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Hotel industry mulls pay cuts, reducing manpower to tide over lockdown woes

Industry representatives said while some hotels have chosen not to entertain new guests, some have stepped up hygiene and sanitisation measures which include new form of greeting instead of the the earlier 'handshake'.

April 30, 2020 / 04:52 PM IST
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The hospitality industry has taken up various measures to overcome the impact due to lockdown to contain spread of coronavirus which include pay cuts, use of short staff besides engaging in partial operation, officials said.

Industry representatives said while some hotels have chosen not to entertain new guests, some have stepped up hygiene and sanitisation measures which include new form of greeting instead of the the earlier 'handshake'.

According to the Residency Group of Hotels COO Gopinath, they have decided to use the form of keeping the right hand diagonally across the chest on top of the heart as a mark of greeting instead of the regular 'handshake'.

"This kind of greeting we have started to adopt while welcoming guests. It may be new concept but through this we are avoiding handshake," he told PTI.

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Enhancing their approach in containing the spread of virus in the premises, he said they have also planned to appoint a 'hygiene butler' who would be one-point contact to customers asking for more details on sanitisation measures taken up by the group.

"There will be one person in each of our property to assist the guests," he said.

He replied in the affirmative when asked if they were mulling pay cuts for employees and said they were considering use of less manpower.

"We are using only two floors and air-conditioning is provided for the respective floors instead of the earlier 10 floors. We have also asked some employees to go on leave," he said.

Another hospitality service provider and largest lodging owners and operators Ascott Ltd which operates two properties -Somerset Greenways Chennai and Citadines OMR- is also focused on creating more awareness on hygiene measures in view of the pandemic.

Ascott Ltd, area general manager Supriya Malhotra said they were serving over about 200 guests staying at the two properties in Chennai.

"Throughout this challenging period, our resilient team has been working hard round-the-clock to ensure our properties are safe (from coronavirus)...," she said.

Highlighting some of the initiatives, she said the two properties have introduced the concept of letting guests opt for self-cooking besides appointing a guest services person to take care of customers groceries shopping so that they stay indoors.

Based on the grocery list, a staff would purchase the items ensuring only one person steps out of property to buy essentials instead of a guest having to step out, she said.

Another initiative was provision of mobile ATM parked at their properties so that the guests can make financial transactions within the campus itself.

Guests have to sign a declaration detailing their travel history and health status while they have to undergo screening for fever, cold or cough before entering the properties, she said.

The properties have also encouraged customers not to take part in groups in public areas while places like lift buttons, doorknobs, reception desk were sanitized on an hourly basis, she said.

The Somerset Greenways Chennai is a 187-unit property located in city while 269 unit Citadine is at the famous Old Mahabalipuram Road.

ITC Hotels which operates several properties across the country said the group was monitoring the outbreak closely and was adhering to protocols from experts besides collecting relevant information from government and medical authorities.

The company in a notification said the hotel has suspended new reservations at some hotels and also curtailed some services at hotels.

Hotel personnel were also trained in processes of hygiene protocol and also undergo training on health and safety measures.

"A dedicated central cross-functional team has been formed which would be available on a 24x7 basis to support group hotels and to coordinate with relevant authorities", it said.

Noting that many of essential operations were at minimum staffing level, the group said attention being laid on high-touch items, surfaces and fixtures with increase in frequency of cleaning measures.

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first published: Apr 30, 2020 04:45 pm
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