The last few months has and continues to impact us all in a deeply personal way. While we know for many of you, travel might not be at the forefront of your mind right now, we wanted to work with our hotel partners to reassure you that when you’re ready again, they’ll be there to welcome you back safely. We’ve reached out to some of our bestselling UK hotels to find out how the impact of COVID has affected them and their businesses, and to ask them how they will be preparing to open their doors once again. Here we chat to Adina Roman, Guest Experience Manager at Carbis Bay in Cornwall.
What’s your current job role and what does that look like/involve?
Guest Experience Manager. I’m here to bring a smile to my guests’ faces! It’s my job to ensure that from the point of booking to departure that their time with us is magical and the service is exceptional. Everything is always possible (well nearly!). If the guest requests it I will do everything to make it happen. This can include buying and wrapping gifts, stocking unique wines or organising individual days out, tours or, making restaurant bookings.
Tell us about the last few months, how has your job changed?
We closed our doors in March. We live in the hotel and so myself and my husband Danny who is the restaurant manager have been busy making sure everything is secure and that our lockdown procedures were followed thoroughly. We have a core team living in the hotel all self-isolating together ensuring a presence on-site and keeping essential services functioning. My job has changed as I have no guests to look after in person but I have continued taking guest calls and helping to move bookings. As we plan for our opening I will once again contact all my regular guests regarding their returns stays.
What is your hotel doing to prepare for the new normal?
We have a huge program of new procedures in progress to ensure when we do open it is done so in the safest and most responsible way following Government Guidelines. This includes every department from housekeeping to spa treatments. The new normal is all about removing touch-points from check in to departure. Minimal guest contact and social distancing are essential as we aim to return to some form of normality.
Can you describe how your hotel has changed any of its processes to ensure customer safety?
We have made numerous changes to our procedures detailed below:
PRIOR TO AND ON YOUR ARRIVAL
Check-in will be different and guest will experience a change to our normal procedure, but the same family-friendly greeting and smiling faces will be here to welcome you.
• We will be contacting guests before their planned arrival date to ascertain an estimated time of arrival to ensure a swift check-in with minimal contact.
• Check-in will be available through our brand new hotel app that will be available soon to ensure minimal-contact at all times.
• Staff and guests arriving at Reception will be protected by screens allowing the same friendly welcome faces and smiles.
• Whilst we will be unable to take guests to their room at this time or conduct our usual arrival show-around, an Estate map and hotel plan will be available as a download link in the emailed booking confirmation or printed on arrival on re-cycled paper to allow guests to explore the Estate and find their room without issue.
• Additional signage will erected to help guide guests safely through the hotel to your room.
• An essential porterage service will be available. If this service is required, then guests will need to let us know prior to your arrival if possible so that suitable arrangements can be made with minimal contact and full sanitisation measures in place.
• At no time during a stay will a member of staff be in the guest room at the same time as the guest (unless in the case of emergency). Strict guidelines will be followed should an emergency situation require our attention.
• Our standards of cleanliness and hygiene are exemplary but, during this period they will be taken to another level!
• Housekeeping staff will conduct a new twenty point program of rigorous deep cleaning in all rooms following guest check-out paying particular attention to all touch points within the room.
• All non-essential items such as magazines have been removed from rooms to reduce risk.
• We will endeavour to allow a minimum of 24 hours between room changeover.
• Housekeeping staff will be wearing appropriate PPE provided in line with Government advice to enable them to safely carry out their daily duties. Behind the mask is the same happy, helpful smile!
• No staff will enter guest rooms while occupied unless in an emergency. Replenishment of towels, linen of any other items will be available on request.
• All our rooms contain a guest tablet for ordering new room service.
FOOD AND BEVERAGE
• We have introduced new in-room dining experiences available throughout the day so that guests can order at a time to suit.
• Our restaurant areas will be airy with spacious table layouts. Single use menus printed on re-cycled paper along with blackboards detailing the day’s delicious offering will be in use.
• Breakfast buffet will be replaced with a Continental breakfast offer available in room or alternatively full English breakfast will be served in our restaurant areas.
• Takeaway and dine-in services will be available for all our Coastal Properties offering breakfast, lunch and dinner.
• Alfresco dining spaces on the Conservatory decking – where Creams Teas and all day dining and snacks will be served – and, the Beach Club decking for lunch, afternoon tapas, an early cocktail or dinner can be enjoyed overlooking the beach.
• Cloudy Bay picnic hampers and blankets will be available to find your own secluded spot on the 25-acre beautiful beach.
DURING A GUEST STAY
• Whilst we will be conducting a phased opening of our facilities, we do not expect the C Bay Spa to be available during our initial opening period. We are hopeful that individual treatments may commence alfresco in our secluded Beach Retreat with private hot tub. This will be subject to Government Restrictions being lifted and we will update this on a regular basis.
• We will still have a range of facilities to enjoy which our stunning, secluded location allows us to provide. Yoga classes will be available to guests on a one-to-one basis or safe groups sessions (conducted alfresco if weather permits!) or, within one of our spacious function rooms. It’s all about the great outdoors! Blue Flag Beach, fresh air and coastal walks with St Ives to explore just around the corner.
• Signage will be visible across the Estate to aid guests to keep a social distance at all times.
• Numerous hand sanitising stations will be positioned throughout the hotel and grounds.
• We are undertaking the “AA Sign of Confidence” accreditation to provide an extra level of assurance so that we are scrutinsed by independent bodies to ensure we open in the safest possible fashion. Our spa therapists are undertaking Barbicide COVID-19 training to ensure they are fully equipped to create a safe spa environment.
• Our hotel app will provide a non-contact method to view a bill and settle a room, checking out without the need to visit Reception.
• If preferred, guests can visit Reception but we will be asked on arrival an estimated time for departure so that this can be arranged in a safe-manner.
What things have the Corona crisis taught you about how people think about travel?
We are experiencing a surge in booking enquiries and people are really wanting to get out and explore new locations here in the UK. I think it will be some time before international visitors return In the high numbers they did previously. Guests will just be more cautious and travel to hotels and locations that focus on guest welfare, safety and, peace of mind, Guest want to know that all possible precautions are being taken both now and in the future for their welfare.
We love to inspire the world to escape, can you share with us a secret travel tip to get people dreaming about their next stay?
Focusing on creating memories. It’s all about experiences and what you can do rather than just single images of hotels and rooms.
When you get the chance what’s the first holiday you will go on?
We will go to Dubai. It’s our annual escape from our busy day-to-day roles in the Hotel.
Who will you go with?
Danny, my husband who is the restaurant manager