TUI has introduced a 10-point plan with measures and standards relating to Covid-19 in order to reopen its hotels.
In addition to organisation, capacity planning and hygiene measures, the plan also includes intensive training of local staff.
The new standards will be implemented in TUI's own hotel brands as well as joint venture and hotel partners.
Sebastian Ebel, member of the Group Executive Board responsible for Holiday Experiences, said: "Customer surveys clearly indicate that safety and hygiene will be of paramount importance for holidaymakers after the lockdown.
"With our Group-wide, integrated health and safety management system, we can ensure that our hotels meet guests' high expectations and offer the best possible protection against infections during these unusual times. We are laying the foundations for an agile and safe return to business so we can be ready to offer our unique holiday experiences again as soon as possible."
The detailed plan involves:
1) Online check-in: Holidaymakers can make check-in contactless at many hotels by checking in online via the hotel's website or via their smartphone.
2) Distance rule: In public areas such as in the restaurants, corridors or gyms, all employees are required to keep a distance of 1.5 to two metres between them and the guests. For example, tables in restaurants will only be cleaned when guests have vacated them.
3) Personnel planning: Staff will work together in fixed teams in order to reconstruct possible infection chains.
4) Restaurant: To limit the number of guests in restaurants capacities will be significantly reduced. Tables will be set up at a minimum distance of 1.5 metres apart.
5) Extension of opening hours: In order to provide sufficient space for all guests, the opening hours of restaurants and other hotel facilities will be extended.
6) Entertainment and activities: Only events, sports and entertainments involving a small number of participants and without close contact will be made available. Golf or tennis, for example, can take place, but football tournaments cannot. The spa offer will be adapted and childcare will be organised according to new standards in line with the requirements of the destinations and guests' countries of origin.
Hygiene and disinfection
7) Expansion of disinfectant dispensers: The number of dispensers will be significantly increased so that guests and employees can disinfect their hands at all important contact points. For example, all locations where food and drink is offered, sports facilities and in the lobby area.
8) Room cleaning: Extensive new cleaning practices will be put in place to provide the best possible protection against potential Covid-19 viruses. All rooms will be thoroughly deep cleaned before the arrival of guests and the same intensely robust cleaning protocols will be applied during every guest change over. The most frequently used areas, such as bathrooms, and most used devices and appliances like TV remote controls will receive particular attention.
9) Restriction of self-service: Self-service offers such as buffets will be reduced to a minimum. Wherever possible, food and beverages will be served to guests by staff wearing protective masks.
Extensive training programme
10) Training by independent auditors: TUI will train all employees in its own hotels. The first training documents will be made available this week.
These measures will be in addition to the statutory regulations of the respective destinations.
For partner hotels not operated by TUI, the Group has also launched a comprehensive training and inspection programme with hygiene and safety consultancy Cristal International Standards.
This includes training materials, webinars, checklists and customer information and will be made available to the joint venture partners and hotel operators imminently.
"With this set of measures we are creating the framework required to ensure we can offer our guests enjoyable and safe holiday experiences as soon travel restrictions are lifted. TUI can be relied upon to continue working hard, in close partnership with tourist destinations around the world, towards the gradual opening up of global tourism," added Ebel.
Jim Hepple is an Assistant Professor at the University of Aruba and is Managing Director of Tourism Analytics.