- Las Vegas reopened with safety protocols put by law in place to ensure safety
- Many travelers still ignoring the safety protocols set out
- Technology such as panic buttons supplied in 2018 to be used to ensure safety
- Contactless technology in place to help emphasize social distancing protocols
Not so long ago were you able to ride and walk down the middle of Las Vegas Boulevard without fearing any oncoming traffic. But this has changed with Las Vegas reopening and while business may take time to resume to normalcy, visitors are still coming to the Sin City.
The good news
While trying to see how the hotels and casinos were operating during this COVID-19 times, I decided to take a stroll down The Strip to visit some of the properties. I must say that I was impressed. The safety protocols were in place from the hand sanitizers on the entrances, disposable masks offered to those who did not carry theirs, workers wearing masks and gloves, plexiglass partitions in place to separate close interactions, visual reminders of respecting the six-foot social distancing protocols, and limiting the number of people accessing the elevators.
Other properties went a step further to assure the visitors that all surfaces and safegood in the casino and hotel rooms were disinfected. Others offered a welcome package in rooms that included a bottle of sanitizer and two masks.
The bad news
While those are good news, many travelers are ignoring them as I came to find out. This may be directed to COVID fatigue settling in. Social distancing guidelines in elevators are being ignored, many are still packing into cars, large groups of revelers are still congregating in lobbies with only 10% of people wearing masks properly. This is putting other guests and employees at risk. Employees in that some housekeepers touch guests’ personal items, soaps, towels, and linens. No wonder a mandatory face-covering policy effective from June 24 was issued by Gov. Sisolak.
Panic buttons to the rescue
But, on the positive side, Nevada has always been a step ahead when it comes to safety. 2018 saw all Las Vegas casinos and hotels asked by The Culinary Union to supply 50,000 of its 57,000 guest room attendants with panic buttons to help notify security on any situation that’s threatening and uncomfortable.
This time, I was an MGM Resorts employee working as the Executive Director of Hotel Operations for ARIA Resort & Casino. Selected on a committee to select the property’s employee safety device, I came to have an in-depth education on the panic button solutions such as React Mobile that required no cabling or hardware and used the latest Bluetooth, GPS, and IoT technology.
For now, nearly all Las Vegas housekeepers are equipped with panic buttons, and with the ongoing civil unrest and pandemic, they are in an enviable position thanks to the technology in place to protect the people.
The safety devices allow the workers to;
- Dispatch emergency alerts and receive help in real-time
- Notify security in case a fight or riots break out
- Notify management in case a guest is coughing uncontrollably
- Call the first responders in case of a COVID-19 outbreak
Contactless technology is also being featured in many Las Vegas properties. The application ensures that staff interaction is minimized. Where long lines are prevalent in hotels, it is here that contactless technologies will take charge to streamline the service, boost traveler confidence, drive satisfaction, and more importantly, distance workers, therefore, keeping them safe.
Many rooms are fitted with guest-use tablet computers and have been proven to be easy to clean while at the same time driving guest engagement. Depending on the sophistication of the tablets, guests may have to touch light switches, phones, TV remotes, drapery pulls, and thermostats less. Restaurants are also incorporating QR-code technology where codes can be scanned and menu uploaded on phones by the guests.
Many properties are also taking employee temperatures before the start of a shift, staff congestion is also being minimized thanks to the time-and-attendance solutions helping with employee shifts scheduling and staggering, and finally, cleanliness is being achieved by electro-static cleaning technologies.
While contact technology may come out as important, I believe that there should be a focus on implementing processes, systems, and devices to keep the workers safe. After this is achieved, the employees can then extend service excellence to guests.
The views expressed are of Shannon McCallum, chairperson of the Nevada Hotel & Lodging Foundation and former ARIA Resort & Casino and Vdara Hotel & Spa former Vice President of Operations.