Pandemic travel: Ensure a safer hotel stay with these tips

The hospitality industry has been one of the worst-hit sectors following the Covid-19 outbreak. However, with many cities gradually opening up, work and leisure travel has picked up but with new safety expectations. While the industry is striving its best to offer maximum safety, the risks of the pandemic are set to remain for the coming months. So, it becomes imperative for travellers to adapt to the new normal and take additional precautions that can minimise the risk while they stay in a hotel.

EaseMyTrip.com has a few suggestions for travelers who are venturing out for a leisure trip or corporate visit to keep in mind before booking or while staying at a hotel.

Due diligence before check-in

It is advisable to familiarise yourself with the guidelines and safety protocols that the hotel follows before you book a room. Checking if the safety guidelines of the hotel such as proper sanitisation of the room and adherence to other safety precautions are in sync with the governmental guidelines should be one of the top criteria. Checking if the hotel accepts cashless payments and provides other contactless services could also highlight the safety precautions taken by the hotel. Enquiring how crowded the hotel is by asking their occupancy rate could be a good option as fewer guests means lesser chances of a spread. Moreover, being inquisitive about the hotel’s in-house medical facility is also advised. Asking for a room that has not been occupied for a few days might also be a sensible option as the risk of transmission could be comparatively lower in this case.

Ensure that proper sanitization and cleaning of the hotel rooms is done. (Photo: Getty/Thinkstock)

Sanitize your room and limit housekeeping activities

Although most hotels efficiently sanitize and clean rooms between guests, it would not be a bad idea to do a quick clean, especially on high-touch areas like doorknobs, light switches, TV remotes, bathroom, and other prominent flat surfaces. You can use disinfectant wipes or a travel spray to clean these surfaces and ensure the safety of the room. It might also be a good idea in the current situation to ensure minimal contact with the housekeeping staff. While it may not be possible to completely avoid housekeeping, it would be safer to avoid excess housekeeping needs when you can take measures to keep your room clean and safe. In the event that the housekeeping staff is around, the guest should ensure that they keep a distance and disinfect their hands before proceeding.

Skip the elevator, spa and gym

Elevators are frequented by multiple people in a hotel and it becomes difficult to maintain social distance in such a compact space. Moreover, a guest would be at risk of coming in contact with surfaces that could be contaminated. Hence, if health permits, a guest should use the stairs. It might even be a good idea to take a ground floor room to minimize contact with elevators and other high-touch surface areas. Additionally, it would be wise to skip shared hotel facilities such as the spa and the gym as the chances of physical contact are very high in these activities. An alternate option to this is to request spacious rooms which can accommodate workout amenities or take a walk or go for treks around the property or nearby areas.

Make room for ventilation

The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that the windows should be kept open to let fresh air in and increase ventilation as the risk of airborne transmission is higher in indoor spaces with poor ventilation. While many hotel room windows cannot be opened, guests should figure out if the hotel allows them to open the windows or if they have a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. A table fan can also bring in more outdoor air and is very effective if used near an open window.

Avoid food buffets and other public places

It is advisable to avoid food buffets at in-house restaurants because of the risk of physical contact with other guests in the vicinity. Ordering food directly in the room could just be an ideal scenario for the guests to ensure a safer stay and avoid the threat of contracting the virus. Packaged foods could also be an ideal alternative to buffets. It is also important to limit movement across the hotel lobby and other public places. In case the movement is unavoidable, make sure that you wear a mask when you are in the public space of a hotel.

Safety, sanitization, limited contact are just some of the things that a traveler needs to keep in mind during their hotel stay. Hotels are exhibiting efforts to ensure the safety of their guests, but the onus also lies on the guests to follow the requisite behavior during the period of stay.