How to respond to coronavirus / COVID-19 if you run a lodging business

Important PPP update for 2021

On December 22, 2020, Congress passed a bill renewing funding under the CARES Act, including an additional $284 billion earmarked for America’s struggling small businesses. The rules and application process for PPP loans and forgiveness have been modified, with more businesses eligible for PPP loans, more expenses forgivable, and a simplified application process. Also there is provision for “second draw” PPP loans for businesses that received PPP funding in 2020.

 

In this 6-minute read:

  • Guide from the SBA
  • Emergency funds
  • Guidance for your employees
  • Keep it clean
  • Prepare for the future

Businesses all over the world are facing the impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Some are seeing increased business and can’t keep up with it while others are seeing decreased business, or none at all. Lodging places have taken a big hit generally.

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Your lodging business (whether a motel, hotel, resort, AirBnB, or other) is not exempt to the effects of this pandemic, and we want to help you find the resources you need to make it through these difficult times.  

SBA’s guide for employers

The U.S. Small Business Administration has published a guide for businesses and employers that can help you navigate through the impacts of COVID-19. Make sure that you and your employees are familiar with the recommendations in this guide. 

Economic Injury Disaster Loan program

The SBA is offering financial assistance for businesses that are being impacted by COVID-19. If your hotel, motel, or other lodging business is facing significant revenue loss during this time and is located in an eligible community, then you can apply for the Economic Disaster Loan program. 

This program can help your business get the additional funds it needs to get through this period. 

Go deeper: SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans: how to apply if you’re impacted by COVID-19

Guidance for lodging business owners

The SBA has shared several issues that businesses nationwide are facing amidst this crisis:

  • Difficulty getting the necessary supplies to keep business running smoothly
  • Difficulty meeting the needs of customers as employees are impacted by the virus
  • Depleted inventories–keep the supplies you need stocked up
  • Increased need for sanitizing facilities, which involves higher costs
  • Insurance trouble–talk to your insurance agent to understand what your business’s coverage looks like
  • Trouble communicating with customers–keep your customers in mind as you make business changes and inform them of these changes
  • Prepare for the future (more on this to come)

Tips for managing your staff

If your business is remaining open at this time, it’s important to take extra precautions with maintaining a healthy environment and advising your employees on these precautions. 

As you talk to your staff members about these guidelines, be sure to listen to their needs during this time and maintain flexibility with their schedules as schools close and loved ones need additional care. 

Pay attention to the CDC guidelines for employees

The CDC has some helpful guidance as you direct your employees to keep up efforts to mitigate the impacts of the virus on your business. In this guide for businesses and employers, you’ll find the following recommendations:

Encourage sick staff members to stay home. If anyone is showing signs of fever or respiratory illness, they should remain in their homes until they no longer have symptoms for at least 24 hours. 

Send sick employees home. Don’t let sick employees stay at work. If anyone is showing symptoms in the workplace, keep them away from others and send them home immediately. Be sure to clean any areas they have had contact with. 

Encourage proper hygiene solutions. Make hand washing a priority and encourage your staff and customers to engage in best practices for respiratory behaviors (covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing, washing hands, etc.). 

Make routine sanitization happen. Keep up with cleaning surfaces that come into frequent contact with people: door handles, counter tops, pens, business center supplies, etc. 

Advise specific guidelines before traveling. Make sure your employees are familiar with the CDC’s Traveler’s Health Notices for traveling anywhere. Advise them to check for symptoms of respiratory illness before and after travel. 

attractive chambermaid for lodging businesses dealing with coronavirus

Prepare for more employee absences

COVID-19 is spreading further and further each day, so it’s important to be prepared for employee absences in case they are impacted by the disease. Maintain flexibility with their schedules as they need to stay home to care for loved ones or remain in isolation. 

Sanitize, sanitize, sanitize

We’ve touched on sanitization procedures a couple of times already, and for good reason. 

As the owner of a lodging business, you are well aware of the necessary precautions to take when cleaning your facility. And those precautions are especially important during this crisis. 

Here are some ways that you can encourage your employees and customers to help in the efforts to keep your facilities clean:

  • Post reminders for handwashing. The general recommendation is to wash hands for at least 20 seconds. This should happen after using the restroom, before and after eating, after using computers, etc.
  • Take care to clean surfaces that come into frequent contact with people: counters, business center supplies, pens, chairs, dining room surfaces, door handles, and others
  • Keep hand sanitizer, hand soap, and other cleaning supplies readily available for your customers and employees

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Prepare for the future

There’s no easy way to tell what the future of this outbreak is going to bring us. So it’s smart to prepare a plan to deal with all potential outcomes. You are likely already seeing impacts of the panic on your business, so start there as you make your future plans. 

Is business decreasing?

As people are deciding to adhere to social distancing guidelines from national authorities, your lodging business may see a decline in customers over the coming months (especially as people are limiting their travel). 

If your business sees a large loss in revenue during this time, there are options available to help with emergency funding:

Read more: Emergency funding options for small businesses

Keep your customers informed

Your lodging business is likely making some adjustments due to the impacts of the coronavirus. It is important to communicate those changes to your customers. 

You can do this by:

Keep your communications positive and reassuring to show customers that you are aware of what is going on and that you are taking the necessary precautions to maintain their health and safety. 

Get creative with your business offerings

There might not be much you can do right now to encourage people to leave their homes and stay with you, but there are ways that you can get creative with your marketing and offer specials for the future. 

Everyone is going to want a vacation when this is all over. Use that. Send email campaigns out for special discounts on gift certificates that can be used at any time. Make sure you have a way for customers to purchase these certificates online so they don’t have to show up in person. 

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