01 Apr 2020
Supporting Key workers in the region from Board Director Chris Heayns at Mill Meadow in Taunton.
"As we recently said goodbye to our last traditional tourism guest and we entered what are challenging times for everyone my thoughts turned to the life of my grandparents and their journey through WW2 and I realised like them we must all do our bit where we can and if we can.
In their day it was frontline service, auxiliary nursing, and essential workers, sound familiar?
Our new generation of frontline and essential workers need all of our support and accommodation providers in Somerset can all play their part to support our new ‘guests in need’.
With the removal of the Business Rates for 2020/21 and the benefit of the Government Grant scheme many accommodation providers, although I appreciate not all, could be in a position to help those in need over the coming weeks.
Here at Mill Meadow with the cessation of traditional tourism we have sent out the message that we are here to support key workers and their families. In response we have found ourselves hosting family groups who have had to separate themselves from homes shared with older and/or vulnerable relatives.
An NHS nurse and her food supermarket manager husband and children, a NHS GP and her family both families in need of support to allow them to carryon with their essential work in our local community in the fight against Covid 19. Our newest Guests in Need booked in on 31.3.20 are a NHS worker and her NHS partner, and their dog, who again have to move out of the home they share with elderly/vulnerable relatives.
Whilst free accommodation is in all truth a step too far given the financial uncertainty that many are experiencing, providers can take the opportunity to reduce rents to cover core operating costs and additionally benefit from both positive PR and that warm glow that comes from knowing you have done something to support the cause.
So my advice is sharpen your pencil and work our exactly what your operating costs are (its a healthy exercise to do at any time), build in a margin for the necessary deep clean between each stay and encourage these new ‘guests in need’ to bring their own bedlinen, pillows, duvets and towels to keep your costs as low as you can.
Don’t forget to deduct those business rates as you will have none for the next 12 months and accept that profit might have to come in a non cash form more in goodwill, positive PR and don’t forget that warm feeling inside.
On PR we have chosen not to shout about what we are doing, grateful ‘guests in need’ will do that for you and remember that positive recommendation is still the most effective form of marketing.
Somerset will bounce back and given that confidence in overseas travel is likely to be some time in its recovery it is likely that ‘staycations’ will be on the increase and we do need to plan now to be ready to welcome back our more traditional guests.
USEFUL INFORMATION and TIPS
£200 damage deposit down upfront - Long let £500
We are supporting Standard Security Deposit of £200 for Longer lets to reflect risk maintained at lower level for NHS as good will.
Payment for rent is monthly in advance operating on 25% to 35% on normal tariff
We are using the 'Short Term Tourism let', as it easy to control month by month
No effect on Government grants as we are still in affect losing money and supporting Key Workers.
(Visit Somerset seeking specific clarifcation from the Government department)
(This are untested but our reasonably thought out measures taken from a number of sources and should not override or replacement HM Gov guidance )
In order to accommodate this new cleaning regime guests may be asked to depart earlier and/or arrive later than normal.
Hopefully this will be on the isolated occasion only and we will still be able to offer early/late departures by arrangement.
Remove unnecessary furnishings and ornaments to reduce the cleaning time.
Do not travel to/from work in your work clothes. Change into your work clothes on arrival and prior to departure and launder daily.
Wash your hands on arrival and departure and between rooms.
Use gloves at all times where possible.
Observe current guidance on personal hygiene and social distancing.
Open all windows and doors to allow free flow of fresh air for a minimum of 60 minutes and if possible allow 72 hours between departure and cleaning.
Unfortunately these times require that we vary our Eco stance on cleaning products until further notice.
3% solution of Hydrogen peroxide on suitable surfaces, this is preferable for allergy sufferers than a 10% traditional bleach solution.
Soap & water or suitable sanitiser /degreaser on all other surfaces.
Kitchen unit door and drawers
Furnishings where possible
Duvets & pillows and air subsequently
Bath & shower areas
Shower taps and handhelds
Tops of hand soap dispensers
TV and device remote controllers
Guests to be asked to strip beds
Staff will then remove mattress and pillow protectors for laundering at each changeover.
Staff should not shake laundry when handling and should handle in a well ventilated area.
All laundry should now be at 60 degrees.
Additional separate guidance has been issued to staff who should continue to maintain in accordance with HSG282 with the addition of a 10% solution of chlorine shock to be used to wiper down hot tubs surrounds and other nearby surfaces.
Dishwashers should be run at a minimum of 60 degrees.
Waste & Recycling:
Guests MUST wash all items to be recycled particularly where the recycle bins are stored in heated areas.
Guests MUST double bag personal waste, including tissues, and place it in the black waste sack provided in the external wheelie bin.
Guests MUST follow exiting guidance that no food waste of any kind should be placed in the black refuse bag.
Staff MUST where gloves at al times and defer any required resorting for at least 72 hours during which time the items are to be left in the open air."
General Manager Mill Meadow Luxury Lodges
Visit Somerset Board member supporting Social Inclusivity .