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20th May 2020 | Less Contact : More Engagement

HOSPA Webinar - 20th May, 2020

Less Contact : More Engagement


The re-opening of hospitality venues is going to take a lot of planning. Many of our sponsors have been investing their time and resources supporting the hospitality industry and will discuss the best methods to ensure employee and guest safety using tools to enable social distancing.


  • (JP) Jane Pendlebury - CEO, HOSPA

  • (JG) Julie Grieve - Criton

  • (AE) Andrew Evans - Keystep

  • (GH) Gareth Hughes - Crave

  • (JS) James Slatter - Agilysys

  • (PW) Peter Willis - Harri


00:00 Introductions 

07:00 Guest communication  

Julie: As hoteliers, we have a great opportunity to communicate with our guests before they arrive. Get them to engage via their phone - start that conversation. The chances of them booking with you next time will be very high if the communication is there.


09:00 Guest safety 

Pete: Some 58% of 18-24 years old are anxious about the future and don’t think the hospitality sector is doing enough to protect employees (pre-COVID-19). We set up an employee health checker app, where their temperature is recorded. This will instill confidence in the younger generations. It took 8 days to set up and make live!


13:00 Contact at reception

Andrew: In the new world, you have to be very proactive with engagement to guests. Tell them what is going to happen and inform them all the time. Engagement is key to the survival of the sector. Give them the confidence to use tech like mobile keys.

17:00 The difference to F&B

Gareth: No more breakfast buffets. More people will offer order and collect services. Tables will be booked in advance. We’re getting a lot of interest for order and pay from the table in restaurants - where they can collect the F&B from a collection point to avoid contact at the table. QR Codes on mobiles also help with this.

21:00 Getting People through the door

James: Putting in some sort of loyalty programme will be beneficial in attracting guests. Mobiles are the key way of doing this. People will pay for having flexibility on services - give them an opportunity before they arrive to upgrade their room, etc. Give the customer control. If they like your services they are likely to be more flexible when it comes to booking extras.


29:00 Question - What about safety of staff when dealing with ill guests?

Pete: Looking into new technologies that can help with this. This is an area that’s currently being looked at.

31:00 Question - How will AI help?

Julie: We should support rather than replace. Chatbots and fine but people should still bring personality - even when using a bot to check someone in etc.


33:00 Question - Are you able to work with a lot of PMS companies - integration isn’t always easy
 Julie: Yes, vendors are doing a great job of pulling together to help as much as they can. Integration is so important.

James: Having integrated systems and personalisation will become so important. PMS companies need to have robust APIs.

41:00 Question - is it ethical to charge guests for specific items from the bar, etc. How do we get the balance between reopening and keeping guests safe

James: Payments need to be more PCI compliant. We need to take payments more securely - avoiding paper and cards. 

Andrew: People want to be safe and feel that they are being looked after. We’ve got time to look at what supermarkets & golf courses are doing and get feedback now. We’ve got to be careful that we don’t overthink this problem. We’re going to have to be flexible with what works and what doesn’t - it’s going to be baby steps.

50:00 Question - how are gyms, spas, pools going to reopen?

Andrew: In the short-term, I don't think they will. I’ve recently taken a course in infection control. For hoteliers, it’s about showing the guests your cleanliness. Machines/equipment will have to be constantly cleaned and in front of the guests too.

Pete: I think the cleanliness of hospitality environments is going to be an issue for a good 18 months. Places with memberships like gyms and spas may work better in terms of hygiene standards as it’s the same people using the facilities.

56:00 Question - Will independent and large chains face similar challenges?

Gareth: Independent restaurants and B&Bs will certainly find it more difficult to enforce social distancing purely because of the size of them compared to larger resorts, for instance. 

Andrew: For a small hotel it’s going to be easier to enforce a cleaning rota compared to a larger airport hotel, so there will be different challenges on both sides.

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