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‘Trip’ping over safety

On National Tourism Day, we speak to airlines, hotels and travel bloggers about travelling in the new normal, how the hospitality industry is stepping up amid the pandemic, and travelling responsibly.

Published: 25th January 2022 02:24 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th January 2022 02:24 AM   |  A+A-

Hotel cleaning, guest safety

Image used for representational purpose.

By Express News Service

HYDERABAD:  One of the many things most of us have missed out on, in the past two years, is travelling. But things seem to be getting better, with the travel and hospitality industry striving towards making travelling amid the new normal safe and responsible. On the occasion of National Tourism Day, airlines, hotels and travel bloggers share how the industry and travellers are stepping up amid Covid. 

Popular travel blogger from the city, Shagun Segan believes that the standards of various hotels and airlines have always been high, but travellers have begun to care more about hygiene and safety protocol now. “For example, hotels always sanitised their rooms after every checkout, but people care about it only now. The same goes for air purifiers. People didn’t know they existed, but they were already in use. Airlines have been using hepa filters, and the air in their cabin is changed every 90 seconds to maintain pressure. The only difference today is that companies are reinstating it all to ensure their customers trust them with their travel and stay. There of course are the routine RT-PCR result requirements, aside from the mandatory temperature checks, among others,” shares Shagun, who goes by @eattripclik on Instagram and has over 2 lakh followers. 

Shagun Segan

Novotel Airport Hyderabad has successfully embraced the new normal and applied revised standards of operations to adjust to the current situation. “We have partnered with experts to enhance our hygiene and sanitation protocols across our hotel, focusing on various guest touch points through our ‘All Safe’ programme. For our guests, we have a comprehensive hygiene kit placed in the rooms and public areas. All key touch points are disinfected constantly. We are adhering to strict protocols to ensure our guests’ well-being and safety -- from screening of body temperature to disinfection of key touch areas and a contactless check-in experience. All guest rooms are held for 24 hours post checkout and thoroughly sanitised before releasing it to another guest,” says Rubeena Khan, the marketing manager. 

The hotel also offers exclusive staycation packages to attract the local residents. They recognise the need to cater to customers looking at attractive offers for future travels or for a much-needed getaway. There seems to have been ample demand for outsourced facility management post the pandemic. “Various travel infrastructure and hospitality players have had to make fundamental changes to increase the safety and hygiene quotients beyond that which meets the eye. While everyone has been mindful of sanitisation, social distancing and other Covid protocols, facility managers play a vital role in ensuring that safety practices are of the highest efficiency,” says Vinitha Kannambroth, head of IFM - South Region, Embassy Services. 

During the pandemic, the tourism sector has clearly optimised various new-age technologies and Integrated Facility Management (IFM) solutions. From specific operations such as maintaining and managing data encompassing self-declaration forms and travel history to other general tasks such as the day-to-day sanitisation of frequently touched surfaces and cleaning and disinfection of specific areas including lobbies, restrooms, cafeterias, and elevators, IFM has been pivotal towards combating/countering the effects of the pandemic on the travel, tourism and aviation sector, Vinitha adds. 

Shagun says business has actually shot up since the second half of last year. “Post September 2021, the travel and hospitality sector has been doing well as they have adjusted to the new normal. I guess it’s safe to say that the occupancy has gone on to be like it was in 2019 or even better than that.” 

Shagun had responsibly travelled to the Maldives, Jaipur, Dharamshala and Mumbai, among other places, in the past two years. “Some of the basic advice I’d share to anybody travelling today would be to not depend on an airline or hotel’s standards. What rules others set is secondary, keep yours as an individual. Even if nobody asks for one, go take the Covid test before you venture out. The least you could do is get a cheaper self-test done at home. Personal responsibility is the only way to stay safe amid the rising cases this third wave,” he concludes.



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