While the full extent of COVID-19's global impact is yet unknown, it's a good idea to take precautionary measures to protect yourself, your employees and your business.
It's becoming increasingly important to remain at home to avoid spreading COVID-19. In light of this, here are some recommendations to help.
Go virtual. While there is nothing like in-person human interaction, consider offering virtual courses and consultations through video or live stream. Many meetings and classes can be moved online using tools like Google Hangouts, Skype and more.
Be flexible. Postpone your appointments or services and allow customers to do the same–especially if they don’t feel well or have traveled recently. Offer customers coupons and encourage them to reschedule to avoid unnecessary risks. Have your clients’ contact information up to date in case you need to reach out to them.
Double down on hygiene. Let clients know the steps you're taking to keep your business environment clean and safe. This is especially relevant to gyms, beauty and health/wellness businesses. Consider these safeguards:
• Keep hand sanitizer, disposable wipes, soap and tissues on hand. Remind clients and staff to use them regularly.
• Ensure everyone washes their hands (for at least 20 seconds).
• Post reminders to avoid handshaking and touching your face.
• If relevant, wear protective gear and change them between each client.
• Add extra buffer time between appointments to thoroughly clean stations and disinfect all equipment used.
Modify your payment plans. Create payment options to accommodate clients during this time period. Update your pricing plans to promote online interactions, such as flexible appointment scheduling or video appointments. Offer special discounts to loyal customers.
Protect your staff. Keep staff up to date with the latest regulations from local health authorities. Make sure they wear gloves while handling check-ins, baggage and cleaning rooms. Teach your team to identify common symptoms of the virus and what to do next.
Be proactive about sanitation. The virus can live on some surfaces for up to 3 days. Consider these tips for keeping your guests and work environment safe:
• Wipe down your front desk throughout the day using a cleaning solution with at least 70% alcohol.
• Encourage guests to wash their hands. Visibly place hand sanitizer, soap and tissues in common areas.
• Add a sanitation kit as part of your guest room amenities.
• Routinely disinfect surfaces people touch, including elevator buttons, door knobs, room keys/cards, TV remotes, bed-side phones, light switches and more.
• Use disinfectant when washing linens.
Avoid close contact between guests. Consider temporarily closing your hotel gym, pool and/or spa. Encourage customers to eat their meals in their room instead of gathering in your restaurant. Provide pre-made, ready-to-go breakfasts instead of a buffet selection.
Use disposable wear. Remove glassware from guest rooms and swap them out for disposable ones. Serve food on disposable plates—even better, make them recyclable.
Be quick to assist ill guests. Tell guests to notify the front desk if they're not feeling well, or experience any common symptoms of the virus. Assist them with staying in their room. Contact local health authorities and follow the protocol they provide. Ensure guests have emergency contact numbers for your country.
Encourage guests to self-quarantine. If needed, follow local health regulations and assist your guests with staying put. Offer room service and leave meals outside their room. Make sure your staff avoids contact with quarantined individuals. Once they check out, it's recommended to wait three days before cleaning.
Discount mindfully. Don’t be quick to discount your rooms and services. This can negatively impact your revenue. Instead, offer coupons and special packages. Be strategic, creative and thoughtful so guests feel safe and welcome.
Encourage online ordering. Provide customers with an easy option to order food online—pickup or delivery. Use special offers to make this option appealing. Reduce your delivery rate and offer deals for repeat customers.
Stock up on foreign ingredients. Delivery times may be delayed as the virus continues to spread. Make sure your store is well stocked with hard-to-get ingredients that can remain fresh long-term.
Create a new hygiene protocol. Train your employees to take extra precautions that keep your restaurant clean. Make sure everyone washes their hands thoroughly and frequently. Scrub all food surfaces, tabletops and tableware between customers. Follow guidelines from your local health department. Avoid unnecessary physical contact.
Postpone your event. Unfortunately, postponing your event may be the best way to ensure you keep everyone safe. Change the date on your event page to a later date or set it to TBD.
Update your employees with the latest news, developments and health regulations. Provide this information in multiple languages to make sure everyone understands. Look out for common symptoms of the coronavirus like a dry cough, shortness of breath and/or fever. Create hygiene stations in the workplace and make sure your team is following protocol to keep everyone healthy. Encourage employees to work from home if they're not feeling well, or if they traveled recently.
Provide hygiene stations. Set up stations where attendees can wash their hands. Include sanitation gel with your giveaway bags. You can even brand these items with your logo.
Be prepared to think on your feet and work around issues as they arise. Consider innovative solutions and be flexible so you can ensure customers will return. There is no one-size-fits-all plan. Find solutions that are right for you and your business.