With 100.8 million jobs at risk in the global travel and tourism market in 2020, the world is cautiously opening up again with the easing of COVID-19 travel restrictions in certain countries. While South Africa gears-up to resume travel operations,hotels are feeling the pressure due to strict safety controls and a slow start to trading.

Crowd control, prohibition of on-premises consumption of alcohol, social distancing and physical barriers are just a few of the safety protocols anticipated in the wake of South Africa’s tourism revival. To support travel health and safety measures, a local start-up has developed ‘Contactless Stay’, a quality mark for the international hotel industry.

“Hoteliers earn their Contactless Stay quality mark when they meet certain safety conditions. The quality mark supports World Health Organization responsible tourism principles while restoring trust and faith in guests,” says Niels Verspui, Country Manager, RoomRaccoon SouthAfrica.

Technical conditions for the quality mark include online check-in and online payments. Guests can also choose a contactless key system for added safety. The online check-in also provides guests with the option to book extras such as a Corona Kit and the option to exclude housekeeping during their stay. Once these protocols are met, hoteliers can then place the quality mark on the website, social media, and physical building structures.

“RoomRaccoon is relatively new to the South African market. It is an innovative cloud-based software solution for hotels, B&B’s, lodges and holiday homes supporting more than 1 200 business in 45 countries across the globe. The environment in which we operate is incredibly challenging, however, the need for innovative tech solutions to support business operations with real-time data and cost-reduction techniques is vital. Adding to this, technology provides contactless operations which are key for travel safety.”

Recent research conducted by RoomRaccoon across 40countries indicates that 78% of guests felt it is important that hoteliers show their response both to the pandemic and to government efforts at a local level. “The Contactless Stay quality mark is exactly that,” adds Niels. 

Better, more sustainable, and resilient growth for tourism 

According to the United Nations World Travel Organisation (UNWTO), 850 million to 1.1 billion international tourists will not be travelling due to the pandemic, resulting in a 34% decrease in global revenue for the travel and tourism industry from the previous year.

“To accelerate recovery in the months ahead, hoteliers need to be fully committed to putting staff and guests’ well-being first, through safety and security protocols, while harmonizing and coordinating world health travel protocols to reinforce responsible tourism.”

Niels continues, “the Contactless Stay quality mark encourages the use of technology for safe, seamless and touchless travel to help redesign processes and operations in all possible touchpoints; to ultimately support a new vision for global tourism and help it to recover with confidence.”