Hotel Facilities, Services & Design Trends in the Post-COVID Era
By Mandeep S. Lamba, MRICS President - South Asia, HVS | June 28, 2020
The impact of the coronavirus on the global population, which, on last count, had spread to over 200 countries, is expected to be far in excess of any other catastrophic event the world may have witnessed in the last 100 years. Aside from the economic devastation and the loss of lives across the planet, the contagion is going to leave a lasting scar on the human race.
While the extent of global financial distress is still uncertain on account of its enormity and the virus being nowhere near control, what is certain is that the world will soon be grappling with several changes of a permanent nature that will become the "new normal." These will be in the form of products, services, and the several life choices we make in our everyday life as we gradually, over time, put the memory of this pandemic behind us and move on.
From offices to homes, shopping malls, cinemas, aircrafts, hotels, and restaurants, among others, our individual outlooks on life are all in line for a review that could change all (or at least most) of our activities in manners we could have never imagined. An already "on steroids" technology wave that we, the living, were trying to deal with, could now force us into a different normal.
Having been locked up at home for over six weeks, with at least another two to go, and having read, heard, and spoken endlessly about the survival and revival of the hospitality industry, which has been my provider for all my working life, here are some trends and changes that will likely be seen in hotels across the world.
The Death of Front Office
I think we can safely start writing the obituary of the traditional Front Office department as we knew it. The reception/front desk, bell stand/desk, and concierge may soon be dead and take rebirth as an invisible virtual "help desk." Check-in/out services could be through online links, accessed via email or phone, or via self-check-in kiosks for walk-in guests. Guest room locks could no longer require key cards to operate but may use a QR code instead, which would be sent to the guest's mobile device to allow access to the room.