The hotel chain has been working for the reopening of operations. We interviewed Diana Plazas, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer for the Caribbean and Latin America, who gives us a complete overview
How have they worked to help your community?
The steps we are taking for cleanliness and the new standards of hospitality concern both the health and safety of associates and our guests. If we have learned anything during this pandemic, it is that we are all in this together. By caring for associates and following these new protocols, we will collectively care for our guests and the global community.
Marriott International for 92 years has been recognized as a hotel leader for its commitment to quality, exacting standards, and rigorous training of its associates, and also for its PEOPLE FIRST policy, thinking of people first, as our founder JW Marriott taught us , take care of our associates to take care of our guests.
Hotel associates, and their own health, safety and knowledge, are essential to an effective cleaning program. Here are some ways we are supporting them:
-In our daily meetings, our teams are reminded that cleaning begins with the simple act of proper and frequent hand washing. It is important to your health and that of our guests.
-In addition to training on cleaning and hygiene protocols, hotel associates are also completing enhanced COVID-19 awareness training.
-Real-time information is also the order of the day, Marriott’s corporate and regional teams are on hold 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to support hotels and coordinate with local and regional authorities.
Throughout the world, our properties and associates have been taking on the challenge of hosting caregivers or providing safe environments for our guests. Our HR leaders in Latin America are in constant communication and have developed different support and learning actions for them during these difficult times.
For example, in Costa Rica we have delivered food baskets to our people, we have lines of psychological support for our associates, in addition to home training programs and health tips.
Given the unprecedented disruption in the travel industry, unfortunately some of our hotels had to temporarily suspend operations, but even when the hotels ceased operations, associates have found multiple ways to support the communities in which the hotels are located, for example, by donating all your unused products and food items to local charities. A good portion of our properties have been donating pre-packaged and cooked meals and critically important supplies, including cleaning supplies, masks, gloves, antimicrobial wipes, disinfectants, and shower caps for medical and other front-line workers.
For example, in Costa Rica, hotels have supported institutions in our community by participating in different collaborative programs with associations such as Chepe se Baña and Abacor / food bank to donate prepared meals and groceries. In the Guanacaste region, Reserva Conchal hotels joined forces with the Barrios Hermanos association to donate groceries, where for each basket donated by an individual, Reserva Conchal donated another, these baskets are equipped with food for a family of four with supplies for one month.
In Mexico, the Rooms for Responders program was expanded with the support of Grupo Financiero Banorte and Master Card Internacional, which provides free accommodation to health professionals and service providers who are at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19. It is available in some of the most affected areas, including Mexico City, Querétaro, Puebla, and León. Regardless of whether doctors and nurses live locally or have traveled to support overwhelmed hospitals, the initiative offers them the option of staying in a participating hotel, helping to alleviate their concerns about the well-being of loved ones in the home. To implement this project, Marriott International is collaborating with the Mexican Society of Cardiology, the Mexican Society of Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery, and the Mexican Academy of Surgery to benefit doctors and nurses associated with these organizations with free accommodation in the properties. participants.
What initiatives are you implementing?
Regarding sanitation, the key components of Marriott’s Commitment to cleanliness are:
– Marriott Global Cleaning Council: Comprised of internal and external experts in food and water safety, hygiene and infection prevention, and hotel operations, the council will work to develop a new generation of global hospitality cleaning standards, norms, and behaviors for our more than 7,300 properties worldwide.
-The Council is chaired by Ray Bennett, Global Director, Operations, Marriott International, and will benefit from the insights and input of internal and external experts, including leaders from all Marriott disciplines such as cleaning, engineering, food safety, occupational health and well-being of the associate. The Council also includes advisory members Ruth L. Petran, PhD, CFS, Senior Corporate Scientist, Food Safety and Public Health, Ecolab, the world leader in water, hygiene and infection prevention solutions and services; Dr. Michael A. Sauri, Infectious Disease Specialist at Adventist Healthcare; and Dr. Richard Ghiselli, Head of Purdue University School of Hospitality and Tourism Management; and Dr. Randy Worobo, professor of food microbiology in the Food Science Department at Cornell University.
-New Cleaning Technologies: As our council develops its work, we have initiated plans to implement improved technologies on our properties over the next few months, including electrostatic sprays and the highest disinfectant rating recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Diseases and the World Health Organization to disinfect surfaces in all hotels.
-Cleaning Regimen Changes: As mentioned above, when guests check into our hotels in the coming months, they will notice a number of additions to our cleaning regimen designed to set an even higher standard of cleanliness for hotels as well as modifications to the associated guest-host service protocols developed to be consistent with the recommended guidelines for social distancing.
When it comes to reviving the market, we know that our guest community around the world is closer than ever because of their deep yearning to travel again, meanwhile, imagining our next destination may be the start of a new adventure.
