The new normal is an old norm for Hyatt House

People have been confident in our care and our priority has always been to place safety and wellbeing at the top of the list for everyone, says GM

by LYDIA NATHAN

THERE is nothing more enticing than a hotel experience which includes squeaky clean marble floors, plush beds and round the clock service which give guests the perfect escape.

While the hotel industry has been slowly reopening in stages, the one question on everyone’s mind is how trustworthy hotels are today, especially when the global Covid-19 pandemic is making people picky about their choice of accommodation.

Now that most hotels are offering unbelievable rates to attract more guests, is it really worth the risk?

Hyatt House Mont Kiara GM Bennett Peter (picture) said with the current situation, safety and cleanliness remain the top priority.

“Hyatt House has remained open throughout the whole period. It is an essential industry and we had long-stay guests with us. People have been confident in our care and our priority has always been to place safety and wellbeing at the top of the list for everyone — not just the guests,” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) recently.

According to Peter, the hotel strictly adheres to the Ministry of Health’s regulations, but also follows the Hyatt’s Global Care and Cleanliness Commitment, an expression of the brand to ensure safety in every part of the hotel at all its properties.

Staff Care

Peter said every employee enters through one main door and the thermometer is the hotel’s first line of defence.

“All staff entering must have a mask on, while sanitisers are dispensed onto hands and temperatures are checked.

“We have the right to refuse entry to anyone who measures above 37.5°C. Regardless of how many times an employee goes in and out, the same procedure is conducted,” he said.

The employee then walks through the halls, where floors, walls, and door handles are cleaned regularly.

Next stop is the uniform dispenser room, where an employee swipes his/her staff card on the machine and an automated system reveals the person’s uniform, hanging on a rack, ready to be taken.

“This is all based on an intelligent system and it won’t allow you to take anyone else’s uniform. Similarly, once an employee finishes work, dirty uniforms are put into a contraption hatch to be washed. This is completely contactless because we want to minimise human interaction with each other,” Peter said.

Peter added that the staff canteen has its tables appropriately placed to maintain social distancing, while the chef serves everyone.

“Previously, it used to be a buffet serving where you can help yourself but now, only the chef serves the food and gives you cutlery. Our floors are also marked with markers and it is strictly followed while queuing up,” he said.

Topmost Guest Care

Peter said in recent weeks, guests have actually been interested to know what Hyatt House is doing in light of the pandemic and its impact.

“People now are taking time to read the fine print on their confirmation because they are interested to see how we are upping standards and procedures to protect everyone who walks through our doors,” he said.

Guests also undergo the same procedure as employees in terms of temperature checking, hand sanitising and social distancing in queues or lifts.

One main element being highlighted to reassure guests on rooms is the meticulous cleaning standards Hyatt House is conducting.

Peter said all staff with high guest-facing interactions is required to use proper face shields including housekeeping.

“We now have two trolleys for the cleaning of rooms. Staff start with the dirty tasks first, using yellow gloves. To be honest, not much has changed because we have always had very high standards since the beginning.

“We just want to show guests now what we do which includes wiping down and sanitising all the high touch areas, like switches, door handles, taps, table tops, remote controls and pretty much anything one would touch,” Peter said.

Once all that is done, staff members would remove their gloves, sanitise their hands, before putting on blue gloves to complete the rest of the cleaning task.

Peter said some guests have opted not to have housekeeping in their rooms every day, rather just a couple of times a week.

“We now ask guests if they prefer a clean room every day, some say no. Some are happy to have us clean once in two days and can call for fresh towels if they want. We do a quick check on every guest every day though, that is part of our commitment towards the care and concern of guests,” he said.

Hotel Amenities

For now, government regulations will not allow the reopening of the hotel gym or pool, but Peter said its other amenities have been available for guests.

“The Gallery Kitchen was initially only open for takeaway, but since the easing of restrictions, we have allowed dining in with proper seating.

“The outlets can usually seat 48 people, but for now with distancing, we allow a maximum of 15 guests only,” he said.

Every table showcases a poster informing guests how many persons are to be seated at respective tables, while cutlery is placed inside napkins.

Peter said all kitchen and restaurant staff are reminded hourly by a bell to change gloves and masks.

“There are alcohol wipes for guests to use and all tables are sanitised and wiped down after each guest uses the furniture,” he said.

Meanwhile, Peter said he expects the hotel industry to pick up, and come back strong.

“We’ve started to see some movement in terms of corporate travel and meeting room bookings, people want to go out again and if they feel safe, they will do so.

“We’ve always been in the business of service and hospitality, now we have added in safety and security as a priority as well,” Peter added.

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