With global lockdown restrictions starting to ease we are looking at fully reopening our properties across Europe with our new commitment to hygiene, Ascott Cares. We believe that serviced apartments will become an increasingly popular choice for business and leisure travellers alike as we enter the ‘new normal’ for travel. Serviced apartments are a great option for even the most cautious of travellers as they provide separate living, working, and dining areas and are thoroughly and professionally cleaned by our housekeeping team.
Throughout the pandemic we have kept 23 properties in Europe open, including all of our London Citadines properties, to house long-stay guests, frontline clinical staff and key workers.
Safety and hygiene
We are in the process of preparing to fully reopen properties for both transient and corporate guests in stages depending on Government guidelines. From this month we will start to fully reopen properties in France, Spain and Belgium and we are looking to fully open our UK Citadines Apart’hotel properties and The Cavendish London hotel in the coming weeks.
The health and safety of our guests and staff remains our top priority and we are running frequent risk assessments so we can operate in line with Government guidelines and introduce a number of new of safety measures to ensure maximum protection for everyone.
We have been busy establishing a number of extra measures and services, which build upon the already high standards of housekeeping and hygiene, including having a period of non-occupation between guest stays for up to 72 hours before cleaning commences. Also, we have ensured that all our housekeeping staff are equipped with extra PPE and we have increased our cleaning procedures throughout all properties.
We have made other changes to our services, including suspending our buffet breakfast offering and instead providing a grab and go service, which are delivered to each apartment. We have also implemented plexiglass protection at receptions and a cashless policy to reduce physical contact.
Beginning this month, we have progressively rolled out our new ‘Ascott Cares’ commitment across our global portfolio. Ascott Cares is there to reassure guests and staff that we will deliver stringent hygiene and cleanliness standards as well as safe distancing to continue providing a safe home for our guests and a safe working environment for our staff. We have ensured that all of our protocols are in compliance with the World Health Organization standards and local regulations.
‘Ascott Cares’ covers nine commitments to enhance our existing cleanliness protocols:
- Our Staff’s Work Environment
- Guest Safety
- Physical Distancing
- Apartments & Rooms
- Food & Beverage
- Shared Facilities
- Contactless & Paperless
- Our Vendors
The benefits of serviced apartments
All of our apartment types have separate living, working, and dining areas and offer ample space within for guests to unwind, exercise, work and have their meals. Guests can make use of the fully equipped kitchen and refrigerator within the apartment if they do not want to order delivery meals. With high-speed Wi-Fi, guests can stay in touch with their loved ones or attend and host online meetings with their colleagues. We are busy redefining our guest experience given the likelihood of a long-term shift towards more working from home, the fact that travellers have deeper health and safety concerns and a rapidly digitising world.
I personally believe that the serviced apartments industry will come out of this crisis stronger than ever and that there will be a greater demand for self-catering properties and serviced apartments. Serviced residences are more resilient than hotels as they are self-contained, making them a safe and secure option for accommodation, and can cater to extended stays. Although travel will remain domestic for a while, we are expecting international travel for corporate and leisure guests to progressively return by the end of the year to beginning of 2021.