December 7, 2020 — Back in March, as travelers began to reach out to our Travel Specialists with questions regarding their existing bookings and future stays, we had a simple message. "We can't tell you whether or not to travel," said Elissa Cofield, Tablet's co-head of customer service, "but we can tell you what we're seeing."
Today, our message is the same. But today, what we're seeing is hopeful.
Although hospitality has been among the industries most devastated by COVID-19, hotels have not sat idly by, content to return to business as usual as soon as government regulations allow. As we've spoken to owners and managers of Tablet hotels around the world, we've learned just how obsessive they already were about sanitation and cleanliness. But in the days before COVID-19, those measures were in the hotel's foundation, not on its front page. Now, as our hotels strive to communicate all they're putting in place to make your health and safety their top priority, they're taking extraordinary steps to increase their already intensive cleaning protocols, and to implement social-distancing measures, as well.
Some of these actions are obvious, if rigorous, like frequent sanitation with government-registered disinfectants, reduced guest capacity, or mandatory room vacancies for days after cleaning. Some are what we've come to expect in our regular lives, like contactless delivery from the restaurant to your door, or the elimination of cash payments. Still others are novel and downright exciting, like pre-reserved lounges set up and distanced on the beach, or the creation of new hiking trails and picnic areas to better utilize outdoor space.
There's no one standard for hotels around the world, and, like the very concept of a boutique, each hotel's safety measures are specific to its setting. But as you begin to travel once again, you should know exactly what actions each hotel is taking. In line with our mission to tell you just what we're seeing, we're launching a new program to keep you informed about how our thousands of hotels are ensuring the safety of guests and staff. As you browse Tablet Hotels going forward, look for the cleanliness icon on each hotel page. When you see it, you know that this hotel has taken the Tablet Recovery Pledge to ensure the utmost well-being of our travelers by doing the following:
The pledge itself is merely a baseline, a commitment to Tablet and to you from our hotel partners. But know too that in taking it, each hotel has also provided the specifics of their actions, filling out a detailed checklist regarding each point in the pledge. Does the hotel have contact-tracing measures in place? Are there routine temperature checks? Have their cleaning practices been verified by a third party? We know you want to know everything you can before leaving home. From the cleanliness icon, you can see each safety measure the hotel has pledged to implement. Our customer service team has access to a database of any additional information provided by the hotel — from the cleaning procedures to the reserved time slots at the pool — and we encourage you to reach out to them for further information.
As you begin to consider travel once again, the pledge isn't the only initiative we've launched. Anticipating a desire from Tablet clients to stay at small hotels — those with fewer guests and a stronger tendency to promote the outdoors over inside gatherings — we've also put out our Staying Small series, featuring hotels all around the world with fewer than 20 rooms. We can also point you towards our Take Me Away Machine — a new and, we think, joyful way to discover hotels by selecting what you're looking for in a destination. Longtime Tablet users will remember its last iteration. In its new form, you can filter for staycations as well as by driving distance.
And when you're ready to really get out of town, we've gathered ten of our most popular stories showcasing hotels either in far-flung locales or that provide a sense of separation — a couple things you might be craving when all this is finally over.
Over the last few months, we've come to anticipate rapid changes in our industry. But what we see today are more of our travelers cautiously returning to hotels. When you're ready, we want you to know we're here to help. We want you to know you can reach out to our customer service team anytime, for any assistance, and for any further details on the Tablet Recovery Pledge.
That, and we want you to please wear a mask.