OYO is gearing up for the reopening of its independently-owned UK properties by publishing new procedures which will “focus on a minimal-touch experience, ensuring stringent levels of hygiene and accounting for the ongoing need for social distancing”.

The group currently has over 200 small and mid-sized properties in the UK, ranging from “seafront guesthouses and B&Bs to traditional inns and city-centre business hotels”.

Updated operating procedures which have been introduced to partners via webinar include:

  • Excess furniture being removed from lobby areas to create extra space and discourage guests from using chairs and sofas
  • Markings being placed on the floor to enable social distancing
  • Disinfected room keys and TV remote controls being handed to guests inside ziplock bags
  • A supply of polybags in rooms for guests to use for dirty towels and used toiletries
  • Staff being refrained from handling guests’ luggage “unless there is a particular need”
  • Lifts only being shared by one family or the occupants of one room at a time
  • Hotels being supplied with posters containing information on coronavirus symptoms and hand-washing techniques
  • Hotels being asked to maintain stocks of hand sanitiser, masks and disposable gloves for both staff and guests
  • Managers being encouraged to explore new ways to engage with guests, such as video calls
  • Guests being sent online payment links at check-out, enabling them to settle their bill online rather than by cash or card

OYO says that it will introduce a ‘Sanitised Stays’ tags on its online property descriptions, to indicate that “staff are fully trained in the new processes and that the hotel has reached a high compliance level in implementing them”.

Commenting on the measures Rishabh Gupta, head of OYO UK and Europe, said:

“The ‘new normal’ that the hotel industry faces in the post-lockdown environment presents a real set of challenges for small, independent, neighbourhood hotels which generally operate with limited resources and budgets.

“OYO is working with our partners to introduce tailored solutions that balance excellent hygiene with cost efficiencies; utilising technology as well as practical steps to enable these valued hotels remain both attractive and viable.”

“Some measures might require the cooperation and goodwill of guests, or go against the hotelier’s natural instinct to aide the guest at every juncture, but we’re sure that everyone will understand that these procedures are being followed for everyone’s wellbeing. OYO and our partners are looking forward to re-opening our hotels as soon as the respective governments permit.”

OYO said that it was also developing technology for app-based remote check-in, as well as exploring “digital key boxes” allowing guests to collect their key outside their room instead of at reception.