests. People have to stay at home to minimize social contacts (read our post about ground rules during such a crisis), which results in limited travel, meaning no guests and no income to keep hotels open.

So how to deal with the situation? We recommend checking the pages of your country’s government and hotel associations for updates and regulations. Make sure to take the necessary steps for closing down the hotel. Also you should check out ground rules to avoid an infection.

What to consider when guests are still in the hotel?

  • Reduce physical contact with the guests
  • Do not shake hands with them
  • Inform them to wash hands regularly and hold their distance
  • Disinfect areas that are frequently touched (handles, reception desk, breakfast buffet, elevator buttons, general areas, etc.)
  • Inform the guests about what is going on (morning post, blackboard, posters in general areas)
  • Pay attention to the health of your guests, if they seem to be infected, call the Corona hotline and keep them updated
  • Make sure the guests are returning to their home countries!

How to explain the situation to guests still on arrival? 

Some visitors might have cancelled their stay already, other guests need to be informed that the hotel is closed and that they cannot come. Check out some useful email templates when replying to them here.

Distributing info on all your online channels is definitely a necessity. Write a statement/post for your website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google and any other platforms you are on.

How to explain the situation to your employees?

You as a hotelier are thinking about a lot of challenges right now. Your team as well, they will have a lot of questions like…

  • How do I have to finish everything before the hotel is closing down (hygiene, guests, my tasks, etc.)?
  • When will the hotel be closed?
  • When will the hotel be reopened? 
  • What do I do in the meantime?
  • Will I lose my job?
  • Do I still get paid?
  • Do I have to go on (unpaid) vacation?
  • Will I have a job after the crisis?

Consider all those points, then inform your team in a timely manner and with clear instructions. They need your guidance!

Let’s see where this goes…

So what will happen? When, how? Speculations, estimates, forecasts, but nobody can say for sure when the hotels can be reopened. What we certainly know is that during this time of crisis we have to work together, support each other, be smart, listen, stay calm and stay positive. And as your fellow hotelier colleague & hotelkit CEO Marius Donhauser mentioned: “This crisis will pass and we will come out stronger than ever!” (read his full statement here). 

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