AS THE so-called “economic restart” starts to kick in after the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), hotel operations will never be the same again.
More than maintaining the aesthetics of the hotel and improving customer satisfaction through food and beverage and other amenities, hotels will now be implementing new cleaning programs to reassure guests.
Specifically, Hotel, Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu Inc. (HRRAC) president Carlo Suarez said hotel owners will now be heavily investing in personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning and disinfectant tools amid a limited market.
“The new normal when operating a hotel is very costly. It will increase overall cost by another 20 to 30 percent, meaning we have to disinfect the rooms, which is expensive. We need to have our housekeeping personnel wear PPEs. We need to have rapid testing of employees,” Suarez said.
Hoteliers are expected to increase the frequency of cleaning in all common areas in the hotels and make anti-bacterial hand sanitizers and alcohols readily available, among other precautionary protocols.
Suarez said the shift to the “new normal” (operations) would be expensive. But while the industry will be compelled to adapt to this new way of doing business, these efforts will not help them recover the losses they incurred yet.
According to the memorandum circular 20-22 by the Department of Trade and Industry, hotels will be allowed to operate when its locality shifts from ECQ to general community quarantine (GCQ).
However, under the GCQ guidelines, hotels can only accept those who have existing bookings for foreigners as of May 1 (for areas outside Luzon), guests who already have long-term bookings, repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFW), stranded foreign nationals, non-OFWs who are required to undergo a mandatory facility-based quarantine and frontline healthcare workers and other employees from exempted establishments approved by the National Government.
“This cannot sustain the hotel in terms of doing business. It’s not feasible,” said Suarez, adding that there is a possibility that hotels will temporarily close and retrench employees.
HRRAC vice president Alfred Reyes earlier said recovery is quite a challenge for the hospitality sector as prolonged economic pain would mean some of the players might fall into “bankruptcy and acquisitions.”
Since the Covid-19 outbreak in the Philippines and lockdown measures around the globe, hotel properties in the country, including Cebu have come up with various measures to protect their business and employees. Most hotels have encouraged their employees to use their vacation and sick leave credits, while others were advised to work from home.
Currently, only 36 out of HRRAC’s 71 members are operating in limited capacity with only about 40 to 50 percent occupancy.
May 11, 2020
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