We spoke to our friends at Global Secure Accreditation to find out more.
No sooner than we witnessed the dawn of 2020, hotels were confronted with a new and most unwelcome intruder onto their premises: COVID-19 – an invisible threat which knows no bounds as to how it finds ways into a hotel, or anywhere else for that matter.
The very nature of hotels means they, in common with the wider hospitality sector, are amongst the worst impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic. Hotels are places where people come together for business and leisure, but they do so expecting to be safe and secure. In these unprecedented times, hotels’ definition of safety and security is changing rapidly, to put a greater emphasis on hygiene and health security.
The hotel sector has proved remarkably resilient in recent years but now faces its most daunting challenge. Having coped with the worst impacts of the financial crisis of 2007/08 by demonstrating imagination, innovation and outright determination, the sector has achieved considerable growth over the past decade. This is despite facing continued commercial and operational challenges ranging from the fast-changing trends in the travel market, to the increasingly sophisticated threat from criminals and terrorists.
In the absence of consistent guidance, hotels are actively reviewing their existing hygiene and health protection processes to ensure effective standards at every point from arrival to departure, taking into account local circumstances. A standards framework, against which any plans or protocols can be assessed and independently assured, is required to give guests, employees, and corporates confidence that the plans are robust and externally assessed.
A recent Global Business Travel Association survey indicated that guidelines and standards are critically important across all verticals pertaining to the business travel industry and, 96% reported them vital concerning the hotel industry.
The key to a successful approach is a comprehensive plan and independent standard for enhanced hygiene and health protection which incorporates well considered processes and procedures across all hotel operations to prevent infection, respond if there is a spread of the infection and reassure all parties that the environment is and remains safe for them, including:
- Strategic Risk Management
- Staff Responsibilities & Training
- Communications Strategy & Policy
- Prevention of the Spread of Infection (POSI)
- Incident Management
- General Hygiene Procedures
- Area Specific Hygiene Procedures
This standard has been designed by security and safety specialists from Global Secure Accreditation (GSA) with input from Collinson Group medical experts, who have assembled the best available international knowledge and specifically applied it to the hotel sector, to enable hotels to demonstrate that theirs is a safe environment. Uniquely, this Standard is independently certified to provide that additional assurance by Skills for Health (part of SFJ Awards, a UK Government approved global awarding body) which has international reach.
Dr. Simon Worrell, Global Medical Director at Collinson Group, says: “The approach that has been taken and the level of detail described in Global Secure Accreditation’s good practice document, is excellent. I’m particularly impressed with the depth of technical research and the practical application of that knowledge to the hotel sector. The standards cover all areas of the hotel’s operation and provide reassurance to staff and guests that the hotel has taken a thorough and comprehensive approach to ensuring their safety from COVID-19.”
The COVID-19 Risk Management Audit instils confidence in guests and staff that the hotel or other venue is following widely accepted best practice. This is measured by how they are functioning to control the virus from entering the property, to limit any ability for a virus to spread within the property, and to ensure they have an action plan in the event of any suspicious health event, whilst delivering the best possible customer experience for guests.
For a full overview of Global Secure Accreditation, services description and best practices, please visit their website or call +44 (0)20 3874 0260