Stefan Leser, the CEO of the world-respected Langham Hospitality Group, exclusively speaks to TTG about the impact of COVID-19 on operations, as well as the measures the group is taking to ensure its guests’ safety.
TTG: How has COVID-19 affected Langham Hospitality Group?
In the last three months, we have witnessed unprecedented global events brought upon by the novel coronavirus. The domino effect of this pandemic is reverberating around the world as the number of infected cases continue to rise.
The situation in Hong Kong and China is now more controlled compared to the rest of the world. In China and Hong Kong, our hotels have undergone an extraordinarily difficult period which saw not only the hotels’ occupancies plunge to near single digit levels. In China, we had to operate on skeleton crews as most of the colleagues were unable to travel due to the transport bans, and in some cases, manage the complete closure of several of our properties for a few weeks. I am very proud that my colleagues globally have all risen up to the occasion and shown leadership and camaraderie, and are doing their best to ride through this crisis together.
Our priority continues to be the health and safety of our guests and colleagues, and to support the community we operate in during this crisis.
We are taking every necessary precautionary process based on the expert advice of the World Health Organization, local governments, public health authorities and medical professionals to ensure we play our part in stopping the transmission of this virus.
TTG: What measures are you taking to ensure your visitors are safe and comfortable?
Our hotels are upholding the highest standards of hygiene and cleanliness, and have strengthened protective measures, which include frequent disinfection of all high-touch areas, requiring guests to complete a declaration form regarding their recent travel details, temperature checks for all colleagues prior to their shift, sterilisation of all chinaware, glassware and cutlery using high temperature washing equipment, placing additional hand sanitisers at the restaurants and lounges, and executing additional cleaning protocols in all rooms and suites prior to and after each guest’s stay.
Our colleagues – essential to providing excellent care and vital in helping to combat the spread of the virus – are guided by enhanced training sessions on hygiene protocols. On a daily basis, our teams are reminded to observe good hygiene practices to reduce the risk of possible transmission of the virus. These preventive actions include washing hands thoroughly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitiser, staying home if feeling unwell and avoiding close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.
TTG: What message would you like to send to those staying with you over the next few weeks?
It is understandable that people are worried about travelling until the crisis is over and the health and safety of our customers and colleagues is and always has been our highest priority.
To ease the concerns and provide a sense of security for guests travelling to our hotels, Langham Hospitality Group continues to remain vigilant and we have implemented rigorous measures against the spread of the coronavirus at The Langham and Cordis hotels around the world.
We will continue to respond and adopt the necessary precautionary processes based on the expert advice of the World Health Organization, local governments, public health authorities and medical professionals to ensure we play our part in stopping the transmission of this virus for the safety of our colleagues and guests.
TTG: Please send a short, positive message to the rest of the travel and tourism industry!
Take good care of each other, stay positive and keep moving forward. Together, we will emerge from this turbulent period stronger.