International hospitality group Shangri-La looks “outward” to ensure preparedness as it begins to welcome guests back to its hotels and resorts amid an ongoing pandemic.
If yesterday’s focus was on exclusivity and unique offerings, today’s on health, safety, and travel flexibility.
“To meet new challenges and evolving customer expectations, we are focusing on enhanced hygiene protocols, elevating our standards, and safeguarding our guests and colleagues’ well-being,” Shangri-La Group chief executive officer Lim Beng Chee said in a statement.
The “three main pillars” comprise the Hong Kong-based company’s “Shangri-La Cares” commitment which applies to all its properties worldwide, including those here in the country.
Shangri-La Group’s six properties in the Philippines include Edsa Shangri-La, Makati Shangri-La, Shangri-La at the Fort in Taguig City, Hotel Jen Manila, Shangri-La Boracay Resort and Spa, and Shangri-La Mactan Resort and Spa.
New health and safety operational protocols have been implemented in order to gain guests’ confidence during their stay. Trained staff members implement stepped up deep cleaning of high-touch surfaces and areas, and ensure guests’ safety and reduced person-to-person interaction from arrival to departure.
New cleaning procedures include the use of hospital-grade disinfectant, UV technology, and electrostatic devices; and a six-hour wait after guests’ vacated the room before staff begins housekeeping.
Upon arrival, each guest will receive a self-care kit consisting of face mask, hand sanitizer/alcohol, anti-bacterial wet wipes, and immune-boosting tea. Paper collaterals have been replaced by digital platforms.
Despite the mandatory improvements and additional products provided to guests and staff, John Rice, vice president of operations (Philippines) and general manager of Shangri-La at the Fort, said they will “not be immediately increasing prices” of rooms.
“All this comes with a cost; we will increase prices at a time. But generally speaking, this is general cost of business,” Rice said at a virtual press conference.
The Mandaluyong-based hotel’s general manager expects food and beverage would be the first revenue stream to recover owing to the resiliency of the Filipino population.
Rice said staycation packages in hotels were expected to drive business growth as people planning to take vacation “would look into domestic travel.”
Meanwhile, he sees international corporate markets to come back in the first quarter of 2021, and the international mass market in the second quarter of next year.
“In terms of getting back to normal, pre-COVID, we feel will not occur until 2022, at the earliest,” said Rice.
Hotels and other accommodation facilities in areas under modified general community quarantine will be allowed to accept tourists and business travelers, and limited to 50 percent capacity. Ancillary establishments within the premises such as restaurants, café, gyms, and spas shall be allowed to operate at half their full capacity as well.
Once the hotel’s health clubs open, Rice said pools and wet areas will remain close, while machines at the gym will be sanitized after every use.