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The “New Paradigm” Outlook

Health & safety experts give their take on the pandemic How safe do you feel when visiting a hotel? How do you know your room is as clean as it...

Health & safety experts give their take on the pandemic

How safe do you feel when visiting a hotel? How do you know your room is as clean as it’s marketed to be? Now, guests can rest easy thanks to BLLA’s new partnership with Health4Luxury, a health and safety consulting company based in science. Gregory Schwab, VP Business Development of Health4Luxury, David Sayah, M.D. at IPA Global Health Network and Founding Partner of Health4Luxury, and Ken Daigle, Principal, Industrial Hygiene and Safety of Citadel EHS, introduced themselves to the global boutique audience at The Boutique Lifestyle Digital Summit by BLLA, where they discussed the most important ways to combat COVID-19 in hotels and how to create a safe environment for guests and employees alike. 

Health4Luxury differentiates itself through formulating protocols specific to individual properties, taking into account each design, mechanical aspect, staff member, and guest, whereas other companies might provide the same, generic guidelines to multiple properties. According to Dr. Sayah, things have the potential to fall apart due to human error, so Health4Luxury has applied medical and healthcare models to the travel industry for greater precision. 

Many big brands have partnered with established clinical institutions to create a clean environment for their employees and guests, but Health4Luxury is on a mission to help independent boutique hotels position and market their protocols to guests as being authentically clean and safe. Dr. Sayah advised that hotels need to emphasize that they have complete oversight of their own protocols–not only have they developed them with the help of scientists and an outside organization, but they can personally ensure they’re being followed. Most big brands test certain areas, but Dr. Sayah reported that to his knowledge, Health4Luxury is the only organization that has a scientifically-based testing protocol tailored to each property. 

Another piece of advice Dr. Sayah provided was to have a positive attitude about the restrictions, rather than focusing on the challenges they create. He offered an example of putting a sign on the elevator reading, “There are approximately 500 steps from here to your room. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a workout today?” Instead of restricting guests’ actions through elevator capacity, a sign such as this gives people an upside of conducting their daily routines. 

So how does Health4Luxury fulfill their initiative to create safe travel environments? With a goal of minimizing disease transmission through applied protocols in medicine, Dr. Sayah explained the company’s 360 approach. They begin with analyzing operating protocols from each hotel, then return their own version of the protocols designed for that specific property. Next, the Health4Luxury team pays a visit to each property, where they converse with managers and observe employees’ practices, including following housekeepers. Scientists then determine which rooms and which touch points to test in the hotel. They culture various areas in the room to see that they’re clean after their new protocols have been implemented. Finally, the team provides their findings to the hotel. The team later returns unannounced to ensure the protocols they developed are still in effect. Once all checkpoints have been successfully completed, the hotel can proudly display Health4Luxury’s certificate. 

Dr. Sayah made it clear that his goal is not to penalize hotels for missing a step, but to help them ensure the safety of employees and guests through providing quality, scientifically-based feedback. “There’s not one single thing you can do to manage the whole spectrum of things that could go wrong or challenges,” said Daigle. “It’s a combination of things that reduce the risk; it’s not one size fits all.”

Right now, according to this pair of experts, hotels should be focused on staying up to date with technology and the latest developments concerning the virus. Dr. Sayah emphasized that consulting with a healthcare company is extremely important, as matters are changing rapidly. Daigle pinpointed communication as an important aspect of operations, and in regards to health and safety protocols, he encouraged the audience to make sure their teams understand what is being done, how it’s being done, and why it’s being done. He reflected, “I think if you engage the customer, the staff, and the business client to understand exactly what it is we’re doing, the goals we’re trying to reach, and why what we’ve recommended is going to make a difference, everyone is more apt to implement it.” Health4Luxury is ready to arm the hospitality industry with the tools they need to work through these challenges and succeed. 

BLLA Members can watch the full session in the portal here

Article written by Drew Stephenson of BLLA

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