Covid-19 Crisis Notes

Covid-19 Crisis Notes

We wanted to take the opportunity to assemble together a number of notes and operational information to assist our members in their handling of this crisis. There is plenty of information about concerning the SBA’s emergency lending and financing programs, both on elfa.org and elsewhere. We urge you to contact your lender or banking institution for the best information and guidance in this area.

Front Desk / Night Window – If your property has a night window, we suggest that this be utilized for all guest interactions and transactions and that lobbies remain closed. You should be protected from chargebacks with the use of EMV machines even without a signature by utilizing the Signature On File (SOF) feature (guest signature should be on folio).

Breakfast / Coffee – This requirement has been suspended through September 30, 2020 by Choice Hotels as it impacts the safety of both employees and guests.

Attached is a notice for guests to acknowledge that has been circulating from hotels that can be put to use at your property to better assist in communicating local government mandates and cutbacks in services and amenities. It is in Word form so you can edit your property info as needed.

Room Cleaning / Amenities by Request – With stayover guests, please offer housekeeping services only by request. Amenities for stayovers can be provided via night window or drop offs to room exteriors.

Ecolab has provided an excellent video for back of house preparation and cleaning regimens, including an extensive Q&A at the end. It is a longer video coming in just under one hour, but it does offer excellent tips and insight.

Choice Hotels Financial Assistance – While other brands have offered across the board fee relief and deferrals, Choice Hotels has focused immediate relief systemwide in areas where services are being curtailed – Medallia and revenue management for examples – and choosing instead to focus more of its relief effort on properties that are experiencing worse hardships than others.

We encourage any properties facing extensive and potentially catastrophic hardships to connect with Matt Martin in Choice’s Owner & Portfolio Strategy Operations department at Matthew.Martin@choicehotels.com. Please let ELFA or your ELFA regional director know if you are engaging with Matthew’s department so we can best track progress and results.

Choice Hotels is also not charging fines or interest for late or missed monthly billing during the early stages of this crisis. This is a significant point to consider when addressing managing revenue and expenses in the coming months.

Closing / Suspending Operations Decisions – Most hotel properties fall under what is being considered “essential” business operations, and are being allowed to continue to operate in most areas in the country.

If you are having to shutter your property due to financial reasons, safety concerns (family, employees, and guests), or government mandate, please connect with the Choice Hotels Franchise Services department prior to taking any action in order to best position your property for conducting business once conditions allow.

“Temporary suspension” of inventory availability is a tool that is helping properties eliminate transient business and bookings via online and other booking channels, while simultaneously allowing for group or contracted business to local government entities and/or hospitals and offering more workable scenarios for lenders and insurance providers. This can be accomplished best via communications with Franchise Services department (link above).

Please continue to connect with your ELFA Regional Director, and visit elfa.org regularly for updates and links to industry resources.

Louis Smith

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