Watch our Getting ‘Travel Ready’ webinar to hear what our Managing Director, Theresa Emerick and Executive Director of @Africa SAFE-T, Lucien Niemann have to say about how properties can best prepare for the challenges of post-COVID travel.
NightsBridge Touchless Tech.
NightsBridge Touchless Tech - FAQs
Online check-in is a new way of checking in at your property that limits or removes contact between guests and staff.
Guests can complete a check-in form on their smartphone, tablet, laptop or PC (including a COVID screening) and submit it to you before arrival.
COVID-19 has ushered in a number of changes in the hospitality industry, including new health and safety protocols, social distancing and the mandatory use of masks in public areas. Online check-in is an additional tool that establishments can use to put their guests at ease – and ensure that a guest’s arrival is as seamless, hygienic and hassle-free as possible.
With coronavirus here for the foreseeable future, online check-in and check-out are likely to become an industry standard.
Not only does online check-in help prevent the spread of COVID-19, but it is also extremely convenient. NightsBridge’s online check-in form saves time (for both your property and the guest), removes frustrating paperwork and makes contact tracing quick and easy.
Guests receive a link via WhatsApp, SMS or email, complete the form before they arrive, and all the information is securely stored on the NightsBridge system.
You will also receive a notification in BridgeIT (if it’s open) when your guest completes the form.
Not at the moment. You’ll need to go back into the NightsBridge system to see if the guest has completed the form – but the system is constantly being refined and this update is on the cards.
Similar to online check-in, the check-out form allows the guest to check out of your property without unnecessary contact with staff.
Guests can view their final statement/account (for example, excursions, meals or an outstanding bar bill), and make payment online, before check-out. The system is secure, and guests will receive a one-time password (OTP) to their mobile phone in order to authorise payment.
It also saves on paperwork and enhances the guest experience by providing seamless, quick and convenient check-out while the guest is still “in-house” before they leave the premises. Guests receive a final invoice (post-payment) via email.
As NightsBridge client you are able to – at the click of a button – send guests a link to the necessary form via WhatsApp, SMS or email.
The forms are mobile-friendly and can be completed on a smartphone, tablet, laptop or PC.
The booking form has a ‘notes’ section where you can add any additional information you require, including a client’s ETA, dietary requirements, temperature checks etc.
In fact, the NightsBridge team can help you customise the form to your needs (for example, adding your logo) and is always on hand to provide help and support.
Personal information is obviously being collected, including a guest/s ID number and COVID-specific information. As such, privacy is a top priority, and the system is 100% secure.
In the past, information would have been filed and stored at your property. Now all the information sits within the NightsBridge system, is encrypted and is only accessible via a secure link. If someone else gets hold of the link, the information will no longer be available.
No. Online check-in and check-out are built into the latest NightsBridge system. You may need to upgrade to the latest version, but it comes standard.
These are stressful times, but our tourism bodies and associations have done excellent work in terms of studying global protocols, working with experts and epidemiologists, and designing world-class guidelines so that our industry can regulate itself.
You can read the Tourism Business Council of South Africa’s (TBCSA) guidelines here.
The National Department of Tourism’s (NDT) Draft Norms and Standards for the Tourism Sector in the context of COVID-19 can be accessed here.
Read these as international best practice and then apply what is practical and applicable to your own circumstances. Smaller establishments or operators, for example, may not be able to implement all the recommendations – so apply common sense.
The guidelines are extensive and comprehensive (from housekeeping to kitchen protocols), but there are 5 core principles for guests and staff:
- Correct use of masks and other protective gear (PPE).
- Effective and regular hand sanitising.
- Regular surface cleaning of all types of surfaces.
- Physical distancing throughout all facilities and sites, and in all types of crafts and vehicles.
- Obtaining required COVID-19 guest information for screening and tracing.
The NightsBridge team has put together a summary of the guidelines here.
While the TBCSA’s protocols are a fantastic and comprehensive resource, they are not a legal requirement. They do, however, demonstrate your establishment’s commitment to international best practice, and they should be followed to the very best of your ability.
The NDT’s Draft Norms and Standards are still open for comment and objection but once gazetted, establishments will need to comply.
In the meantime, establishments have to follow the regulations and protocols as laid out in South Africa’s Disaster Management Act, including the mandatory use of masks in public areas, social distancing requirements, capacity limits and curfews – along with thorough cleaning and sanitising measures.
There are a number of things you can do to reassure guests that you are able to operate safely, and that their health and convenience remain top priorities. Try these 10 easy steps:
- Apply common sense when it comes to preventing the spread of COVID-19, including encouraging social distancing, wearing a face mask in public, ensuring good ventilation, hand washing (and using a sanitiser with 70%+ alcohol content), covering one’s mouth when sneezing or coughing, disinfecting surfaces, and avoiding coming to work if symptomatic.
- Prepare and train your team on the cleaning protocols – and keep NightsBridge’s handy checklists in place!
- Create standard operating procedures (SOPs) so your staff follow all the steps required if a staff member or guest presents with COVID symptoms.
- Update your Ts and Cs so guests understand their role in preventing the spread of COVID-19 (for example, the mandatory use of masks in public areas).
- Make use of signage in and around your establishment reminding guests of social distancing requirements and safe behaviour.
- Provide sanitiser and additional PPE where possible.
- Tell your guests what you’re doing by downloading, saving and sending a NightsBridge Safety Pledge PDF to your guests via email before they arrive.
- Use the NightsBridge SafeStays “badge” on your booking form or website – and promote your safety measures (with the badge if you like) on your Facebook page, blogs and other social media platforms.
- Promote the NightsBridge SafeStays search. If your guests need accommodation in other towns, you can assist by directing them to our SafeStays search. This booking site shows availability and rates for all other NightsBridge properties who are open and “safety aware”.
- Investigate and implement touchless technology – including contactless check-in and check-out for a guest’s peace of mind.