Guidelines for Hospitality re-opening and social distancing

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Pubs, bars, restaurants and hotels will need to make some huge changes

The 4th July might traditionally hold a greater place in the hearts of those on the other side of the Atlantic than in the UK but 2020 might be the year that also sees celebrations in the UK. As the fourth of July is the date for the reopening of pubs, bars, restaurants, hotels & B&B’s across England.

Although great news for the UK hospitality industry, the sector won’t be signing a declaration of independence from social distancing measures. Although the Prime Minister announced a reduction in the 2 metre rule to one metre plus, they’ll be a raft of changes that hospitality providers will need to make to adhere to the new rules.

By their nature hospitality businesses encourage us to break social distancing by coming together to eat, drink and enjoy entertainment at close quarters.

There’s going to be a need to comply with social distancing and ensure the safety of customers while also operating efficiently and effectively if they’re to make up for over 3 months worth of lost revenues.

Here we run through how different types of hospitality businesses can address the challenge of operating successfully when they reopen their doors.

Bars & pubs

How to collect customer details?
Can you imagine the scenes as customers provide their details to staff standing at the door collecting contact information? “Do you spell it with an I or a Y” as Brian with an I arrives at the front doors of the Dog & Duck. It’s going to make some of the spelling mistakes left on Starbucks cups look tame.

On a serious note, staff aren’t going to be able to collect the details of everybody entering a bar or pub. It’s going to be massively time consuming and prone to too much human error, which with something so serious as COVID-19 isn’t going to be acceptable. Nor can you ask customers to write their own details down, as there will be more pens being discarded than empty beer bottles.

The answer could well be utilizing the guest WiFi. As part of the log-in journey customers could be made to fill in a short form with their name and contact details or could log-in using their social media accounts which would also allow companies to collect this information.

It not only takes the pressure off the employees but eliminates human error as the customer will be the ones inputting the details. The additional benefits will be that as well as having all of the details collected digitally on a central CRM, you will have detailed information on when the customer arrived and when they left.

How can they manage social distancing effectively?
Social density scoring could be used to see how densely populated the venue is. A simple calculation could be used which involves the number of people present in the venue and the size of the premises. Smart clickers could be used at points of entry or exit, which automatically calculates the score and displays a red, amber or green rating reflecting how densely populated the pub is.

Customer feedback will also play a part. Bars & pubs are going to need a way of being able to collect customer feedback around how they’re performing against social distancing and hygiene measures and be able to act on this feedback promptly.

Both social density scoring and responsibility ratings are components of Purple’s Social Responsibility Dashboard.


How to collect customer details?
They’ve already got the customer contact details from the booking I hear you say! Well yes they have, but only of the lead person on the booking. Are they really going to ask a party of 6 people for all their individual details? Is that efficient? They could get them to write down their details but is that responsible given how many other people may have touched the pens throughout the day? The easiest way would be to get each customer to authenticate onto the guest WiFi and collect their contact details that way. It’s also going to be less intrusive for the customer as they’ll be receiving something in return for their contact information.

How can they manage social distancing effectively?
The key for restaurants will be gathering customer feedback and adapting as quickly as possible to this feedback. Nearly a third of customers will walk away from a brand after one bad experience, so the need to listen to customers and get it right is vital.

Four questions that restaurants should be asking their customers when they reopen their doors are:

  1. How well was social distancing adhered to?
  2. Were employees wearing the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?
  3. How clean did you feel the environment was?
  4. How safe did you feel during your visit?

The responses to these questions should then be used to implement changes to ensure that customers feel as comfortable as possible about

Hotels and lodging
Guests are going to be less likely to congregate in communal areas and room service is likely to become the standard rather than the exception. Guests are also less likely to venture out of the hotel to explore the local neighbourhood.

With that a reliable and quick guest WiFi will become an even more critical part of the experience. Hotels should take this opportunity to ensure that they’ve got a clean and consistent log-in journey while also ensuring that they’re promoting any additional services that drive revenue such as Apps and room service.

The opportunity is also there to be able to collect customer contact information to keep customers informed on any protocols that need to be followed and on what measures are in place. It could also be an effective way for hotels, B&Bs and caravan parks to collect the contact information of customers who aren’t lead names on the bookings, something that they’ll be obliged to do under the government’s new social distancing guidelines.

Hotels should also be asking the same four questions to customers as restaurants. From asking these questions they’ll be able to use a platform such as Purple’s Social Responsibility Dashboard to produce a responsibility rating which can be shared with customers to reassure them that they’ve put in as many measures as possible to protect their health & safety.

Our Social Responsibility Dashboard & Guest WiFi is designed to help businesses in the hospitality and other sectors adhere to social distancing guidelines. Key components include: contact information collection, social density scoring, responsibility ratings, NPS and a clear red, amber and green status.

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