It’s been almost nine weeks since Boris Johnson told us to stay home to protect the NHS and save lives. Forty days since the lockdown transformed our lives overnight. Now the question everyone’s asking is, how will the impact of coronavirus change the world once things return to “normal”?
From the hospitality industry’s point of view, the last month has been a real challenge as hotels, restaurants and bars have remained closed across the UK. Yes, as a hotel manager, you’ll be worried. But you’ll also be preparing yourself for the inevitable demand when people are finally allowed to roam free.
You’ll also know that things might not return to the way they were before – at least, not until they find a vaccine for Covid-19. Even that is uncertain. And there are whispers that “social distancing” will continue long after lockdown ends.
So how do you cope with the “new normal”? None of us yet know. But we may take inspiration from Sweden where restaurants, pubs and cafés have remained open during a more relaxed no-lockdown approach. Over there, restaurants – for example – have had to ensure diners are sat two metres apart from other tables. This approach might form part of future Government guidelines here in the UK.
As a hotel, that will mean a slight adjustment to furniture use and layouts – not just in your hotel’s restaurant or banqueting suite, but everywhere from your reception to your bar area, too. This is where screen dividers might help, reminding guests to respect other people’s space and health. For instance, 360 Divide by Burgess can help keep diners separate in your restaurant. The multi-use screen spins a full 360 degrees on its elliptical steel base and central axis, comes in four shapes and has a wide choice of fabrics including antimicrobial solutions by Agua, a key supplier to the NHS.
However, if guests feel more comfortable dining alone in their bedrooms, our Room Service Trolley could offer a solution for an in-dining experience. While larger or more luxurious suites might benefit from a banqueting table from our Slimfold range, which is lightweight and quick and easy to install or take down.
Another thing to consider is how the entire travel industry might change in the UK. With weeks of video conferencing and working from home forced upon businesses that have never had to operate virtually, it’s highly likely business travel will decline. And when you think of the frustrations of lockdown, it’s easy to predict a huge surge in leisure tourism once Boris tells us it’s ok to go out again.
You might even be rethinking your hygiene procedures, adding additional hand sanitisers to bathrooms but even to your hotel lobby, so guests and staff can feel you are going the extra mile to protect them.
There will be a lot to think about and a lot is pure guesswork at this stage. But preparations can and must begin now. People and businesses will have been impacted greatly from this pandemic. As a hotel, it’s your duty to adjust to the new world that’s coming. Because it’s unlikely to ever be the same again. If you’d like some free advice on furniture and layout solutions to ensure your hotel observes social distancing and keeps both staff and guests safe when the lockdown eases, please contact the Burgess team to see how we can help you.