- Amit Sharma, general manager at Four Point By Sheraton in Hurlingham says the safety and comfort of customers come first.
- According to Booking.com, Health is now the leading factor, followed by location, price and comfort in that order.
Automatic doors, hand sanitizer dispensers and ‘1.5-meter apart’ marks welcome you to Four Points by Sheraton Hotels both in Hurlingham and at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).
Probably, these are not the best indicators of transformation that has taken place at these facilities at the heart of Kenya’s capital, Nairobi enters the restaurants or rooms.
There is no longer a manual menu at the hotel. You are required to install a bar code scanner, in case you don’t have one, to access the menu and place your order.
No more than two people are allowed to sit on one table with at least 1.5 meters apart.
This is the snippet of the massive, elaborate and seemingly expensive transformation that the hotel has been forced to undergo in the last six months. This is the case with most, if not all, hotels and restaurants in the city.
Amit Sharma, general manager at Four Point By Sheraton in Hurlingham says the safety and comfort of customers come first.
The transformation came at a cost, but it was necessary. We have adhered to the health protocol to a higher degree without compromising quality at every installation in the hotel,'' Sharma said.
He personally check rooms, restaurants, the scenic swimming pool at the rooftop gym and reception to ensure Covid-19 health measures are observed.
The outbreak of the Covid 19 pandemic has forced hotels and restaurants to undergo a painful and expensive transformation so as to cope with a new reality brought about by the virus.
The hospitality industry has been the worst hit by the pandemic that saw the government order closure of eateries for months as it fought to contain the spread of the contagion.
After several months of closure, the government allowed for reopening of the hotels and restaurants albeit with a raft of conditions to ensure among others social distancing to tame the virus.
Just like at the Hurlingham facility, the transformation has happened in nearly every department at the five-star hotel at the heart of the country’s busiest International Airport.
“As other hotels closed, we remained open for the entire period. We did an overhaul if I can say so, of our operations,” Andrew Makau, a food, and beverage manager said.
Nearly everything has been automated at the hotel. As you enter the main gate, security guards direct you the automatic hand sanitizer dispensers. The gate automatically opens as you head towards the main entrance.
As you approach, another dispenser is mounted, you are required to sanitize before you go through the automatic door.
Inside, the marks showing you the distance that you should observe are clearly indicated.
As you approach the customer care desk, the marks inform you to keep a 1.5-meter distance.
The receptionist is wearing face guards, masks and gloves. Transactions here are automated.
As you head to the lifts, Covid-19 containment measures are mounted at the door, indicating the users that not more than two people are allowed to use one lift at ago.
In the room, a hand sanitizer, facemasks and soaps are what welcome you. Just like in the restaurants, placement of orders for meals to be served in the room is automatic.
“Once a person has checked out of the room, we don’t allow another person until after at least 24 hours. We clean all the bedsheets and fumigate the room,” Makau says.
He adds, “We are not leaving anything to chance. Our staff have undergone Covid-19 tests at least four times since the virus hit the country in March.”
As the Covid-19 curve slowly starts to flatten, hotel patrons are becoming more health-conscious, with the latest survey Booking.com indicating that health measures have outstripped price and comfort as customers' indicators in selecting a facility.
Health is now the leading factor, followed by location, price and comfort in that order.
Hotels that have prioritised the health safety of customers are likely to reap dividends as the world slowly returns to normalcy,'' the survey said.