As we see a gradual return to business travel, we are also seeing a new set of standards for accommodation cleanliness, says Gary Hurst, Founder & CEO of MYSA, who believes that going forward, corporate teams need to build a more fastidious checklist on health, safety and hygiene. Here’s his advice to travel buyers.
Consider serviced accommodation
Hotels have made major efforts to ramp up their cleanliness but there are some clear advantages to swapping to serviced accommodation where possible. Serviced apartments have few or zero communal areas, many offer remote check-in and, most importantly, an entire private living space in which travellers can feel safely cocooned. Travellers can also cook for themselves and even carry out additional cleaning.
Recognise reputable third-party accreditation
Health and safety can be a complex business. Consider properties attached to a reputable accreditation scheme. There are already many emerging. In June the AA introduced its own Covid Confident accreditation for UK hospitality, while international hotel chains are partnering with third-party organisations, such as SGS, for their hygiene schemes. In serviced accommodation, look for properties accredited by the International Serviced Accommodation Accreditation Programme (ISAAP). The scheme requires an enhanced process for hygiene and cleaning standards as set out by European Industry Body, the Association of Serviced Apartment Providers (ASAP).
Create a curated pool of properties
For now, the feasibility of giving travel bookers a free rein to search out the best deal is in doubt. And, in the short-term at least, travel managers will need to restrict what’s available. To mitigate this, create a curated selection of pre-approved properties that fit health and safety criteria, and provide additional information, such as check-in processes and commute options, to reassure travellers.
Where possible, deal direct
Being able to book direct is particularly significant with serviced accommodation. Transparency is now essential and to meet new health and safety criteria, additional information on property management, layouts, facilities, and cleaning protocols is necessary. But that information can be difficult to acquire and verify so partnering with a company like MYSA to manage a specific serviced accommodation RFP ensures a comprehensive audit is actioned.