Meena Bhatia, Vice President & General Manager, Le Meridien, New Delhi quotes Richie Norton’s well-known saying, ‘Every sunset is an opportunity to reset’ while sharing her thoughts on the current unprecedented situation and preparations ahead for the post-Covid period to welcome guests.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the millions of people across the globe who have unfortunately suffered the virus. We continue to stay committed and have reached out to the community at large – be it the patients, our stranded guests, caregivers or those in shelter homes, we have done whatever we could to make a difference, “ she said adding, “During the lockdown period, our team in the hotel continues to work, taking care of our guests and the hotel. As a team, we have kept ourselves engaged at all levels- with the government, with the trade associations, community workers and our caregivers. Amidst many uncertain circumstances, we stay concerned about guest wellbeing, that of our employees, and of our nation. We are working hard in preparation of the reopening post the lockdown, because we do care, and we would like to ensure that we offer facilities that are safe, clean and ready for the post-Covid norms.”
Marriott International has led the path. Earlier this week it announced the rolling out of a multipronged platform to elevate its cleanliness standards and hospitality norms and behaviours to meet the new health and safety challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has presented to the hotel industry. “We are living in a new age, with COVID-19 front and centre for our guests and our associates,” said Arne Sorenson, Marriott’s President/CEO. “We are grateful for the trust our guests have shown us through the years. We want our guests to understand what we are doing today and planning for in the near future in the areas of cleanliness, hygiene and social distancing so that when they walk through the doors of one of our hotels, they know our commitment to their health and safety is our priority. It’s equally important to us that our associates know the changes we are making to help safeguard their health as they serve our guests.”
Bhatia went on to say, “We are glad to share that we have already started virtual training for our team on the new standards, be it the airport assistance, front of the house, in-room delivery, laundry or the kitchen. We are also implementing the new guidebook of Kitchen standards issued by Food Standards and Safety Authority of India (FSSAI), an autonomous body established under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India -who had been very quick in its action and response to COVID-19. This includes the work that is currently underway, respecting the new social distancing norms, to come up with new seating plans for our meeting spaces, restaurants, and staff cafeteria.”
Bringing the spotlight on a critical issue of concern, Bhatia reveals, “There is a completely new way our hotels will be cleaning the rooms. Deep cleaning and sanitization procedures will be carried out with chemicals and materials and methods trained by our hygiene partners. Rooms will be minimalistic and will offer a new range of amenities including sanitizers, wipes, and only dry amenities.”
Reflecting on new product innovation, Bhatia shares, “We are now introducing food delivery to your doorstep, within a 10 km radius of the hotel. The food is being prepared in the safe and clean environment of our kitchen and delivered with due care by hotel valets. Moreover, guests may also sign up for the weekly virtual cooking sessions with our Chef from his home kitchen.”
She signs off warmly, “We wish to welcome our guests soon, of course in strict compliance and respect of the government’s orders and safety guidelines. In the meanwhile, stay well, stay safe and stay home.”