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NEW DELHI: Contactless check-ins, on-table buffets and on-the-spot sanitization are becoming routine fare at top hotels as they fight to retain business and customer trust in the face of India’s second covid wave. Hospitality chains including Hyatt, InterGlobe and Oyo Hotels said they have stepped up safety and hygiene measures, as destinations in Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Goa witness heavy holiday rush.

“Hotels are in a vicious cycle of dealing with the rush (at least in select destinations) and keeping the guests safe," said Dilip Datwani, spokesperson of Hotels and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRWAI). “It’s high time hotels take hygiene and distancing protocols seriously. Following strict norms is the only option left, or they will have to shut business given that the industry has received no relief from the government." Datwani added that shutting down properties can save some costs but reopening would be a major challenge.

Dhruva Rathore, vice-president, real estate & development - India, Hyatt, said the hotel chain is observing social distancing protocols at all its restaurants and public spaces inside hotels. “Guests are not close to each other when it comes to tables at the restaurant. For instance, we have on-table buffet service where food is being served at individual tables rather than guests having to walk to buffet counters. There are similar initiatives being taken at the food & beverage side adopting more digital tools to keep human contact minimal," he added.

Hyatt also deploys hygiene and well-being leaders at each property to ensure that the measures are being followed.

InterGlobe Hotels, which runs the Ibis brand in India, said its hotels are ready with safety measures introduced last year. “Our hotels are managing footfall through contactless check-in and buffet service," said J.B. Singh, president & CEO, InterGlobe Hotels.

Budget hospitality chain OYO Hotels & Homes said it is running initiatives such as Sanitised Stays and Sanitised Before Your Eyes to ensure high touchpoints or surfaces are sanitized before the guests themselves, health screening on entry, accessibility of safety gear for staff and guests alike, and deep-cleaning protocols.

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