Forging a new path forward

As the hospitality industry ushers in a new world of travel defined by safety and hygiene norms, melding sanitation with service remains a tough balancing act, says Garth Simmons, COO, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and South Asia at Accor.

Accor was one of the first hotel chains globally to launch a cleanliness and safety protocol, ALLSAFE, with some unique features, such as free medical teleconsultations offered in partnership with 
insurer, AXA. What are Accor’s guiding principals when deciding what to include in the ALLSAFE programme?
Accor has been prioritising the safety and well-being of customers and employees on a daily basis for more than 50 years. High standards of hygiene and cleanliness are already delivered across all our brands globally. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and to ensure guests’ safety as hotels reopen, we have elevated those norms with the launch of the ALLSAFE label which represents some of the most stringent cleaning standards and operational protocols in the world of hospitality.

ALLSAFE is co-created by Bureau Veritas and leading medical authorities in each country to reinforce confidence and trust in travel.

In each country, we have to follow the local authority rules in addition to ALLSAFE guidelines, so that we get the strictest and most comprehensive protocols in place.

We know our guests are keen to get back to travel – and we want to be ready to welcome them in a safe and hygienic environment.

Now that health and safety protocols are a given, and the hospitality space is flooded by cleanliness promises, how will Accor evolve its ALLSAFE programme so that 
it continues to be a unique 
New stringent cleanliness standards will be implemented and continued to be monitored across all Accor hotels and will include a reinforced cleaning programme, with frequent disinfection of all high-touch areas like elevators, lounge areas, and public restrooms with staff in restaurants to wear masks and gloves. An enhanced in-room cleaning programme using hospital grade cleaning materials will now be a standard across all Accor hotels.

Dining outlets at the hotels will also be reconfigured to ensure seating areas comply with government restrictions on social distancing. Diners and all guests will be provided with hand sanitiser, wipes and masks.

The ALLSAFE label will help guests understand when these standards have been met in our hotels. Guests will be able to verify hotels that are certified compliant with ALLSAFE standards on hotel property websites, through our customer contact centres as well as on property.

With so many properties across the globe, how will Accor ensure that each abides by the ALLSAFE standards?
Safety is our most important concern at this time. Training and education of employees around the world is a critical aspect of health and safety and will be included in the ALLSAFE label. Accor will launch a new comprehensive safety and hygiene training programme to ensure all employees worldwide have the skills and education necessary to protect themselves and our guests.

Online training as well as classroom training at each property has been mandated prior to any Accor hotels reopening. In addition we are providing temperature screening, masks, sanitisers and personal protection equipment to all staff to ensure they are safe when they are working and at home.

How does Accor balance the traditions of hospitable service with new hygiene norms, such as safe distancing and contactless 
Covid-19 has put some unique pressures on our hotel teams to deliver a warm welcome to guests, while also ensuring their wellbeing through additional hygiene and safety measures.

While we cannot greet our guests in the same way we might have in the past, our duty of care and our commitment to meeting their needs remains the same. The use of contactless payment solutions and desk-free check-in doesn’t mean that our guests don’t have interactions with our team members; it simply means that these interactions will be a little more physically distanced but still very much from the heart.

Our teams are so excited to welcome guests back that we have seen some really heart-warming stories emerge as travellers return to hotels and we are doing more than ever to ensure we provide extraordinary experiences to our cherished guests. Where possible, we have made the introduction of hygiene welcome packs, masks, etc. more fun in a way that dovetails with our brand personality and we are careful not to make it all seem like people are in a hospital-like environment, while ensuring hospital-grade cleanliness. Our teams are trained in delivering ALLSAFE standards to our guests in a way that does not interfere with the enjoyment of their stay as much as possible.

This feature was first published in the TTG Asia: The future of Travel special issue. 

Sponsored Post