In light of the COVID-19 outbreak that's sweeping through the planet, everyone must take on a certain amount of social responsibility in order to keep our communities and ourselves safe. For most people, taking social responsibility means participating in social distancing - avoiding larger gatherings of people and keeping at least 6 feet of space between you and anyone you do come in contact with. For store and restaurant owners, this may mean shutting your doors temporarily to keep your patrons and future patrons safe from coming in contact with the disease. And as hostel owners and managers, our social responsibility is doing everything we can to keep our guests and staff as safe and calm as possible. Depending on which country your hostel is in, the best way to practice social responsibility may be by closing your doors for now and not accepting any guests for the time being.
However, if you decide to remain open, Lior Slepkov from Hostel Consulting has some tips on how to best exercise your social responsibility as a hostel owner, keep your staff and guests as happy/healthy as possible and maybe (just maybe) minimize the losses to your bottom line.
1) Practice good personal hygiene in and out of the hostel
We touched on this is in our article "How to Keep Your Hostel Guests Healthy and Happy During the COVID-19 Outbreak," but setting a good hygiene example for your guests and staff is essential. Get into the habit of washing your hands frequently and for 20 seconds each time, especially after coughing or sneezing. Encourage guests to cover their sneezes and coughs with the inside of their elbow. They should NOT use their hand. Make hand sanitizer available all over your hostel. Install a dispenser at the entrance to your hostel, and leave bottles of hand sanitizer in your common room and kitchen. Hostel Consulting also recommends limiting cash transactions and learning to greet people without contact. This means no more handshakes or hugs!
2) Avoid going out as much as possible
Make sure your guests know to only leave the hostel in small groups and to wash their hands and faces upon their return. Discourage guests from taking public transportation going to parties and clubs. Additionally, ensure that your hostel is a fun, cozy place for travelers to hang out in. Which brings us to....
3) Focus your communication and marketing for “staycations”
Make your hostel a fun, welcoming place to stay! Consider offering a long term discount for travelers who wish to stay with you while fulfilling their social responsibility, and include daily meals in their long term rate if you can. Stock up on any free food you offer your guests and discourage them from eating in restaurants. If you can provide meals to your guests, this will prevent them from having to go to restaurants. Facilitate no-contact games in the common room such as charades or rock, paper, scissors.
4) Prepare for an inhouse infection
Make sure all your guests are informed about the virus and its symptoms. Dry cough and fever seem to be the hallmark symptoms. Also, make sure you know the local procedure for reporting a possible infection. In many cases, this means NOT going to the hospital. Always call first. If your occupancy and rooms allow for it, create an isolated space (preferably with private bathroom) for a potentially infected guest or staff.
Check out the full Hostel Consulting article here. From all of us at Hostel Management, we wish you and your loved ones good health, safety and happiness during this scary time. We got this!