Preparing to Reopen


By Alex S. Chamblin, Jr.


Reopening your resort largely depends on state and local ordinances implemented to restrict the full operation of non-essential businesses during COVID-19, so a resort’s open dates should be aligned with the lifting of state and local restrictions. To ensure proper preparation of the resort for your visitors, aim for a 10-to-14-day window of notice to reopen.


Resorts should communicate with owners prior to arrival to ensure that the appropriate expectations are set for their vacation. If amenity closures or local restrictions are in place, pre-arrival communications offer an opportunity to set proper expectations and give visitors upfront notice before they travel.

Utilize website announcements and social-media communications to distribute up-to-date information easily to your owners and guests.

Management pre-opening procedures

Develop a staffing plan that matches the resort’s expected occupancy levels. Once the expected occupancy is determined, your staffing plan may include:

  • Maintaining the minimal level of non-essential positions
  • Reducing front-desk hours
  • Ensuring supply inventory levels are aligned with expected occupancy and staffing levels

Bear in mind that housekeeping and maintenance staffing should be kept at a level that allows for increased cleaning and sanitizing.

Before opening the resort, management should contact third-party vendors whose services were previously canceled or placed on hold and provide onsite vendors with a list of current protocols for health and safety to which they should adhere while on resort grounds.

Management should hold staff meetings outdoors to minimize risks and adhere to social distancing guidelines. Furthermore, all staff must be trained in the use and disposal of personal protective equipment.

Common areas pre-opening procedures

To best protect employees, owners, and guests, continue to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines by implementing the following processes:

  • Place hand sanitizer (preferably touchless) at key guest and employee entrances and establish a regular rotation for refilling dispensers as needed.
  • Display CDC-approved signage throughout the property.
  • Disinfect all touchpoints with Environmental Protection Agency-approved cleaning products that are effective against viruses, bacteria, and airborne/bloodborne pathogens.
  • Minimize check-in collateral by emailing prior to owner/guest arrival, and include a Covid-19 visitor form in the documentation.
  • Ensure check-in stations are at least six feet apart.
  • Mark floors clearly to ensure proper social distancing.
  • Consider installing plexiglass shields to protect employees and visitors during in-person interactions.
  • Move to curbside/mobile check-in if possible.

Guest unit pre-opening procedures

Any unit scheduled for check-in must be thoroughly cleaned no more than 48 hours before the guest’s arrival, and housekeeping should be especially attentive to high-touch areas.

Reusable collateral such as local directories and advertisements have the potential to collect germs. Resorts should remove reusable collateral and either replace it with a disposable alternative that can be thrown away after check-out or provide the information electronically to owners and guests.

The new normal for resort amenities

Moving forward, amenity access will be different, at least for now. Resorts should ensure that all amenity seating, such as pool chairs, are appropriately spaced with extraneous seating removed. Proper CDC signage should be displayed throughout amenity zones. Local ordinances should determine the reopening of fitness centers, and if indoor exercise is unavailable, resorts should provide guests with in-room and/or outdoor fitness options.

Hand sanitizer should be available for guests, and all equipment should be disinfected between guest usages. Utilize labeling and sign in/out forms when possible to ensure proper sanitation.

Operating in unique times

As the travel industry begins to recover, place a constant focus on communications with incoming owners and guests. Maintain a high level of satisfaction and safety by providing ongoing training and communications with employees. Finally, order in advance to ensure that sanitation inventory remains well-stocked.

Contact: Alex S. Chamblin, Jr., senior vice president of operations, Capital Vacations, , 843-213-2383