Sunday, July 25, 2021

Many SWFL hotels making pandemic changes permanent



FORT MYERS

As travel picks up this summer, some services that made changes during the pandemic will make those changes permanent, and that includes hotels. Many are getting back to normal, but normal might have a new look for a lot of them.

These hotels made changes to survive, whether by reducing the number of staff or making changes to the way they provide services to guests. Due to both guest preferences and a shortage of workers, a lot of the hotels in Florida are making those changes permanent, adapting to a new, post-pandemic business model. Those changes range from the way they serve the breakfast buffet, to more flexibility when it comes to booking and cancellations.

“I think, you know, deposits and reservations… that we’ve changed that up to make it more flexible for people and booking,” said Bill Waichulis, general manager of Pink Shell Beach Resort and Marina at 275 Estero Blvd in Fort Myers. “We found that that works and the consumer likes that, the ability to cancel and not have a penalty.”

All have stepped up their sanitation procedures, which no guests seem to be complaining about.

“We’re always going to improve, I mean, you could always continue getting better,” said Melissa Schneider, marketing director for Lani Kai Island Resort at 1400 Estero Blvd. in Fort Myers. “We look at that as a good thing. You know, this pandemic, although it was very tough… we were able to learn a lot of things, and we continue implementing a lot of those great safety features.”

Some hotel managers have told WINK News that, while they are having trouble finding workers, demand for their rooms has almost never been higher, and even though we’re technically out of season, they’re actually looking to hire more workers than they did before COVID-19.



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