3 insights of value to you

In the past ten years, I have sailed several times with an acquaintance who works on a cruise ship. Hand sanitizers have been part of the interior there for years. So now that the hospitality industry on the mainland is looking for new protocols, I started looking at what we can learn from a cruise boat.

A floating hotel with pathogenic bacteria where nobody can leave. Due to the noro-stomach flu virus, cruise boats have extensive protocols aimed at preventing the spread of bacteria; both guest-oriented and for the employees themselves. With the aim of preventing dispersion throughout the ship and ensuring that guests and employees are safe.

This involves three insights that are now relevant for you:

  1. Prevent the spread of bacteria
  2. In addition to cleaning, also disinfect
  3. Communication, communication, communication

May 2020

1 Prevent spreading

The cruise industry protocols and training are aimed at preventing the spread of diseases. These are protocols varying in stages from green and orange to red and matching measure This sounds basic, but if every employee and guest has the same starting point, everyone can think and work proactively. See the examples further on in this article.

2 In addition to cleaning, also disinfect

In order to prevent the spread of disease, a distinction is made between cleaning and disinfection. This is a known fact in the kitchen, but now it will apply to the entire hotel.

This is a clear step that cruise lines have taken. Cleaning is done as always, but what comes with it is disinfection. These two are not the same. This does not mean that if disinfection has taken place, the area no longer needs to be cleaned or vice versa. Disinfection is done continuously and visibly for the guests. The guest may also play a role in this.

Hospitality in the ‘one-and-a-half-meter economy’ is therefore more labour intensive than you might think. That sounds contradictory because you want to prevent contact, but all staff are badly needed. Probably in a more flexible role than before the crisis. Everyone will have more than one task or responsibility. Parties such as the recreation park Beekse Bergen, the Dutch Railroads NS and IKEA already indicate that they will work with crowd managers, among other things, to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

3 Communication, communication, communication

The final point is communication. This is where you can distinguish yourself and connect with the guest. What can the hospitality industry in general learn from the approach the cruise world has initiated? What is different in a hotel, why does this happen and how does this relate to the guest and the hotel stay? Hotel guests can take a lot and will also want to cooperate, but it must be clear what is expected and what the hotel does. Whether it concerns the new breakfast concept, the use of the elevator or online check-in and check-out. GuestCompass offers the possibility to take the guest online in this new story before, during and after the stay.


The digital embrace during social distancing
Personal and practical, with less choice and more service

Use the guest journey as a guide

What steps do guests take just before they arrive, upon check-in / arrival, the stay and upon departure? And what do they all encounter? Who are they in contact with, what do they touch and what do they not necessarily have to touch? What responsibility does the hotel have, how can the guest help and how is this communicated? These various steps are explained below.

Prior to booking

Deploy your website and booking engine to let the guest know that you have an internal online communication channel with which the guest is continuously informed; both before and during the stay.

The guest will have many questions. Through your GuestCompass, the guest gets step-by-step insight into the situation in the hotel and all information about the stay. Sending long emails with protocol-packed attachments won’t help. It may feel like informing, but it’s just administrative hygiene.

Offer the information per target group based on the guest journey. Business travellers and tourists have specific wishes. You may also be able to distinguish between different segments, such as: seniors, families, romantic etc.

The lobby, check-in & check-out

Before you can board a cruise boat you must first fill in a health certificate. It will not get to this point, but if necessary, this can be done in GuestCompass. The Venetian in Las Vegas will start using thermal scanners.

Processes such as waiting guests, entering and leaving guests, visitors at the entrance, staff walking around and the physical check-in and check-out of the guest will be different for each hotel.

With GuestCompass it is possible to encourage guests to pay before arrival, so that the keycard can be ready and the guest can go directly to the room. This is a great advantage for the guest. As a result, there is also time for guests who need more attention and this offers the possibility of a self check-out.

Digital reception & mobile keys

A step further is to fully automate the check-in process. No more red tape or physical transactional actions. In collaboration with LodgeGate and AEON Plaza Hotels in Amsterdam, this is now being rolled out at the Artemis Design hotel and Die Port van Cleve. Such a connection is also possible with MEWS and several dozen hotels have already started this year. Like the Mondragon Hotelin the Dutch town of Zierikzee and the ECU hotel of Different Hotels in Genk, Belgium. Other Dutch chains will also start to make use of it this season. This is not a pie in the sky, but already possible in combination with the right cloud-based locks. Without a separate app to be installed, but just in the GuestCompass.

Make it clear to the guest what the process is in the lobby. This is done by explanation before arrival in the GuestCompass with possibly a video, but also by staff in the lobby or already in the parking lot. The use of check-in tents or containers is an option to spread arrivals of limited groups for the reception as of May 20th, 2020. Please check out the steps that the Postillion hotels are taking to get ready for meeting sessions in the ‘one-and-a-half-meter economy’.

The stay

The room

With an overview of the disinfection SOP in your GuestCompass the guest gets a good idea of the steps that are being taken.

For example Hilton sticks a seal on the door upon arrival with a QR-code that refers to the explanation. A good example of both online and offline communication. If you are interested, we can put you in touch with our sticker partner for these types of seals. Marriott hotels will use electrostatic spray to sanitize surfaces in the hotel rooms

Preventing loose articles as much as possible helps to battle the spread of disease. In addition to the general areas in the hotel, the hotel room can also be emptied.

Walk into the hotel room, take all that is not fixed to the room, put it in a bag and take it with you. All this information can be found in the GuestCompass. From pillow menu, room service overview, shoeshine, surveys and of course the hotel binder in the room. On the right an example of the Van der Valk Brussels Airport hotel.

What remains are the telephone, remote control, light buttons, iron, coffee & tea, thermostat, safe, bottle of water, glasses, soap dispensers and toilet utensils.

