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Travelers who have visited hotels during the COVID-19 pandemic have likely noticed that each property is following a different set of rules — either set by their management, their brand or their local government. On top of that, not every hotel practices what it preaches, with some being very lax about enforcing protocols such as mask wearing in the gym or practicing social distancing in common areas.
In fact, these discrepancies in health and safety guidelines are the reason that so many travel advisors feel it is important to visit individual properties before recommending them. Wouldn’t it be easier if all hotels followed one set of standardized rules managed by a third party? In an effort to solve this problem and create a global industry standard, Forbes Travel Guide — the global luxury hotel rating system — partnered with Sharecare — a digital health platform — to launch Sharecare Health Security Verified with Forbes Travel Guide in September.
Already, more than 50 properties have become verified, including the Fairmont Grand Del Mar in San Diego, Calif.; Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos in Los Cabos; and Auberge du Soleil in Napa Valley, Calif. Below, Hermann Elger, president, travel hospitality and entertainment for ShareCare, explains how the verification tool works.
Would it be right to say that all hotels are abiding by different protocols right now?Yes, this is exactly the issue that we have noticed, and believe Sharecare Health Security Verified with Forbes Travel Guide is the solution to creating this global industry standard.
Great work is being done in hotels and resorts around the world; however, the communication and verification of these protocols is what lacks consistency. Each hotel has invested heavily in time, money and training their staff to do the right things in the right ways, but there is not a globally consistent standard or verification by a trusted third party to easily convey to the world — guests, travel advisors, agencies, planners — that the properties they are booking or sending people to are health secure.
Great work is being done in hotels and resorts around the world; however, the communication and verification of these protocols is what lacks consistency.
Also lacking is a tech-enabled efficient method of having health-secure protocols verified and confirmed by the management team at the hotel. The verification tool is a SaaS (software as a service) solution and is chatbot-enabled as well as easily customizable. Aside from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, local protocols and brand guidelines can also be input into the system to ensure all necessary guidelines are being met.
With likening this program to five-star classifications, is this program aiming to be something for luxury hotels only?Health security is about restoring confidence in all travelers over time, and this is not just limited to luxury properties. As Forbes Travel Guide already has a network of global partners as part of the highly recognized rating system, those partners will have this service available complimentary for 2021.
How does the Sharecare Health Security Verified tool actually vet a hotel’s health and safety standards? In person? The Health Security Verification platform is simple but powerful, using chatbot technology to enable hotels and other travel, hospitality and entertainment companies to confirm its health-secure status as easily as one engages in messaging and texting platforms today.
We don’t tell the hotels how to clean a bathroom for example — there are many valid approaches — we’re simply confirming that they’re doing the right things. The system is based on a checklist of close to 300 “yes” or “no” questions [including health and hygiene protocols, cleaning products and procedures, ventilation, physical distancing, the guest experience and health safety communication] and is designed to be completed by the property’s leadership team.
Sharecare and Forbes Travel Guide do not visit properties in person, rather, the system relies on hotels to be accountable and held responsible for confirming they are verified and accurate.
How will ShareCare be working with Internova Travel Group? What does the partnership entail, exactly?Internova Travel Group has selected Sharecare and Forbes Travel Guide as health security verification partners to validate the procedures and protocols at more than 50,000 hotels booked through its system. Internova is no longer receiving health security protocol information via email, rather referring their hotel partners to www.forbestravelguide.com/healthsecurity to have their health security protocols verified. All of the hotels that Internova works with will go through the verification process and all will be Sharecare Health Security Verified with Forbes Travel Guide by the end of the first quarter of 2022.
Will the results of the classification system be available to the general public? Or is it a subscription for the trade?Once a property becomes Sharecare Health Security Verified with Forbes Travel Guide, they will receive the official Verified badge to be displayed on their website and on property. It is for the public as well as the planners and agents to see so they can easily identify that the property is safe and health secure.
The DetailsSharecare Health Security Verified with Forbes Travel Guidewww.forbestravelguide.com/verified