From Marriott we want travelers to feel the excitement of scheduling a trip, be it with friends, family or business, always embracing the joy and enthusiasm of discovering new cities and cultures, the alternative and the exotic too, always accompanied by our hotels. For this reason, Marriott Bonvoy has made a series of inspirational videos, short but impressive, with different Latin American destinations such as Peru, Mexico and Puerto Rico called We Will Travel Again (We will Travel Again) that are shared through its official channels on social networks. .
Also in the virtual world, Marriott International has released different images of its properties around the world for video conferencing backgrounds. From the Maldives to a Texas sunset, people can choose backgrounds from impressive properties across 30 brands and daydream in their next virtual chat. Various destinations are available, including a villa in Venice, an outdoor lounge in Los Cabos, and more destinations to come, available at the Marriott News Center.
Also, right now, our Marriott Bonvoy travel program offers one of its richest point promotions for those preparing to travel again. Until June 30, 2020, Marriott offers one of its richest point promotions. Marriott Bonvoy members can give away or buy points for free nights and receive a rich 60% bonus through the Marriott Bonvoy Promotions website.
Likewise, in the hotels that are operational, we have the Caregivers Rate available, a new preferential rate for health service providers, doctors, nurses, government personnel, the public force and community aid organizations, in support of those who against COVID-19, both in medicine and in other fields. The rate will be valid until June 30, 2020, and can be reserved with the QWO code or through the website www.caregivers.marriott.com/es in almost 2,500 hotels around the world. This special rate allows hospitals and medical organizations to make reservations online, immediately and without a prior contract, being able to be closer to health centers and government buildings while assisting in the response efforts of COVID-19.
Within this panorama, how do you prepare to reactivate operations?
In the coming months, when guests are at hotels within the Marriott portfolio, they will notice a number of additions to our cleaning regimen designed to set an even higher standard of cleanliness for hotels. Specific areas of focus include:
-Surface Areas: COVID-19 has raised awareness of the importance of cleaning high contact surfaces. In public spaces, the company has added even more stringent cleaning protocols that require that surfaces be thoroughly treated with hospital-grade disinfectants and that this cleaning be performed more frequently. In rooms, the company has added to its rigorous protocols, ensuring that all surfaces are thoroughly cleaned with hospital-grade disinfectants. Marriott will also place sanitizing wipes in each room for guests’ personal use.
-Contact with host: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) warn of direct person-to-person contact as the primary way COVID-19 spreads. To help alleviate the risk of transmission in this way, the company will use signage in its lobbies to remind guests to maintain social distancing protocols and that furniture will be removed or rearranged to allow more space for distancing. Marriott is evaluating adding partitions at the front desk to provide an additional level of caution for our guests and associates and is working with its suppliers to ensure that associates have access to masks and gloves. The company is also installing more hand sanitizing stations at its hotel entrances, near reception, elevators, gyms, and meeting spaces. Plus, at more than 3,200 Marriott hotels, guests can choose to use their phones to register, access their rooms, make special requests, and order room service that will be specially packaged and delivered directly to the door without contact.
-Food Safety: Marriott’s food safety program includes improved sanitation guidelines and training videos for all operational partners including hygiene and disinfection practices. At Marriott, all food handlers and supervisors are trained in safe food preparation and service practices. Marriott’s food and beverage operations are mandated to perform a self-inspection using the company’s food safety standards as guidance, and compliance is validated by independent audits. Additionally, the company is modifying its operating practices for room service and implementing new approaches to buffets.
In addition, Marriott, which has long had a reputation for high hotel cleaning standards with well-established cleaning and training processes, as already mentioned, has created the Marriott Global Cleaning Council to address the realities of the pandemic. COVID-19 at the hotel level and further advance the company’s efforts in this area. The Marriott Global Cleaning Council will focus on developing the next level of global hospitality cleaning standards, regulations and behaviors designed to minimize risk to both consumers and Marriott associates.
Considering that the forecasts have been ruined, what are the new goals for the end of the year?
Our outlook changes hourly as demand projections will largely depend on how the number of cases slows down, the ease of travel restrictions and the convenience of consumers to travel.
Do you think that the countries that have best managed the health situation will have the advantage to grow in receptiveness?
At this time, the speed with which a region contains the virus is the most important factor in determining the recovery of tourism, since it directly affects both the health of the local population and the availability of disposable income. The impact on the tourism industry in Latin America varies by country, travel restrictions, and government actions to contain viruses.
Most countries have invested resources in short-term stimuli to keep economies going, trying to keep jobs, etc. A concerted effort between governments is key to minimizing the impact: in South America, several countries joined forces to obtain a loan from the IDB to finance subsidies. Educating the population about social distancing, hygiene, and how the virus spreads will help contain the spread.
The collaboration of governments is important to restore the airlift, provide economic, financial and fiscal relief measures to the airport and aviation industry; also the actions of the tourist and destination offices to communicate with the local traveler, create destination incentives to attract groups and inspire confidence and security that traveling is safe again. Also, monitor actions in Europe and Asia to adopt reopening strategies.