The Case of Rosewood Cottage, Kumasi

by Hotel Rep

A ‘Cottage Hotel’, we call it, because of the fusion of what we perceived: our iconic plant: the Rose flower, and the siting within a conservation of trees and woods; and so, ‘Rosewood Cottage’ was coined.

It is situated on the boundaries of Gyinase/Kyirapatre suburbs, within the Kumasi metropolis. We have been in operation since 2013. The uniqueness of Rosewood Cottage is that it offers to be a model or practice hotel for the development of hospitality professionals and a department of the Presbyterian Centre for Vocational Instructors’ Development (PRECEVID). Rosewood Cottage is a preferred choice for families and small group conferences, classic functions, events and occasions; due to its size of 12- room accommodation, 80-seater conference and a restaurant that takes up to 100 guests, opening to a terrace that oversees a well-manicured lawn of greenness, colour and beauty.

The email message dropped in the first week of March 2020 ‘sorry we need to cancel all our reservations for the year…….’ This was the first shocker! An international group that doubles our occupancy ratios in a particular period and the major booster of our annual budget just went off the radar! It was a big blow indeed.  By mid-March, it was clear that the Coronavirus had become a pandemic as declared by the World Health Organization (WHO). Not too many days after, we experienced what could be described as a global shutdown. There were no inter-country movements which trickled down to local restrictions on movements; the hospitality industry became the hardest hit.

Rosewood Cottage was forced to close down following the ban on restrictions that affected the Greater Kumasi and contingent areas. The whole of April 2020 was considered a compulsory paid leave period for all staff. The most essential service that remained on the ground was the security department. The period was also used to understand what was going on around the world and the devastating effect of the pandemic on businesses and especially the hospitality sector. Contrary to earlier assumptions that the Covid-19 was going to capsize, the term ‘new normal’ emerged as the most trending, suggesting that the world might live with the virus for some time and therefore, there was the need to adopt strategies and follow the approved protocols in mitigating the spread of the virus.

A rebound strategy was therefore necessary as management agreed to resume business on 1st June 2020. The budget for the year was reviewed with considerations for the new supplies to fight the covid-19 pandemic, salary- cuts, price reviews and adjustments on expenditures.

High on the new plan was to focus on training the staff to understand the new era and how it affects operations at the different levels and departments. A 2-week training scheduled began in mid- May to prepare the team for take-off, come 1st June 2020.  The training premised on Covid-19 as a threat to Hotel Security and Safety. We adopted a participatory approach involving the entire staff taking a walk throughout the hotel facility from the main entrance to the end of the block, identifying the different spaces and distinguishing their risk levels; whether high, medium or low in relation to possible infection of the virus and brainstorming the necessary protocols to observe in those places. The discussions that followed from the facility walk already led to a joint development of new operational guidelines and appropriate checklists for the Rosewood Cottage as follow:

SN Identified Space Risk Level Appropriate Protocol
1 Security Post  High
  • Security Persons trained on how to use thermometer guns and communicate results to guests 
  • Dispensers installed for sanitizers
  • Wash- Hand stations created at the gate
  • No nose mask no entry signs put up and checked
  • All these ensured at the security check point
2 Car park Medium
  • Vehicles will  be sprayed with chlorine solution
3 Lawns   Medium
  • There will be disinfection of the whole compound two times in a week
  • Wash –hand stations  created at vantage points
4 Main entrance, lobby High
  • Sanitizer dispensers installed
  • No face masks no entry
  • Doors opened to avoid touch by guests
  • Lobby re-arranged to allow for social distance
  • Sanitizer sprays used on doors and sofas after every 1 hour
5 Front Office High
  • The front desk enclosed with fiber glass
  • A container provided where keys will be dropped and sprayed periodically
  • Space provided for guest to write on Front office staff stand at a prescribed distance
  • Gloves are won for carting of luggage to the rooms
  • A new registration form to get detailed information on where guests have been in the past two weeks
  • Front desk and areas sanitized every 1 hour or within shorter intervals based on activity level
  • Front office start wear nose masks and shields
6 Rooms/Accommodation High
  • Procedures for cleaning rooms relevant
  • Chemicals for cleaning now includes chlorine solution
  • Staff use protective clothing (gloves, nose mask, face shield, sanitizer spray Linen in occupied rooms changed daily
  • Vacant rooms are sanitized daily  
  • TV remotes are sanitized
  • Sockets are sanitized
7 Bar Area High
  • Covers on tables were removed Chairs arranged to allow for social distance
  • Tables and chairs and counter tops sanitized every 1 hour or based on activity level
  • A long holder put on tort glass for portioning of drinks
  • Glass and bar tools sterilized frequently
  • Used glasses washed immediately and sterilized
8 Restaurant Medium
  • Chairs and tables re arranged considering social distancing Table covers are changed after every service
  • Plates and Cutlery sterilized before use
  • Waiter station created Large trays used for service to avoid interactions on the table
  • Bain marine is screened with a glass to avoid food being touched
  • Take away services are encouraged more
9 Kitchen Medium
  • Training on Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), food safety and hygiene protocols enhanced
  • Hair nets are worn
  • Nose masks and face shields
  • Sanitizer dispensers installed
  • Sanitary wash hand basin fixed out of the kitchen
  • Identified good source of purchasing
  • Proper storage procedures adhered to  
10 Laundry Medium
  • All surfaces are sanitized
  • Staff are well protected, gloves, nose mask, shield
  • All items are sun dried if appropriate  
Staff training sessions

A team of health personnel was invited to corroborate and further educate the staff on the Covid-19; the symptoms and how to handle suspected cases.  We did all these to give some assurance to our guests that they will be safe with us.

The countdown activities included a call to all our clients to inform them of our resumption and assured them of the safety measures that have been put in place. The first week of business received an overwhelming patronage and accorded us the opportunity to test our protocols, new guidelines and amend where necessary. To our surprise the guests were not as concerned of their safety and we needed to insist on every protocol especially in terms of social distancing when they came in groups. A recorded announcement on observance of the protocols is played intermittently to alert staff and guests. There is an ongoing review process day after day to ensure the staff is on top!

It is not far-fetched to say that the new dispensation can favor small hotels due to its size as it capitalizes on the offer of small numbers in promoting the Covid-19 protocols on social distancing and ban on large gatherings.

Rosewood Cottage is stepping up its marketing efforts to make the best out of the situation.

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1 comment

Frederick Osei July 31, 2020 - 9:51 am

Worth sharing Professor Ishmael Mensah. Thank you.


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