As we make our way through week five of our team and city sheltering-in place, many of our friends and neighbors are feeling the novelty of working from home; ordering curbside pickup and yes, video calls (I call this “video fatigue”) unfortunately start to wane. Reality is setting in that we can’t really plan on much of anything right now. This, my friends, is a strange place to be in as a planner, as I’m sure you will agree!

But as we polled our team on what they saw would be the new future for hotels and restaurants – who by the way are some of our closest allies when we produce our clients’ corporate events – it dawned on us just how ready we’ll be to come out of our homes to explore our new normal. Actually “ready” is an understatement – we’re excited, eager and champing at the bit!!

Have a look at our list; see if you agree; and what do you think we may have overlooked?

HOTELS

We’ve never seen the likes of what’s happening with our hotel friends right now. But while they’ve been dormant, they’ve been planning, just like us, for what’s to come as we ease back into being with one another.

Here’s what we can expect to see in the hotel world:

  • Signs/letters left in the hotel room notifying the next guest when this room was last sanitized.
  • Disposable bleach wipes will become normal amenities in each room similar to hotel shampoo and conditioner so that an individual that wishes to clean their own counter has the ability to. The wipes at higher end hotels will be a bit fancier (think lovely scents and nice packaging too).
  • All hotel staff will need to wear gloves. They will be industrious at first, though, and then become more stylish as this becomes normal. Again, the nicer the hotel, the nicer the gloves (think ‘white glove’ service, but for the 2020s vs. 1940s).

VENUES

Venue Expectations will be made clear to all using them (i.e., bar, theater, etc):

  • Chairs in a theater will need to have some visible indication that it’s been recently cleaned.
  • Extra hand sanitizers when entering the space.
  • Temperature checks on guests before entering the space.
  • If possible, guests will be encouraged to intentionally leave a space between two seats (if this is what individuals would prefer).
  • Food and beverage options will be scaled back, with most offering personal/custom meals for guests.

RESTAURANTS

Thankfully, many restaurants have been able to remain open through COVID-19, IF they’ve had luck with their delivery and take-out services. This has been near and dear to us here in Austin, as so many of the restaurants here are independent and small (but mighty and delicious!) and need this side of their business to succeed in order to survive. We’ve seen so many people coming out to support their favorite local restaurants, and hopefully this love has (will!) keep them sustained until the shelter-in-place lifts.

Here’s what we can expect from the restaurant world:

  • Initially, I think restaurants will need to reconfigure their seating arrangements to give groups more space between each other.
  • It might go without saying that hand sanitizer will be available at the entrance of every restaurant, and it will be normal (and expected) for patrons to take a pump when they arrive.
  • Buffet and family-style eating will decrease in popularity.
  • Disposable menus and napkins will become more common.
  • Like hotels, restaurants will offer disposable wipes at the end of the meal, ESPECIALLY if any portion of the meal requires eating with ones hands.
  • Speaking of, we might see restaurants adjust their menus around eating with utensils.

Have we missed any? Would love to see your thoughts and comments!

Stay tuned for the next installment where we’ll talk about virtual meetings and events and the lessons we (and our colleagues) have learned so far in this pivot to the new normal.