A hotel reservation is no longer just a question of dates, availability and amenities. Whether for work, vacations, or visiting family, people continue to travel, despite the pandemic. However, the once simple booking process has changed a lot.
Look for flexible cancellation policies
Flexible cancellation policies are extremely important. The number of new cases can vary considerably from region to region, from day to day. It is therefore desirable to have the option of canceling free of charge, if you do not feel comfortable continuing the trip as planned.
Use hotel websites
It is also imperative to search for hotels directly on their websites, rather than through online travel agencies or booking sites. “Property employees know the hotel better than anyone, as well as all local public health recommendations,” said Thom Geshay, president of a hotel chain in the United States.
Third-party booking sites also don’t offer information about each hotel’s cleanliness standards – they simply state the location and price. And if you’re concerned about the price, many hotels get creative and offer special packages to pique travelers’ interest in this low-traffic period. These offers are only offered through their own websites, adds Geshay.
Compare cleaning policies
Do your research ahead of time to make sure the hotel has rigorous cleaning and disinfection protocols in place. Whether the hotel is part of a large chain or not, it must make information available on its website about the measures in force. If not, sound the alarm bells!
“Make sure the hotel you choose takes your health just as seriously as you do,” says Frank Cavella, sales and marketing manager for a hotel chain in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Check your budget
A higher price to stay doesn’t necessarily mean that the hotel will be cleaner, but it can. Geshay suggests staying in more sophisticated, professionally managed properties, as the new cleanliness standards are not only more stringent, but also more expensive.
“Independent managers and less sophisticated hotels tend to cut corners to cut spending,” he adds. “To travel hassle-free now, don’t just look for the cheapest price!”
Think about the length of stay
Make your stay worth it by staying longer than you normally would. If your time and budget allow it of course. Simon Rodrigues, sales and marketing manager for a Massachusetts hotel chain, says a few guests have extended their stays by several nights. They got used to the security measures that have been put in place, Rodrigues explains.