Hotels around the world have been at the forefront of tackling the Covid-19 pandemic; from adopting physical distancing measures and hygiene practices early on, to providing complimentary personal protection equipment and, with inbound flyers to the U.S. and other countries now required to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test prior to departure, now even offering free on-site Covid testing.
Marriott International launched a Global Cleanliness Council with leading scientists as advisory members to develop the next level of global hospitality cleanliness standards. Furthermore, all Marriott International properties under all Marriott brands in the Caribbean and Latin America (270 properties currently open) have introduced measures to provide safe and convenient testing options for travelers in line with the new CDC requirement, effective Jan. 26, for a negative Covid-19 test taken within three days of entering the U.S.
Melia Hotels International hotels have been transformed to guarantee customer safety through the Stay Safe with Meliá programme, endorsed by Bureau Veritas, specialists in the certification of hygiene, disinfection and quality standards in operational processes. The chain has also created a free Travel Safe with Meliá insurance policy in collaboration with Europ Assistance, providing extensive coverage and medical assistance if any unexpected health event occurs (including Covid-19). Select Melia Hotels International properties throughout Mexico and the Dominican Republic are providing free, on-site antigen tests. Participating properties include the Paradisus Playa Del Carmen, Paradisus Cancun, Paradisus Los Cabos, ME Cabo, Melia Cozumel and Melia Puerto Vallarta in Mexico and the Grand Reserve at Paradisus Palma Real, Paradisus Palma Real, Melia Caribe Beach Resort and Melia Punta Cana Beach Resort in the Dominican Republic.
Hyatt Hotels & Resorts in the Caribbean and Latin America are offering complimentary on-site Covid-19 testing through May 31 for guests traveling to or returning to the U.S. The free tests are available for up to two registered guests per room at 19 participating resorts in the Caribbean, Costa Rica, Mexico and South America. If a guest tests positive and must delay travel to the U.S., Hyatt will extend the guest's stay at participating properties.
We have been impressed by the steps many of our hotel clients have taken to reassure their guests and we salute Marriott, Hyatt and Melia for being ahead of the curve. But with many travelers not aware of all these safety measures, now more than ever, they need support in making sure everyone knows what’s being done to keep them safe.
We searched online to see if the above measures were shown when trying to book a room at these hotels. Only Expedia clearly displayed details such as the free Covid tests, something we believe they should be commended for.
Many of our OTA and metasearch partners have already offered a range of useful new tools to support the hospitality sector to navigate the crisis. We are now asking them to take some further simple steps to enable hotels to showcase additional amenities such as free Covid tests and physical distancing by adding these to a drop-down menu.
Our recent webinar heard from both hoteliers and one global OTA about how the industry is going above and beyond to attract guests through their doors. They’ve not only introduced extensive health, safety and cleanliness regimes but have introduced innovative marketing initiatives, turned to technology to engage new audiences and pivoted their offering to appeal to entirely different markets such as business hot-desks and quarantine hotels.
We are calling on all distribution players to find a quick solution that allows hotels to promote their Covid-safe amenities easily. While hotels are sharing images and adding testing into their online profiles, a quick checkbox would be much more effective at providing this information at a glance.
Our industry has already shown huge grit and resilience during these difficult times. Let’s continue to work together to support each other as we continue on the slow road to recovery. We are urging all Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) and metasearch engines to follow Expedia’s lead and do more to promote the steps hoteliers are taking to keep guests safe.