Ever Strong serves as strategic roadmap for confidently reopening hotels
Vienna, VA (June 15, 2020) – With a long-standing reputation and steadfast commitment to caring for and ensuring the safety of its guests and team members, Southern Management Corporation (Southern), the largest privately-owned residential property management company in the Mid-Atlantic region, and its Hotel Division, has launched a comprehensive cleaning and sanitization program named Ever Strong. This detailed plan allows Southern to safely reopen and operate its four hotels—The Hotel at the University of Maryland, Cambria Hotel College Park, The Hotel at Arundel Preserve and Bear Creek Mountain Resort and Conference Center. Based upon the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), government authorities, and in concert with the American Hospitality and Lodging Association’s Safe Stay standards, Ever Strong is built upon four pillars— physical distancing, cleanliness, active monitoring and rapid response.
“Shortly after the pandemic wreaked havoc on the hospitality industry and forced us to temporarily close some of our hotel properties, our team came together with the mindset of restoring confidence in traveling and created a detailed plan to give our visitors peace of mind as they venture outside of their homes,” said Jeff Brainard, vice president of sales and marketing at Southern Management Corporation. “The company-wide program highlights necessary steps, protocols and actions that are being taken and will continue to be taken to ensure team members, guests and visitors have a safe, clean and comfortable experience at all of our hotel properties.”
The four pillars that make up the foundation of Ever Strong are:
Each of the four properties have been modified to maximize public spaces and encourage physical distancing—keeping guests six feet apart at all times. In addition to layout changes and signage, the properties have adjusted their operational practices to encourage responsible distancing in all areas such as elevators, restaurants, fitness centers, meeting and event spaces and pools. All staff members are required to wear face coverings and guests are strongly encouraged to as well. Disposable face coverings are provided for guests, if needed.
The company’s market-leading cleaning programs have been enhanced and include significantly increased frequency of cleaning in all high-traffic areas and frequent sanitizing of high-touch surfaces. The placement of hand sanitizing stations, property-wide use of personal protective equipment and focus on team member health protocols are also in effect. Guest room sanitization is a priority with enhanced high-touch deep cleaning on doors, furniture, fixtures, telephones, remotes, etc. Linens are delivered and removed from guest rooms in single-use bags. Team members will not enter guest rooms during the guest visits, unless required to respond to an emergency. Guest rooms remain vacant for 48 hours after check-out, when possible.
A critical element of maintaining the Ever Strong program includes monitoring and evaluating our practices, heeding expert guidance, listening to feedback, and adapting. As the Ever Strong program evolves, Southern will actively communicate changes to procedures and protocols to team members and guests. The most current version of the plan is made available to the public via the property websites.
When a presumed or confirmed case of COVID-19 is identified, our mitigation strategy is to take immediate measures that protect guests and team members, while ensuring the continuity and safety of operations. Management will work with the Southern COVID-19 Response Team to follow established protocols. The actions that will be taken include: restrict area access, sanitation, notification, room recovery and contact tracing. Additionally, Southern will notify any in-house guests and team members of the action plan in the event of a positive case of COVID-19 on the property. Contact tracing will be used to determine anyone who may have come into contact with a contaminated area.
All team members receive comprehensive training on COVID-19 safety and sanitation protocols. As a result of the new requirements and protocols, more time and effort is required in what has already been a labor intensive service. Action plans are in place and team members are trained on how to respond swiftly to any reported cases of COVID-19 on-property.
“The size of our hotel portfolio puts us in a unique position over other hotel brands by allowing us to create a comprehensive plan that covers all aspects at each of the four properties. Additionally, because of Southern’s diversified portfolio, we’re able to take findings from other industries and apply to the hotels, when appropriate,” said Brainard. “A key component of our program is to remain nimble and make appropriate changes to our practices based on evolving guidance and best practices to ensure an unmatched experience for all of our guests and visitors.”
The company-wide program is continuously updated to comply with CDC and industry guidelines. To view the full Ever Strong plan in more detail, visit https://www.southernmanagement.com/EverStrong/.