Hotels seek more communication with counties as they work to increase information flow to visitors

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — With thousands of visitors coming into Hawaii under the state’s Safe Travels program, there has been a push to bring them more information before they get to Hawaii and throughout their stay.

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Hotels say they have been ramping up their procedures with booking and check-in to inform visitors before-hand of the rules.

The American Hotel and Lodging Association, which represents about 160 hotels, said they have been working to improve the way visitors get information.

“[During] booking we’re telling our guests almost to a tee that there are different rules in place, and those rules whether they are quarantine, social distancing or mask wearing are not optional,” said Kekoa McClellan with the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

Aqua-Aston Hotels said it has been referring guests at check-in to the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s COVID-19 page.

Springboard Hospitality, which owns hotels like White Sands, Pacific Monarch and Ohia Waikiki Suites said they have had to adjust their message for each county.

“We’ve instructed the [general managers] to make sure that they know what their local county mandate is and that they’re explaining that to the guests at check-in,” said Springboard Hospitality Vice President Rob Robinson.

For counties like Oahu that have a tier system, Robinson said they have a color-coded chart for guests to review.

He said most guests have been mainly individuals or couples, so they don’t need to explain about the group limits on Oahu.

However, Robinson said he wishes that there was more communication between hotels and county officials.

“To find out even after the Oct. 15th opening that we’re also supposed to be distributing information on the mask mandates … nobody from the city or the county or the mayor’s office put out any kind of a message to us,” said Robinson.

He said they only started doing so after they received a message from the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association, but he said with more time, they could have been better prepared.

Once hotels do get the message, McClellan said they are quick to pass it on to visitors.

“The Hawaii Tourism Authority CEO has made it crystal clear that they want us to assist the government in opening safely by sharing messages we know to be true – mask wearing saves lives and it’s the law. Tell your guests, and continue to promote safety standards on property like safe stay Hawaii which are sufficient to reduce the spread of communicable diseases especially COVID-19,” said McClellan.

There will be a meeting between the City and County of Honolulu and tourism officials on Thursday. Robinson said part of the discussion will be on improving communication.

“To just try and get on the same page so that the county knows what we’re up to, and we know what the county expects of us. So, we can all be working together for a safer visitor experience,” said Robinson.

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