Hotel Hi-Ho: An Early Investment in Contactless Technology Proves Invaluable During the Pandemic
Hotel Hi-Ho’s bright neon sign overlooking the Merritt Parkway has been an icon of Fairfield, CT since the hotel’s original incarnation as a cozy and functional Eisenhower-era motor lodge. When the property was repurchased in 2014, it was rebranded as a boutique, luxury “smart-hotel,” featuring a tapas bar, a wine shop, and a contactless, mobile check-in experience.
When the coronavirus pandemic reached US-shores, Hotel Hi-Ho found that it was well served by its early embrace of mobile check-in technology. While other hotels in the region were forced to shut down because of COVID, Hotel Hi-Ho was able to stay open to serve essential workers, in part because it’s mobile PMS and mobile guest check-in option allowed guests to bypass staff interactions and promoted social distancing on-property.
Breaking Away From Prehistoric Hotel Property Management Systems
Since its rebranding in 2014, Hotel Hi-Ho has eschewed the notion of a traditional front desk, opting instead for a top-floor lounge that (in pre-pandemic days) served as a space for socializing and co-working. While travelers have the option of checking in through an on-premise smart kiosk, they are encouraged to take advantage of the hotel’s mobile guest-facing check-in option. Here, guests can check-in through any browser on their mobile device, without having to download a native app, which has enhanced guest adoption. Once they select their desired room, guests can select additional upgrades or amenities, such as monetized early check-in or late check-out. Rick Emery, Hotel Hi-Ho’s General Manager, explains further:
“With StayNTouch’s Zest [contactless and mobile check-in] functionality, we do not need to utilize our common areas and are able to limit the availability of those areas to our guests….The Zest feature allows our guests to receive a pin code via email and text messages prior to arrival, providing them with access to their rooms. It’s a process that we worked on a few years ago with StayNTouch, and the keyless, contactless ability to provide travelers with a safe-check-in has been a tremendous asset over this troubling time… It is a seamless, quick and safe process that all of our guests love”
Moving Toward a New Normal
Since the pandemic, Hotel Hi-Ho has also significantly ramped up its public safety and hygiene efforts by utilizing housekeepers to assist with common areas and high touch surface cleaning in addition to their standard guestroom cleaning procedures. They’ve also engaged in weekly staff training to go over new protocols, best practices, and state regulations.
All of the rooms at Hotel Hi-Ho are sanitized with CDC approved chemicals, and all housekeeping staff are required to wear masks and gloves–even though such PPE is not mandated in Connecticut. Additionally, Hotel Hi-Ho has enacted a three-day rotation for occupied rooms, ensuring that each room is as safe as possible for staff and incoming guests.
Because of these efforts, Hotel Hi-Ho has earned AAA’s Best of Housekeeping Award for 2020, signifying that the Hi-Ho is in the top 25% of all hotels surveyed in terms of cleanliness and condition.
Although Connecticut will allow hotels to host leisure travelers starting June 20th, Emery believes that the local hospitality industry will begin seeing some resemblance of “normality” by the end of August. Hotel Hi-Ho will be ready, regardless of when that “new normal” finally arrives, however:
“I believe people will continue to err on the side of caution for a few months post-pandemic and possibly even longer,” Emery explains, “There is a divide on whether or not it will be “safe” to travel after the restrictions are removed. But regardless, we will continue to provide a top level of service to those who are looking for a clean and safe lodging facility in our area.”
Make Your PMS Technology Contactless Today
See how other hotels around the globe are putting guests first not only adhering to local COVID 19 guidelines and recommendations but by implementing contactless mobile check-in, self-service stations, and easy mobile hotel PMS technology.Find Your New Normal with StayNTouch. Contact Us to Learn More About Mobile Hotel PMS Technology, Mobile Check-In, and More.