Digital First: Local hotels start to see a decline in stays due to COVID-19

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VICKSBURG, Miss. (WJTV) – The travel and hospitality industries are still trying to adjust to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. They’re preparing for cancellations and changing plans while waiting to see how the epidemic will affect bottom lines.

States across the U.S. are invoking shelter in place orders, asking their residents not to leave their homes except for essential items, such as food and medicine. 

But what if you are at a hotel or vacation rental when such an order comes? Could you go to a vacation rental to wait it out?

The answer is ultimately up to your judgment. But advice from the hospitality industry and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should give you a sense of what you need to do to keep you and your family safe.

The virus mainly spreads person to person, according to the CDC. So, the more people you’re around, the more likely you are to get it. The agency recommends staying six feet from other people because the disease can be passed through respiratory droplets creating when someone who has COVID-19 coughs or sneezes.

Southern Hospitality Services Executive Director Lynn Foley works for the courtyard by Marriott in Vicksburg.

“Hotel companies are doing everything they can to make their environments safe as possible.”

Lynn Foley, Exec. Director for Southern Hospitality Services

Some facilities are taking extreme measures, like creating a sanitized key drop for their customers to put their room keys in when they check out. Hotels are also limiting or shutting down spaces.

Marriott offers guidance on its website, as well: “Our hotels’ health and safety measures are designed to address a broad spectrum of viruses, including COVID-19, and include everything from hand-washing hygiene and cleaning product specifications to guest room and common area cleaning procedures.”

Luxury hotels that aren’t franchised may have more control over what goes on at their hotels if they have their own management company running day-to-day operations. This way, they can ensure the safety protocols they have in place are being followed to the letter. 

As for short-term rentals: Airbnb put out guidance for hosts, including do’s and don’ts regarding listings. “While we won’t allow you to claim that your listing is coronavirus-free, you can share details about your cleaning methods,” according to the recommendations on Airbnb’s website.

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