Hotels reimagine room service amid coronavirus pandemic with knock-and-drop delivery, in-room cocktails

How hotels are staying safe and getting creative with room service

Hotel guests can still be pampered with room service amenities, but the typical means of in-room dining and food options are being reimagined.

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“As we have continued to serve guests in recent months, room service has actually been a critical component of ensuring guest comfort and safety during their stay,” Jay Caiafa, chief operating officer of InterContinental Hotels Group's Americas region, told FOX Business. “In anticipation that many guests will continue to prefer room service delivery versus other F&B options, we have made a variety of changes to deliver a great experience even in this challenging environment.”

IHG-branded hotels will adopt new practices to protect the health and safety of guests ordering room service. Employees will be required to wear masks and gloves while delivering food, and the option of contactless delivery will be available. Disposable containers and napkins will replace traditional dining ware and utensils, and guests will be left with sealable bags to dispose of unused food and containers. Sanitizing wipes will also be included with in-room dining service.

Similarly, Hilton Hotels will bring food in a shopping bag without contact rather than the traditional rolling cart deliveries, paired with single-use serviceware.

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At Kimpton Hotels, guests have the option of ordering in-room dining at any property they visit but the execution will be tweaked to remain in line with pandemic-related standards.

“With current restrictions and regulations in place, we are evolving our in-room dining options to ensure our guests have everything they need while they stay with us, and most importantly to ensure our guests stay safe,” Nick Gregory, senior vice president of hotel operations at Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, told FOX Business.

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All Kimpton properties will have contactless delivery and payment with a knock-and-drop style of transport, and the staff member delivering the food must stand 6 feet away until the guest opens the door to receive their order. All silverware, dishes and condiments will be single-use options and food items will be labeled and sealed for delivery. Menu offerings will also be condensed in order to simplify operations, but the updated selection will still feature “comfort” and “nostalgia” foods upon the preference of guests.

In addition to safer, more secure and in some cases, refined in-room delivery, some hotels are expanding their grab-and-go selection to provide hotel guests with a wider variety of convenience.

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At nearly all of its hotels, Kimpton has incorporated an area at the front desk where guests can purchase a pre-packaged breakfast and snacks (all items are prepared and served by team members in face coverings). Guests can also order house-made bottled cocktails and cocktail kits for in-room or take-out consumption from many of the hotel restaurants.

(Credit: The Henley at the Kimpton Aertson Hotel)

For hotels where room service is not a regular option, including limited-service brands like IHG’s Holiday Inn Express and Candlewood Suites, guests will have access to grab-and-go options or delivery services from outside restaurants that the hotel helps facilitate or recommends. Hilton Hotels will also offer grab-and-go, pre-plated and individually portioned options that will replace breakfast options.

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