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Redefining guest engagement in hospitality: Demonstrable hygiene, the new WOW

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Hospitality, covid times, hygiene to demonstrable hygiene.,quest sanitization, guest shield, fresh wave of the pandemic, smart menuHospitality, covid times, hygiene to demonstrable hygiene.,quest sanitization, guest shield, fresh wave of the pandemic, smart menuHoteliers need to move the needle from hygiene to demonstrable hygiene. (IE Image)

By Rohit Warrier

Hospitality is all about making your guests feel special. The more unique, personalized and seamless an experience you offer your guests, the higher their affinity to your establishment. Every detail is important, what they see, touch, smell and taste and in today’s time of Covid, how safe they feel.

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Past few months, since after the lockdown, the industry has had to drastically change and adapt to the new norms – enforcing social distancing for in-house seating, changing open areas into dining areas, smart menu’s accessible Via QR codes, remote billing to name a few.

All this has required them to redefine their staff training to ensure that the customer experience is not compromised.

Unfortunately, the fresh wave of the pandemic has once again threatened the continuity of their operations.

Being one of the worst-hit sectors during the pandemic, they can ill afford another shutdown.

So, what should be done?

Well, for starters, hoteliers need to move the needle from hygiene to demonstrable hygiene.

Efforts that explicitly show the guests & authorities their focus on hygiene and guest well-being.

Some measures to include but may not be limited to are:

Creating a show Kitchen. A simple way to highlight the precautions and hygiene measures practised while preparing the delicacies for the guests.

Undertaking table sanitization at every turnaround, before & in front of guests to showcase the commitment to hygiene and cleanliness.

Serve plates directly from the warmer while still warm, cutlery sets in clean sealed packets.

Serve food hot! Ideally, at 74 – 80 degree C, and measure the temperature in front of guests to demonstrate commitment.

Introduce a drinking shield along with drinkware. The drinking shield comes in medical-grade sterilised packing. Advice guests to place it on the rim of the glass before consuming the beverage. Adds another layer of precaution to avoid any chance of cross-contamination.

Avoid offering straws as their hygiene has always been questionable

Offer only bottled water.

Insist on guests wearing masks when not eating or moving around on the premises.

Ensure a Guest sanitizes his/ her hands when they leave the table or return to the table.

Share live feeds of back-office areas such as kitchen, house laundry, pot wash, being cleaned / sanitized through the day.

Solicit customer feedback on measures taken at the establishment and their comfort with the initiatives.

Redesign kitchens to counter the bacterial impacts and systems to be in place to monitor them.

While these are some top of the mind relatively easy to implement measures, they will require a fair amount of re-training of employees, setting new standard operating guidelines to meet the new goals.

Hoteliers need to seriously look at ways and means to win back confidence and keep the doors open for business.

The customer WOW needs to be adapted to the demands of the new normal.

(The author is CEO and Founder, Warrier Safe Shields. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)

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