We’re all looking forward to our next trip in earnest — never mind the fact that we aren’t sure when exactly that will be.
Veteran hotelier Dean Winter has been in the hospitality industry for over two decades — as the Managing Director of Swire Hotels, Winter oversees brands like The House Collective and East. And while hand sanitisers around every corner will be a given, Winter says that luxury hotels will be stepping up on much more than just ardent cleaning.
He walks us through the three biggest changes we’ll see in hotels post-Covid.
01 | Increased domestic tourism
If you’re thinking of where to celebrate your first post-Covid getaway, keep in mind that everyone else is doing the same, too. Winter says that they’ve already seen “a dramatic increase” in domestic tourism on the Chinese mainland, a phenomenon that’s likely to continue in the months to come.
“Even when travel restrictions begin to free up a little, we are anticipating that many people may still be reluctant to hop on planes,” he says.
Translation? Be prepared to do some clever planning to avoid the crowds — it’s a great chance to visit a new place that you’ve never tried before.
02 | More personalised service
The benefit of heading a little off the beaten path? You’ll hopefully be one of few guests at your resort-slash-hotel (where you’re more likely to see a staff member than another hotel guest, if at all) so you can expect some very personalised, and discreet, service — a big plus for introverts.
Winter says: “I think being able to respond to each guests in a personalised, open-minded and receptive manner will be even more vital in the post-COVID world.”
“Our people need to really hone their ability to watch guests and read their body language. As opposed to not providing the same level of service to all, we rather approach each individual in a unique way based on our observations on how comfortable they are and what they may need.”
03 | A high tech stay
Technophobes, heads up: if dealing with SafeEntry every time you set foot into a place has you developing anxiety, you might want to prepare yourself for the tech gauntlet to come.
“We were already witnessing widespread digital innovation before the pandemic, however, with hygiene as the driving factor, this process and implementation has really sped up,” says Winter.
But rest assured, robots won’t be replacing friendly concierges and bellhops any time yet.
“Just because some of our processes have been replaced by technology does not mean the soul behind the brand has,” says Winter. “In fact, it’s more important than ever: increasing the utilisation of technology only means that our people have more time and freedom to interact on a personal level with guests.”