COVID-19: AHLA hygiene protocols | Italy, Mexico, Egypt plan reopenings

AHLA releases industrywide hotel cleaning standards

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) introduced “Safe Stay,” an industrywide standard of health and safety protocols designed to prepare U.S. hotels to safely bring back guests and employees as the economy reopens. These standards were developed under the guidance of an advisory council, comprising industry leaders representing all segments of the hotel industry, and in conjunction with public health experts to advance best practices for protecting against the coronavirus.

Wyndham 1Q results: Virus hits RevPAR, revenue

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts reported earnings for the first quarter of 2020: According to the company, revenue decreased 12% to US$410 million, compared with US$468 million in the first quarter of 2019. RevPAR declined 23% globally due to travel restrictions related to COVID-19. In the U.S., RevPAR declined 17%, and internationally RevPAR declined 37% primarily due to a 70% decline in China.

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Wyndham launches ‘Count on Us’

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts launched a long-term initiative to build confidence among guests and support franchisees as it prepares to get guests back to its over 6,000 U.S. hotels. Key early components of the initiative include:

•   Enhanced cleaning and disinfection of guest rooms and public spaces: Wyndham will require consistent use of EPA-approved disinfectants in all U.S. hotel guest rooms and public spaces

•   Easy access to COVID-19 health essentials: Wyndham will leverage its scale and relationships with distributors to begin drop-shipping critical products to its more than 6,000 hotels across the U.S. within the next 30 days. Items will include face masks for hotel team members, hand sanitizer for distribution in public areas and guest rooms, and disinfectant wipes for guests. Leveraging volume discounts pre-negotiated by Wyndham, these items will be made available at cost to hotel owners with the company financing all initial shipments and deferring payments from hotels until September 1, 2020

HSMAI: Predictions for hotel industry priorities

HSMAI’s Marketing Advisory Board met virtually last month and shared their predictions and concerns for the future of the hotel sector. The call focused on the following areas:

cleaning protocols; permanent changes on property around social distancing; reopening schedules (and how June 1 might not be realistic); and advertising, including messaging.

Read more about the call 

Survey: Tour operators hope for pickup

Payment and booking platform WeTravel released an industry outlook survey, conducted in early April, of 592 tour operators to track the impact of COVID-19 in the travel industry. Of the respondents, 42% are U.S.-based companies, and most are small businesses. Most tour operators have the confidence that travel will pick up again in the fall this year. Almost a third of respondents have rescheduled their trips to the period of June-September 2020. Almost 40% will postpone to October-December 2020. The rest plan to delay all their trips to 2021, while closely monitoring the situation.

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Egypt reopens hotels for local tourists – with limits

Egypt is allowing hotels to reopen for domestic tourists on condition they operate at no more than 25% capacity until the end of May and implement a range of other health measures to guard against the coronavirus. For hotels to resume operations they must have a clinic with a resident doctor, regularly screen temperatures and install disinfection equipment. Guests must be registered online and workers have to undergo rapid coronavirus tests when entering resorts, while a hotel floor or small building must be assigned as a quarantine area for positive or suspected coronavirus cases. From June 1, hotels will be allowed to work with a maximum 50% capacity.

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Cancun hotels prepare for post-virus tourism

With Cancun, Mexico, seeing a drop in confirmed coronavirus cases, the tourist destination announced an aggressive new campaign to bring visitors back to the region. In anticipation of a reopening of tourism on June 1, The Hotel Association of Cancún, Puerto Morelos and Isla Mujeres (AHCP) have launched the “Come 2 Cancún” campaign to attract visitors with two-for-one hotel stays. Other destinations in the state could soon follow, pending approval by the Quintana Roo Tourism Promotion Council (CPTQ).

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Sicily wants to pay for your flight and hotel

To win back foreign tourists after the lockdown, the Italian Mediterranean island of Sicily is planning to discount half the price of plane tickets and pay for one of every three nights in hotels in a €50 million (US$55 million) plan to revive its tourism industry. As the coronavirus pandemic looms over one of Europe’s most vital economic sectors, it’s been reported that the losses to Sicily’s tourism industry exceed US$1.09 billion since March 10.

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Swiss tourism may suffer US$9B loss

The coronavirus pandemic could cause a 8.7 billion CHF (US$9.05 billion) loss to Swiss tourism from March to June, according to a study conducted by the Tourism Institute of the HES-SO Valais. The study involved more than 3,500 major tourism stakeholders including restaurants, hotels, ski lifts and tourism organizations, reports Xinhua news agency. Results of the study indicate that Swiss restaurant owners expect sales to drop by around 95% in April and May, with a loss of at least 4.5 billion CHF (US$4.6 billion) in turnover in 2020.

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Well-known Florida resort plans May reopening

Palm Beach, Florida’s The Breakers Palm Beach said it would reopen on May 22, six weeks after closing its doors because of the coronavirus pandemic. The hotel first announced March 17 that it would close the following day for at least three weeks in response to the threat of the coronavirus pandemic. The resort also closed its related businesses and restaurants.

More from The Palm Beach Post

Carnival extends suspension on operations

Carnival Cruise Line has issued an update concerning a further delay of operations for most of the company’s fleet until August 31. Any resumption of cruise operations – whenever that may be – is fully dependent on efforts in cooperation with federal, state, local and international government officials. Any return to service will also include whatever enhanced operational protocols and social gathering guidelines that are in place at the time of the resumption of cruise operations. 

‘Travel in the New Normal’

Following a collaboration between medical experts and a broad array of businesses and organizations, the U.S. travel industry submitted to the White House and governors a document containing detailed guidance for travel-related businesses to help keep their customers and employees safe as the country emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic. Entitled “Travel in the New Normal,” the document describes vigorous measures the travel industry will follow to reduce the risk of COVID-19 and help to communicate across each and every step of a traveler’s journey. The goal is to allow travel to safely resume as states and municipalities relax physical distancing guidance.

Read the full document

Australia hotel industry: webinar

The Accommodation Association hosted a webinar to present and discuss the results of the Australia Hotel Industry Sentiment Survey and to compare the situation faced by Australian hoteliers to that of markets in Asia where hotel, tourism and leisure consulting firm Horwath HTL has conducted other sentiment surveys. A copy of the presentation slides is also available here.

Watch the webinar