Pentahotels are welcoming back business and leisure guests after national COVID-19 lockdowns
Frankfurt, Germany - 10 June 2020
Introducing new standards, the operational measures of ‘Between Us’ and interview with the Chief of Operations, Andrew Munt
As business and leisure guests are steadily returning to Pentahotels, the team at Penta has implemented new 'distance proof' operational measures, guaranteeing guests a safe stay while still providing their relaxed neighbourhood lifestyle vibe. The brand used the lockdown period to prepare for a safe return of its guests, deconstructing and reassembling its entire scope of products and services to provide maximum safety. The result is an enhanced experience with many added benefits for the guests of Pentahotels.
Rogier Braakman, Managing Director of Penta Hotels Worldwide, joined the company in February and has been leading Penta through these challenging times. “Knowing that you are safe while travelling is the most important factor when making a journey,” he states. “This is why our most important message to our guests is: we did not rest; we worked hard in all areas of our hotels to remain your choice for a safe and worry-free stay.”
Rogier adds: “We have implemented new hygiene and safety standards without jeopardising the special Penta spirit that our guests will still enjoy. We call this new set of measures ‘Between Us’. ‘Between Us’ represents our belief that despite the current situation, something very positive is happening among mankind. It is that special bond we have with our guests and within our teams that, while still respecting physical distance, brings us closer together and makes it work - between us.”
To create ‘Between Us’, Penta studied the regulations and best practices in its different markets and worked together with international health and safety advisors to develop a new operating standard. The brand has already trialled these measures in some locations with much success. The past weeks have been used to forge new partnerships, such as the one with Dutch aviation supplier Foodcase International BV - for guest hygiene kits and F&B solutions; and also to introduce great tools like the an intuitive training app from Knowingo, to train and certify staff on COVID-19 containment.
All reopening dates and information on the new measures can be found at BETWEEN US.
Interview with Andrew Munt, Chief of Operations at Penta
Q: Andrew, all these measures that travellers are confronted with these days… it feels that travelling used to be a more fun before the COVID-19 pandemic, right?
A: This is an unprecedented situation, which must be handled with the highest attention to detail. Anyone who travels needs to be sure that it is safe to do so. Normally, in the hotel business we are experts in creating a safe environment for our guests without them realising. This is different, because we wanted to actively show the newly implemented safety measures.
Understandably, many businesses rushed to reopen as soon as possible, but that left many looking like hospitals – covered in hazard signs. Penta has taken a different approach to this, to keep the inviting, friendly, light-hearted and entertaining spirit of the brand that is Penta.
Q: So, how do you build the bridge between a safe stay and the Penta experience?
A: For us at Penta it was important to not only create a feeling of safety in a way that was not too heavy handed, but also to deeply review the entire hotel experience and create our own list of measures that were supported by the research of international health and safety advisors. We refined existing procedures and concentrated on those that make a difference to the health and safety of our guests and team.
All new measures are themed ‘Between Us’, which is much more than just a catchy phrase. ‘Between Us’ guides you through the entire guest journey; before arrival, during the stay and after departure. It makes the new measures visible but above all else, ‘Between Us’ should help us reconnect. Everything ‘Between Us’ should turn the negative into something positive. Something fun.
Q: And where is the fun?
A: The fun starts even before the guest arrives. It seems that nowadays everybody needs a little extra space. We took inspiration from rock stars, who know a thing or two about social distancing, and we created video briefings similar to those explaining the safety features of a plane. Mixed with our own sense of humour of course. Then, upon arrival, the guest receives a complimentary safety kit, with a facemask, gloves, sanitiser and more. Our rooms follow a new standard called the ‘Naked Room’, and wherever breakfast buffets remain closed to comply with local regulations, a complimentary sealed snack bag will be waiting in front of your door every morning.
Q: The Naked Room?
A: Basically, we stripped back our rooms to contain just the essentials that our guests truly need, and only allowed items back in that are safe and hygienic – a new standard with a catchy name that is easy to remember.
Q: Are there any obligations or new routines for your guests?
A: Yes, but these are designed to be simple and intuitive. Guests just need to follow the guidance of signage and our teams. Easy things like keeping to the marked distances, considering the stairs over the elevator, or pre-booking a time-slot for the gym or a table in the Pentalounge. Most features will be also available in the Penta App, serving as serving as a one point of information through the entire hotel journey.
Apart from this, guests can really help to make it work ‘Between Us’. Please, only travel if you feel 100% healthy. If you do travel, there are three easy steps to help keep you and the people around you safe: 1. keep your distance, 2. wash and sanitise your hands, and 3. wear your mask where required.
Q: So, Penta is safe to stay at, but what if I am attending a conference in one of your hotels?
A: As we did for guests staying overnight, we also completely overhauled all meeting procedures. We introduced new capacity limits to ensure correct distances are observed, and new concepts for lunch and meeting breaks have been introduced. Similar to hotel guests, meeting guests are guided through the entire hotel with our ‘Between Us’ signage. All additional measures are communicated to the guests through the event organizers and can be viewed on our website.
Most importantly, we collect the contact details of all event participants to ensure we adhere to local authority guidelines and can react promptly in case of need. Naturally, this collection of personal data is handled confidentially and strictly according to GDPR and national regulations.
Q: You mentioned an App before that helps navigating through the hotel?
A: The Penta App is planned to serve as a one point of information and one-stop-shop for anyone visiting the hotel. It will hold all information to navigate through the hotel and to use all services. Guests will be able to directly communicate with the hotel team, make reservations, check-ins and check out will be featured in the app and much more.
Q: You also decided to eliminate cash payments from your hotels, correct?
A: Yes. As we worked through all processes, dealing with cash payments was identified as a risk factor for our guests and our staff. Consumers are already used to completing cashless payments for online purchases and in supermarkets or restaurants. From previous experience in our markets, we encountered wide support for this measure and have not had a single complaint.
Q: Anything you would like to add, before we catch a cold beer and a burger in the Pentalounge?
A: Yes. In the past month, we have experienced the toughest challenge ever for us as a business and for many our team members. We have seen the personal sacrifices and the uncertainty, but also the commitment, the positivity and the team spirit from everyone who has worked towards the reopening of our hotels. It has been truly moving and I would like to express my deepest thanks to everyone in the company. We all worked hard for this moment and it is a great honour welcoming our guests back to a more resilient and even better Penta than before.
Q: Thank you, Andrew.
Penta® represents a new generation of neighbourhood lifestyle hotels offering modern-minded individuals and business travellers comfort and style in a relaxed atmosphere. Known for its unique interior design and attitude, the lifestyle brand stands for true innovation in the industry’s upper-midscale segment. With 28 operating hotels under the brand across Europe and Asia, the hallmark of the hotel chain is the Pentalounge – a combination of lounge, bar, café and reception – that stands out with its "living room" look and feel. For further information and bookings, please visit www.pentahotels.com. Follow us on FACEBOOK and INSTAGRAM for our latest news.