After several months of closure, The Cavendish London, part of The Ascott Limited (Ascott), will re-open its doors to leisure and business travellers in May. Mark Hardy, General Manager at The Cavendish London stayed at the hotel during lockdown along with nine members of the team. Here he talks about the how he is preparing the hotel and his teams for re-opening on 17 May 2021.

What has been happening at the hotel during lockdown to prepare it for re-opening?

We have members of the management, maintenance and front office teams staying with us currently. The maintenance team has taken advantage of the property being closed and completed large renovation projects, including an upgrade of one of our elevators. We’ve also made light refurbishments to the restaurant and lounge area as well as updates to bedroom amenities, including plush dressing gowns for guests and new Nespresso coffee machines in all our suites and penthouses.

In the lead up to the hotel reopening, our front office team has been really busy with guest enquiries and booking reservations, which is positive. They also oversee the operation of our private car park and are responsible for the security of the building.

As well as supervising all of the work at the hotel, I have been working on our reopening plan with Ascott’s wider UK team. I have also attended virtual meetings with the team to discuss our revenue, sales and marketing plans, conducted annual staff appraisals and accounting.

How are you keeping in touch with furloughed staff?

Like many businesses, we have several team members on furlough, including some who have been furloughed since last March, so we want to make sure they are comfortable and confident ahead of their return to work.

We have been using Facebook’s Workplace communication tool to keep all of our team members updated on projects at the hotel. We have monthly Zoom meetings, which are great as we’re an incredibly social team and we miss being with each other. Alongside our monthly business catch ups we have been celebrating birthdays, work anniversaries and promotions via Zoom.

Have you implemented any new strategies ahead of the reopening of the hotel?

We have implemented a number of different procedures to benefit guests and our teams, including the Ascott Cares programme. Ascott Cares reassures guests and staff that Ascott will deliver stringent hygiene and cleanliness standards and continue to provide safe homes for its guests, and a safe working environment for its staff.

Like many other properties we have increased our already comprehensive sanitation and hygiene standards across all departments. We have also been actively minimising contact with contractors whilst on site and opting to meet online rather than in person at the hotel.

As part of a wider sustainability project, we have introduced a smart metering system and new water treatment system at the hotel to help us reduce our energy costs, emissions and carbon footprint.