Last week our Hotel Hero Robin was at the DoubleTree by Hilton Amsterdam Central Station. There he spoke with Caroline Receveur (General Manager) and with Ilona van Rooij (Commercial Director) about the effects of the COVID-19 virus they experience in their hotel and their experiences with VoorDeThuis workers.nl.

What has changed since March 16?

In brief? Everything. Within a few days, all processes had to change compared to before. And our team members had to be informed and trained about this.
We currently offer contactless room service, where everyone stays at least 1.5 meters away and often does not even have to see each other. In addition, all door handles, lift buttons and counters are disinfected and cleaned every hour. The preparation of the food in the kitchens with all precautions is also different from normal.

Do the measures also apply to your team members? I can imagine that this is also a big change for them.

That's right yes. We now have desk employees who, for example, have learned housekeeping. At our hotel, the rule is that 20% of the 350 (!) Team members can perform all tasks in the hotel. In addition, 20% of the team members 80% can perform all necessary tasks. This allows us to be very flexible, for example in case of illness or people who have to travel from afar and that is now difficult.
There are also even bigger changes that have taken place. For example, the manager of the Starbucks at our building is now cleaning shopping trolleys in the Albert Heijn in the street. Fortunately, we can continue to pay him so that he can do this.

What has turned out to be the most difficult in recent weeks?

The loss of sales. You have to imagine that you go from an occupancy rate of close to 100% to practically 0%. We have to keep a large building in the center of Amsterdam running and that simply involves a lot of costs. We hope for a large growth in local / national tourism so that this will be somewhat feasible.

Are there any positive points in all of this?

Yes! Contact with other hotels and with our guests is warmer than ever. Due to the lower occupancy rate, there is more time and space for our guests and we can occasionally do something extra that normally would not always be possible. We have also received several letters from regular customers who have a warm heart and miss us.

In addition, the contact with other companies, schools and hotels is even better than in the normal world. Tomorrow, for example, a call is planned with a number of hotels, with which we will now all look for solutions.

And to conclude, what do you think of VoorDeThuis workers.nl?

Genuinely a brilliant idea! It is very good that they acted so quickly without self-interest, the hotel industry is helped and so are the homeworkers. Hopefully enough people will be familiar with the concept within a short time so that people who have difficulties can be helped. From DoubleTree by Hilton Amsterdam Central Station we also offer running routes and, for example, a yoga mat, so that it really is a day out. By the way, did you know that JK Rowling wrote part of Harry Potter in a hotel room?