We recommend a plastic cover for the remote control (s). Not very nice, but practical. In the GuestCompass it can be shown that the safe, electrical appliances, telephone and all buttons in the room are disinfected daily.


Although this may also be the time to completely remove the phone. The GuestCompass allows the guest to make calls, chat, whatsapp and optionally there is the option for video calling, so that you can still have live personal contact with the guest.

For new construction or renovation, we can also include the light buttons, darkening and thermostat in the GuestCompass. This works on the basis of KNX and we realise this in close cooperationwith ABB. In the experience center in Nieuwegein, centrally located in The Netherlands, we have a test setup where you can experience this for yourself.

In the bathroom, the universal dispenser may again make way for individual bottles to avoid contact with reusable products.

If there is a gym, this can only be used on registration. This can be done via the GuestCompass. Certainly at busy times someone will have to visit regularly for disinfection and also have to offer disinfection materials for the users themselves.

The breakfast and other F&B

Do you offer breakfast room(s) or breakfast in the room? And is a buffet setup still possible? An option are the so-called sneeze guards, a large screen over the food You know you have a good one when it is almost impossible to get your food. This is more of a long-term solution for the post-corona economy. In combination with the switch to one-off consumption packaging. No salt and pepper sets that are constantly on the table or glasses, cutlery, menus, sauces and other unnecessary items on the tables. Everything is offered when the guests arrive and taken away when they are finished.

Until then, self-service can be prevented. In order to drastically reduce unnecessary walking, contact and use of communal items. This means more staff and an adjustment of the breakfast proposition.

You can offer different breakfast options via the GuestCompass and prepare them on a fixed table per room or pick-up point. It is also possible to serve when the guests are seated.

The guest can communicate the desired breakfast the night before. This way, staff can be deployed as efficiently as possible. Ultimately less options, but more service.

If a joint breakfast is not possible, it can of course also be served in the room. On the right a link to the Breakfast to Go from the Lancaster hotel ofEden Hotels.

The POS system may have a mobile-friendly iframe module, so that it can also be booked directly in the room. For example BOOQ of Eijsink,this module can be directly setup in the GuestCompass. It is also possible to deploy Flipdish to offer a fully integrated order form.

This way you can also easily offer dinner online without menus or unnecessary physical contact.


The employees

The cruise industry is looking not only at how employees help prevent the spread of pathogens, but also at ensuring that they are not the starting points. GuestCompass can be used to communicate to the guest what is going on behind the scenes. Directing employees offers the opportunity to share processes and cultivate understanding.

There are fixed disinfection days on the cruise ship when everyone is responsible for disinfecting their own workplace. Also in the office and at T&D. This is an additional point to communicate to guests to indicate how seriously the organization is responding to matters. Show that the maximum is done to make everyone safe.

There is a culture on the ship where employees also address issues amongst them if someone is not 100% fit. In order to distribute the work flexibly. If a breakfast employee has a runny nose because of hay fever, he will not serve for a while and the task will be taken over by a colleague. In addition, there is a lot of training and an annual update of the protocols.

It will not be long before an anti-bacterial key comes next to green key. To make it clear to the guest what the hotel does to create the safest possible environment.


How can the GuestCompass be deployed for a maximum online guest experience in times of limited physical contact.

Prior to arrival

  • Communicate procedures of arrival, parking and access doors
  • Communicate the possibly new check-in process
  • Online check-in and/or registration
  • Online key issuance to avoid using key cards
  • Overview of all measures in the hotel and possibility for guests to ask questions

The breakfast

  • Communicate the breakfast concept
  • Offer a breakfast choice for in the room or a setup a pick-up point
  • Facilitate online payments
  • Sneeze guards at breakfast
  • No pepper and salt sets on tables
  • No multi-packaging

Lobby, check-in and check-out process

  • When using pens, different pen boxes to use a pen only once: Green – not used so clean. Red – used, but will be disinfected
  • Online registration with the use of a form, when there are no connections with the PMS
  • Online check-out
  • Automatic doors
  • Hand-sanitizer everywhere. No pump dispensers or bottles, but motorized or with stainless steel pressure frame (virox). At the entrance of the hotel, at the elevator, on every floor, at entrances and exits of rooms and toilets, also for staff, reception, kitchen and service. Make sure they are clearly visible
  • Minimal transfer of material, no cash, a tray to handle credit cards with a distance of over 1.5 meters away
  • If using self check-in counters, make sure to disinfect
  • Disinfect keycards
  • Make sure people are constantly walking around disinfecting with their gloves on. Especially at busy times. The lift knobs, door handles, counter, etc.
  • Remove all irrelevant loose materials and products. The less there is, the less you need to keep track of

After the stay

  • Specifically ask guests for tips and the new experience so that adjustments can be made where necessary

The room

  • Door seal
  • Mobile access to the room with GuestCompass
  • Digitize all individual parts: room folder, surveys, information about surroundings, room service, etc.
  • Plastic cover over the remote control
  • Use GuestCompass for telephony and online contact from the room, video calling is also possible
  • Communicate sanitizing approach of all the contact points in the room

Own employees

  • Use the GuestCompass to communicate all measures with your own staff. The situation is constantly changing so it is necessary to keep everyone informed
  • Overview of protocols and useful checklists
  • Gloves and face protection


GuestCompass has been the expert in online guest experience for six years. More than 450 customers use GuestCompass. Our vision – personalise online – is now even more applicable than before. The appendix provides an overview of the tips from this article so you can select what works for you.

Don’t have GuestCompass yet? We would be happy to discuss with you how GuestCompass can best help your organization. Are you already a customer? Do not hesitate to contact us for advice on how to adjust your GuestCompass and to continue to distinguish yourself!