Some hotels are offering COVID-19 tests during check-out to reassure guests

Concierge and bellboy standing at a hotel entrance and looking out the door.
Hotels are hoping the move will encourage more guests ©Michael Blann/Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic has drastically changed the way that hotels operate, from touch-free service to reduced capacity and more frequent cleaning schedules, and some are now even offering COVID-19 tests as part of the check-out process.

The rules of proving that travellers are coronavirus-free vary considerably by country, with some stricter places requiring a negative test result on landing both in the destination and back at home. Some hotels in Dubaiwhere specially trained sniffer dogs that can detect coronavirus have started patrolling the airport – and the Maldives are now providing the option for guests to take a COVID-19 test before their departure. Additionally, some hotels in Spain and Switzerland are administering antibody testing during guests’ stays. The accommodation providers are hoping that these additional measures, in most cases administered at the guest’s expense but occasionally provided for free, will help lure visitors back.

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Hawaii considered restricting guests to their resort to quarantine ©Jeff Whyte/Shutterstock

Around the world, hotels have been used as quarantine facilities for arriving passengers, with some places such as Hawaii considering having its hotels become ‘resort bubbles’ where guests would be required to remain on-site during their stay and monitored using geo-fencing technology.

The coronavirus pandemic has required hotels to change nearly every aspect of their offering, including suspending valet and bellhop service, meeting stricter government-set criteria for cleaning, installing thermal scanners in the lobby, ending breakfast buffets, introducing contact-less check-in and check-out, using voice-based technology such as Amazon’s Alexa to control room features and fewer decorative items in the rooms because they are harder to disinfect.

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Even hotel rooms have fewer decorative items to clean ©Mark Read/Lonely Planet

“Travellers are yearning for enhanced transparency around cleaning, hygiene and sanitisation measures at a property,” Pepijn Rijvers, senior vice president of accommodation at Booking.com, said. “It will be key for accommodation providers to openly display this information to help set accurate expectations and bring travellers additional reassurance as they search, book and begin to experience the world once again.”

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