The world is beginning to slowly reopen. Especially with summer officially starting next month, many are beginning to think about their travel plans. But with COVID-19, what does that mean for travelers?
The U.S. Travel association recently released its detailed guidance, “Travel in the New Normal.” After collaborating with medical experts and a broad array of businesses and organizations, the U.S. travel industry submitted this document to the White House and governors as a way to not only help businesses navigate new suggested procedures and protocols but to also help restore consumer confidence in the travel process.
As Roger Dow, president and chief executive officer, U.S. Travel Association notes, “We will not encourage people to travel until public health experts and authorities have made it clear that it’s the right time to do so. Our industry’s focus is on preparing for that moment.”
As a public relations agency specializing in tourism and attractions, we recognize that preparing our clients for the moment when it’s safe to welcome travelers again is of the utmost importance. The “new normal” may look a bit different to us all initially but changing the ways in which we welcome visitors will be the safest and most seamless way for the travel industry to recover. Communicating these commitments and changes to future travelers is also paramount.
“Travel in the New Normal” focuses on the following six areas:
1. Adapting operations, modifying employee practices and redesigning public spaces to protect both customers and staff.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission many businesses will include practices such as reinforcing hand hygiene, utilizing personal protective equipment such as masks, installing transparent screens to separate customers and employees, posting signage to encourage social distancing, limiting physical contact between the staff and customers and continually educating both employees and customers about their shared responsibility to help protect each other.
2. Implementing touchless or low-touch solutions
One solution many companies are implementing are touchless check-in procedures and even virtual menus. Of course, touchless check-in procedures not only will limit the opportunity for virus transmission but may also prove to be a more positive travel experience for visitors. By having guests verify their arrival time, payments and identification online before even entering the lobby, this will save the traveler from having to wait in line to check-in. Other contactless technologies may be utilized for ticketing, automated ordering and pick-up and a broad range of travel and hospitality amenities.
3. Enhancing sanitation procedures.
Although some sanitation practices may differ depending on where your business is located, there are general guidelines businesses should follow in order to ensure the safety of their staff and visitors. Measures may include modifying business hours when necessary to carry out disinfectant procedures, providing new training for employees, providing hand sanitizer in public areas, sanitizing more frequently and establishing a policy to implement more frequent hand washing by all employees.
4. Promoting screening measures for employees and isolating staff with possible COVID-19 symptoms.
Companies such as Caesars Entertainment recently shared their plans which include offering employees additional paid sick days. This new policy encourages employees that are feeling ill and/or showing symptoms not to report to work. Travel businesses should also offer appropriate resources to customers to better help them screen their own health, including signage communicating COVID-19 symptoms, guidance to local public health resources, materials describing good health practices and communications encouraging travelers to stay home if they are sick.
5. Establishing a set of procedures aligned with CDC guidance should an employee test positive for COVID-19.
An appropriate checklist of actions should be followed as a response to an employee or customer testing positive for COVID-19. Businesses should follow guidance from leading public health authorities to define necessary actions in these instances.
6. Following the best practices in food and beverage service.
The food and beverage service is an essential part of the travel industry. When serving food and beverages, businesses should follow FDA’s Best Practices for Retail Food Stores to ensure the safety of their customers.
We are committed to ensuring the safety of our city, travelers and workforce. As we continue to update our clients and community with the most up-to-date information on how to limit the spread of COVID-19 and welcome travelers back safely, we are here to answer any questions your business may have. Whether it’s how to effectively communicate sanitation guidelines to your staff or how to ensure future customers their safety is your business’s top priority, we are here to help you get your message across.
For more information on the health and safety guidelines provided by the U.S. Travel Association, click here.
For the latest on how our clients are tackling these new guidelines and more information on their reopening dates, click here.