Top tips to remember when closing your property
Following the Government announcement that all holiday accommodation providers (including hotels, guest accommodation, self-catering cottages and short term lets) should close for commercial use, we’ve pulled together some top tips to consider as you temporarily close your premises.
- Physical security of the property – ensure that all exterior doors are closed and locked and it’s impossible for any opportunist thief to not enter the property. Check all doors including employee entrances and delivery doors too. Finally, ensure that you have all master keys back in your possession and secure the perimeter.
- Water supply – Close all of the water valves / supply into the property to avoid any issues whilst you are closed. Consider draining any pools, including hot tubs and spa pools to avoid any build up of algae and bacteria spread whilst the property is not operating.
- Energy reduction – where possible turn off any electrical equipment that will not be needed. You do not need to be paying for any additional costs than you need to, plus it’s better for the planet. Leave your fire alarm systems, sprinklers, surveillance equipment and intruder alarm. In addition, consider leaving low level heating on to avoid any pipes freezing, although this hopefully won’t be the case as we head into spring! Leave on any outdoor lights to indicate that there may be someone present.
- Limit food waste – where possible consider sharing left over food with employees (during the lay off this will be appreciated) or donations to your local food bank / charities. Do not leave waste or recycling inside the premises as this will encourage rats and other vermin. Don’t forget to cancel regular deliveries with suppliers too.
- On site presence – It’s recommended that frequent patrols are taken on the building as a preventative measure. It also allows for any issues to be notified more quickly, if they arise. If you cannot get to the premises, can you bring them to you through cameras / security system? Don’t forget to also check any mechanical or technical spaces to ensure that they are still fully operational and not affected in anyway.
- Insurance – make sure you notify the insurance company of your closure and the measures that you have put in place. Email them, so they have on file all of the actions you have taken. They may be able to review the policy and reduce premiums for the time you are not operating.
- Remote access – to enable you to keep some form of operation going away from the premises, ensure that your PMS is online so that it can be accessed from anywhere.
- Communication – will be paramount to your success. Consider setting up a What’sApp or messenger group with key managers so that you can stay in touch regarding any updates and support them with any questions or welfare needs during this uncertain time. Before closing the doors for the last time, ensure you leave a notice on the door to explain the situation and an emergency contact number. Also make use of your social networks to explain your position and share inspiration for people to consider booking in the future.
- Knowledge – ensure that you are gaining information from credible sources and do not expose yourself to over information, which can then lead to panic. Consider adding a pandemic plan to your contingency planning for the future, so that if we are ever in this position again (let’s hope it’s once in a lifetime) that you know the actions to take to make it all run that little bit smoother next time.
- Reintegration planning – plan to reinstate employees a few days before you open up to the general public. Undertake a deep clean of the premises, including running water through shower heads etc to avoid legionnaires and make a plan for each part of the operation, with clear roles for staff.
Looking for the positives in every cloud, this storm shall pass. People will be keen to get out, laugh and have fun with their friends and make more memories – all of which the tourism & hospitality sector are experts at!