COVID-19 and the evolution of social distancing
When COVID-19 rocked the economy, the hospitality industry was one of the first to feel the effects, and now its road to recovery has proven longer and slower than most. How do you safely reopen the doors to your hotel when the definition of “safe” keeps changing? As many businesses are discovering, the key to keeping up with a rapidly evolving situation actually lies in adopting a temporary solution in the form of stickers, decals, and other easily changed solutions.
The same things that have been used to customize, personalize, and otherwise decorate practically any surface for as long as you can remember turn out to play a crucial role in social-distancing messaging. And while they’re an important part of recovery efforts across the economy, they’re especially useful for the hotel industry.
THE MESSAGES CHANGE, BUT THE GOAL STAYS THE SAME
It all started with handwritten signs, creative use of letterboard, and other hastily assembled messages as hotels and motels across the nation unexpectedly shut their doors in the spring. And when it seemed like things would be back to normal in just a few weeks, “Sorry, we’re closed,” seemed like enough of a message.
In the months since the pandemic started, it’s become obvious that remaining closed isn’t a realistic option. Instead, it’s about reopening in the safest possible manner, one that mitigates risk for customers and employees alike. And the key to that is in the messaging and the signage itself.
Social-distancing guidelines have evolved, but it’s become widely accepted that wearing a mask and remaining 6 feet away from one another are the key components of a safe return to business. But how do you make sure everyone follows these guidelines?
Figuring out the right message is one thing, making it visible is another entirely.
This is where stickers, labels, and decals have proven invaluable. They can be produced rapidly to keep up with the latest safety guidelines, yet they’re far more affordable than permanent signage. They also look more professional than handwritten signs, especially when it comes to replicating a message. You can have as many identical stickers as you want, making it easy to place 6-foot-distancing markers on the floor or to put up mask reminders on every lobby door.
REMINDERS WHERE YOU NEED THEM
Adhesive decals have incredible versatility. Aside from social-distancing reminders on floors and windows, hotels can use stickers to mark freshly sanitized towels and linens, to provide direction on new contact-free procedures, or to establish one-way traffic through busy intersections. That applies to changes in room service or other amenities as well. Saying it with a sticker is far easier and more affordable than permanent alterations.
Maybe your turn-down service includes some new, COVID-19-conscious offerings, like a face mask or hand sanitizer. Labels are a great way to put a branded twist on these products, introduce them to your guests, and invite guests to be proactive in their use. If you’ve introduced a new, touchless checkout process, why not place instructions in the rooms or even on the key cards themselves?
One unique way that hotels are already using stickers is to indicate that a room has been cleaned. A perforated adhesive is applied to the door and the doorframe to guarantee the room’s cleanliness, as only a new guest would break the seal. During a time when health and safety are priorities, this visual assurance is powerful.
Stickers have always been a great way to put a little personality into things and adding some personal touches to PPE can help hospitality professionals create a welcoming air in these unsettling times. Adhesives are just one tool in the toolkit, though. Iron-on transfers are gaining popularity in creating COVID-19 messaging in a novel way.
These iron-on transfers bring all the qualities of stickers and adhesive labels – namely colorful, consistent, and professional messaging at an affordable price – and put them into a fabric-friendly medium. Imagine the possibilities for the hospitality industry with the ability to customize cloth masks, uniforms, and more.
Safely and successfully reopening any business is difficult right now, and that’s especially true for hotels and other parts of the hospitality industry. But, like anything, having the right tools makes it easier. And stickers, labels, iron-on transfers, and other non-permanent labels are exactly the right tool in a rapidly changing (and hopefully temporary) situation like this.
STICK TO THE RULES
Use stickers and decals to remind staff and guests of the following best practices:
MASK: Wear a mask at all times in public areas.
DISTANCE: Six feet is the minimum recommended distance to keep from others.
SING & WASH: Wash hands for at least 20 seconds – the length of two rounds of “Happy Birthday.”