Hotels are not going to be the same again

SALALAH: Even if the hotels open and start operations, they are not going to be the same.  The hospitable hotel staff may have to smile behind their masks while dealing with their customers, as several other new protocols may be introduced by the competent authorities.

The new normal, according to a senior hotelier in Muscat, could be seen in most of the areas – from the guest’s arrival at the airport, hotel reception, handing over the room keys to even setting of dining tables in the restaurants.

“The tools of communication may be different, as both the guest and host would like to play safe. Technology may come handy for communication like mails and Whatsapp; QR code and least use of paper to avoid exchange through hands directly. Either we have to give maximum care on sanitising the room keys or we may have to work on keys that can open the doors remotely with minimum involvement of surface touch,” he said while thinking loudly about the future operations.

The restaurant menus may land directly on the customer’s mobile through some app or the other due to the fact that at least for some time the guests have to choose their own meals from the menu instead of going for buffet.

“To ensure social distancing we may have to stop buffet for some time and dining together will be very limited affair with proper distance between tables and chairs. There may not be more than two people eating on one table. This is going to be the new normal.”

Thus this would be the time both for the hoteliers and the guests to plan things in advance or the guests may have to check about their choice of food at the time of booking the hotel. “In the current scenario when the atmosphere is charged with safety measures, we may not take risk with the buffet dining due to chances of infection by using same serving spoon by too many people… Alacarte is going to be the best suited option for both,” he said.

Other changes may be seen in the use of swimming pool, common spaces and a revamp on the information technology to empower both the guests and the host to live in a safe environment.