SAFETY OF PEOPLE
This is the second part of our conversation with a Director of Loss Prevention of one of our topmost hotels in Ghana. This article focuses on the role Security departments of hotels are playing, ensuring the safety of people in respect to the coronavirus and hotels.
Across the globe, wherever hotels are bouncing back, and it is no different here in Ghana, the message of hotels follow a trend; reassuring guests and the general public at large of the safety of their respective hotels.
CONVERSATION CONTINUES (Previous Conversation)
HOST: The use of robots may be farfetched in hotel operations in Ghana, but what are your views about ‘Pepper’, the Robot referenced earlier and presented here as a reminder?
GUEST: “Pepper’’ is a very awesome technological development and a breakthrough which can be introduced in the hotel business. In the area of informing guests about the facilities, directions, projecting menus and taking orders, ‘’Pepper” can be an amazing piece of tech. Robots usually make our works easier and complement our efforts.
In the hospitality industry, human relations also play a vital role in its sustenance. Having that personal connection or association with a specific hotel brand, feeling welcome and at home, usually depends on how the hotel guests are being treated by the hotel staffs.
Automating this kind of coordination is likely to make responding to cues a difficult thing.
HOST: I guess we are a long way off in utilizing the kinds and likenesses of ‘Pepper’!
From 2015 thereabouts, there has been several attacks on luxury hotels in Africa, resulting in high death tolls and destruction of valuable property. Burkina Faso, Egypt, Libya, Mali and Tunisia, among other countries, have all witnessed deadly terrorist attacks, targeting hotels. I think that was about the period I observed enhanced security operations in our big hotels; particularly at their main entrances, and that has remained since then. Today, the security seems to be fighting an invisible ‘intruder’, the coronavirus. Why should hotel security be handling a health concern?
GUEST: The Noro viral pandemic is a global phenomenon without any specific target, selection or respect to anybody.
It rests on each and every one to play a vital role to curb the spread of it and limit the frequency of infected by it.
Since the virus is carried by humans and it is spread from one person to another, it has become necessary that as stated earlier on, all access controlled by the security ensures people conform to the preventive measures laid down by the World Health Organization.
The contribution of security personnel is to ensure people have their masks on, sanitize and or wash their hands under running water before entering premises as well as take the temperatures of people seeking to access buildings.
These are just but a few activities performed by security to contribute to help prevent the spread of the disease.
Security personnel are not alone in the fight, major of it lies on our health workers and the government as a whole.
HOST: The people who enter hotels are of varied categories (in-house guests, visitors, day users, and employees of the hotel), with some walking and others using their vehicles or some form of transportation through the main hotel entrance. As a new normal practice, should we expect all those entering the premises have their temperatures taken aside from ensuring they are wearing their face masks?
GUEST: Yes; at every point of entry there should be a security guard station to manage and control access. That is why it seems security is handling this health concern and yes, it is part of our duty requirements now to take temperatures with the temperature guns and take the corrective measures when situations appear to be abnormal.
HOST: Before entering their respective hotels, I am assuming all staff will be required to check their temperature and /or undergo a health check as well. Security personnel confined to the entrance of a hotel may however overlook some protocols themselves. Should a Guest or Visitor to a hotel observe security personnel not wearing masks upon entering a hotel, who does the guest complain to?
GUEST: The guest or visitor can request to speak to the security supervisor or manager or any superior he or she finds at the lobby. The same can be reported at the front desk for corrective action to be taken.
HOST: Health and hygiene reminders are expected to be posted throughout the property, including physical distancing and the proper way to wear, handle and dispose of masks. Should we expect security personnel to be ‘policing’ guests and visitors to check if these policies are being adhered to?
GUEST: Well it boils on security personnel to ensure rules and regulations are abided by. As stated earlier that every hotel worker is a security,(to provide link to cont.2a) it is therefore everyone’s responsibility and collective effort to ensure everyone is in his or her mask.
HOST: Apart from signages placed at hotel lobbies reminding everyone to maintain physical distance protocols of at least 6 feet, should we expect up-market hotels give out complimentary masks and hand sanitizers to their guests?
GUEST: In our hotel for instance, we have hand sanitizers placed at vantage points all over the property; in-house guests are given sanitizers in their rooms as well.
The hotel does provide masks to those who genuinely have not, but firmly ensures the ‘’no mask no entry” policy.
HOST: There is usually a high degree of interaction among guests and hotel workers; the processes of checking-in and checking out guests, food and beverage service, cleaning activities etc. In hotels, these interactions involve guest-guest, guest-staff, and staff-staff. What are the COVID-19 protocols which should generally be observed by all personnel (in relation to being hospitable to guests and ensuring effective communication among staff) in particular?
GUEST: As we all know the mode of spread of the virus, it is necessary to keep the distance while interacting with guests or staffs, keep nose masks on, avoid handshaking and hugging and also to make sure we report any symptoms of cough, shortness of breath, fever or high temperature above 38 Degrees Celsius and loss or change of sense of smell or taste.
HOST: How are guest luggage sanitized or is it done manually?
GUEST: It is usually done manually, must ensure cleaning is done on the outside before the inside and properly dried.
HOST: Can you clarify how this is done? Is security responsible for sanitizing the guest luggage?
GUEST: Security’s duty in the arrival process/check-in, is to make sure all guests go through the COVID protocols – Temperature check, sanitizing hands and guest luggage. Guest luggage is sanitized by either using spray type of sanitizer or passing the luggage through specially designed equipment for luggage sanitizing.
HOST: Alright. Thank you. What other new normal practices should guests expect in large up-market hotels?
GUEST: Well, the hospitality industry is one of the industries that has been adversely affected by the pandemic; in and around the world, guests should not expect to see large groups of people in a particular hotel as compared to previous years.
There may not be much interpersonal engagement between guests and staffs, distancing has also become the norm,
Certain services provided by the hotel may also not be available.
Let us do well to cope and abide by the protocols.
HOST: Kindly give examples of hotel services you anticipate may no longer be available.
GUEST: Most hotels, for example, in the housekeeping section clean rooms on a daily basis, but with the current situation, most hotels are offering self-cleaning or cleaning rooms at two days intervals.
HOST: Would you think the use of the swimming pool and gym for instance, will be suspended in hotels?
GUEST: Yes, most hotels have now restricted or limited access to the pool to only in-house guests because of the pandemic.
HOST: Thank you so much for your time and keeping us abreast with what is going on in our big hotels.