Some hotels that have closed their doors to guests due to the COVID-19 pandemic have kept some staff on board to work on cleaning, renovations and sales strategies.
REPORT FROM THE U.S.—Many hotels are temporarily closed to guests because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but some are operating with limited staff to get things done while buildings are empty to prepare for reopening, sources said.
The Hotel at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland, has some of its sales team going on property to give virtual tours to weddings and other groups, said Jeff Brainard, VP of sales for Southern Management Corporation’s hospitality division, which manages the hotel.
The Hotel at the University of Maryland also has a team that helps other residential and hotel properties.
“We set up a command center at the Hotel at the University of Maryland that deploys teams to our residential and hotel properties to provide sanitization services if required, provide PPE (personal protective equipment) and other materials and, for a time, we produced in-house masks for our teams in non-frontline support areas,” he said. “Now that we have adequate supplies of PPE coming in, we have halted the in-house mask production portion, but the rest of the command center operations continue. It has been key for us as we have been able to provide work for several of our hospitality team members as a part of this, and all have received amazing training.”
The hotel has worked on preventative maintenance and cleaning carpets and furniture since being temporarily closed to guests, Brainard said. The property is starting to think about new processes and procedures for when the hotel reopens and training staff on those since things will be different once lockdowns and travel restrictions have lifted.
Aspen Meadows Resort
The Aspen Meadows Resort in Aspen, Colorado, closed on 1 April and has a goal of reopening on 1 June, said Jason MacEachen, director of catering and conference services at the resort.
The property is closed to guests, but it is working with a limited crew consisting of the GM, director of finance, some food-and-beverage staff, two sales managers and a few members in catering, conference and planning, he said.
The resort was busy from summer 2019 up until the pandemic hit, which left little time to clean and make updates to the resort built in the 1950s, he said.
“There’s always something to clean and fix and organize to get ready, so we’re doing some of that work,” MacEachen said.
He added that the owners of Aspen Meadows Resort “were really gracious to keep us employed to clean up the cancellations and really work hard on the rebookings (and) focus on building those customer relationships.”
Peachtree Hotel Group
Peachtree Hotel Group currently has three hotels that are closed to guests, two of which are unbranded and currently undergoing renovations, said Patrick Short, VP of operations.
These hotels are currently operating with limited staff, but someone is always on property 24 hours a day, he said.
The renovations on the two hotels started before the pandemic and Peachtree decided to continue with the renovation timeline set for those properties, he said. The brands have been good in working with the companies to complete these renovations, he added.