Avani Hotels & Resorts is rolling out new health and safety measures across its 32 properties. 

The company joins a slew of hotels that have recently launched new cleaning and sanitising programmes to restore confidence in travellers in the face of health and safety concerns due to the coronavirus crisis.

Dubbed “Avanishield”, the company said the programme will see all of its 32 properties in 18 countries gradually adopt a range of “heightened” hygiene and sanitising standards to “ensure the health and safety of guests and team members”. 

Emphasis on minimising touch 

Guests could be greeted with “country-specific hand gestures” such as the traditional Thai wai greeting, Korean jeol bowing, the hand-over-heart gesture, and even the Vulcan salute popularised by Star Trek, Avani hotels said in a press release. 

The company will also digitalise check-in and check-out processes. Guests will have to fill out registration cards on their mobiles on the way to the hotel. They will then find their room key waiting for them at reception. Prior to check-out, guests will be able to settle their bill via a secure online payment system and receive the receipt via email.

Avani Hotels said it will launch a “Digital Concierge App” soon so that guests can directly contact guest service, browse menus, order in-room dining and book off-property experiences.

Enhanced sanitising procedures 

Everything coming into the hotel, including luggage, boxes and supplies, will be sanitised, said the company. 

Avani Hotels is also covering “high-touch” surfaces with anti-microbial copper protection film, introducing HEPA-grade Air Purifiers in rooms and gyms. 

The company said it UVC sterilisation boxes will be used to disinfect key cards, stationery and other high touch objects. Guests can request a complimentary mobile device disinfecting service.

“In addition, the housekeeping team has begun testing a cleaning method with UVC light as an extra layer of protection after cleaning which is proven to kill germs and bacteria with 99.99% effectiveness,” said Avani Hotels in a press release. 

The company said it will also hire a “dedicated AvanishieldAgent” responsible for implementing “new cleaning protocols”, as well as ensuring the latest health and safety guidelines are communicated to the team in a timely manner. 

Each guest room will be sealed for 24 hours after cleaning  during which time the housekeeping team cannot enter and this waiting period will become mandatory prior to allocating rooms to guests, Avani Hotels said. 

Physical distancing at restaurants and gyms

At its restaurants, buffets will be replaced with “à la minute food” preparation “focusing on freshness, safe food handling and Avani’s zero waste initiative”. Restaurants will be spacing out tables to practice physical distancing, and walk-in guests will be asked for their contact details to facilitate contact tracing, the company said. Menus will be available digitally or via QR code on a smartphone.

Gyms at the hotel will will be following the physical distancing rule “ensuring that only a small number of guests are exercising at a given time”. Avani said it is also “looking into” in-room workout gear and training videos.

The hotel company said it has also released an internal protocol regulating the use of protective face masks, frequency of temperature checks and a disinfection process for team members entering work premises, with measures varying by country. 

Business Traveller Asia-Pacific has asked the hotel company when it will start introducing these measures.