Four Seasons has rolled out the vision for its hotels to be prepared to receive guests and monitor ongoing health and safety for the group.
The luxury hotel group has 117 operating properties – and 50 projects underway – in 47 countries, and has worked with Johns Hopkins Medicine International to help create the enhanced health and safety initiatives as part of the new Lead With Care programme, likely to be seen as a benchmark for the luxury hotel industry.
The two companies have also established a Covid-19 Advisory Board to inform health and safety decisions based on the latest scientific knowledge with the new partnership also allowing for “ongoing, real-time guidance on the evolving situation”.
“Within this new environment, our singular goal is to provide guests, residents and employees with the confidence and assurance that their health and safety is our first priority,” said John Davison, president and chief executive, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.
“This new programme is about offering genuine care and the highest levels of service, enhancing procedures to protect our guests, residents and employees, while also ensuring that they feel safe and reassured.”
Some of the immediate measures of Lead With Care will include rooms disinfected daily with EPA-approved products and blacklight inspection by room attendants, along with focused re-training for housekeeping teams on all cleaning protocols and hourly cleaning of public areas.
Lead With Care kits will be placed in each guest room, featuring masks, hand sanitizer and sanitization wipes, with additional masks supplied on demand.
Social distancing measures will include appropriately-spaced fitness equipment, modified spa menu and services, contactless check-in and housekeeping services, while restaurants and bars may operate with reduced capacity to ensure adequate space and socially distant set-up.
Many restaurants providing a-la-carte service are to provide digital menus, while in-room dining will be left outside guests’ rooms using contactless delivery and sustainable, single-use packaging.
As well as practical training on the measures, and details around the disease itself, staff will also undergo behavioural training, to “ensure empathetic, personalized care and connection are not lost in the absence of close contact and limited face to face interaction”.
The group said their procedures were being partly informed by the early experience of Four Seasons Hotel New York and Four Seasons hotels in Riyadh and Mumbai, which provided accommodation to high-risk medical personnel locally.
The Four Seasons Hotel New York quickly became a “safely zoned environment” at the height of the city’s crisis, implementing enhanced procedures to safely house guests and train all employees.
“While the Four Seasons experience may look different in this new environment, it will ultimately feel the same – our dedicated people will continue to deliver the same intuitive service and personalized care for which Four Seasons is known and trusted for the world over,” said Christian Clerc, president of global operations.
Each Four Seasons property will have a dedicated “hygiene officer” focused purely on implementing enhancements to what were said to be already stringent procedures, the group said, and to use intelligence from the advisory board to respond quickly around infection control safety measures.
There will also be an overall joint Response Team, where senior experts in infectious diseases from Johns Hopkins will provide on-demand response and guidance to hotels facing Covid-19 situations.
Lead With Care implementation will also be done in tandem with EcoLab and International SOS for behind-the-scenes measures, employee training, additional food handling protocols, and enhancements to ventilation systems and other back-of-the-house operations.
To limit guest contact where necessary, or preferred, Four Seasons will look to enhance the functions of its existing app and chat functions to limit face-to-face interactions.
Four Seasons Chat is supported by employees on property, rather than chatbots, and features can include hotel reservations, requesting luggage pickup, airport transfers, room service, restaurant and spa reservations, while a wait-free check-in and check-out service is already also offered.
The group’s Covid-19 Advisory Board is also said to be exploring options to equip properties with the latest tools and technology, including electrostatic spraying, ozone technology for air purification and/or UV technology for HVAC systems.