The first 24 hours were really vertigo, according to the person in charge of the establishment. After receiving the call from the Ministry, Oramas gave the orders pertinent so that the hotel was closed and armored, in which there were about a thousand people, including 200 children. “At that time we were only eight workers,” he says.
Likewise, he found himself in the position of having to wake up the Chief of Police to ask him to send agents to cordon off the hotel, so that once the news was made public the clients would not go abroad. “With the police out there was more strength to that decision that no one enter or leave the hotel,” he details.
Once the closure was controlled, the priority was to guarantee the safety of the customers, but they also had to be informed of the situation. “Many of them were going to leave the next day to catch their plane and of course, prohibiting them from leaving was quite complicated and they had to inform everyone that this prohibition came through a Health notification,” he says.
How were customers informed of what was happening in the middle of the night? Flyers were made and tucked under room doors. Thus, although at first the tourists responded badly – during the first four days they could not leave their rooms – “nobody understood it, they did not know why they could not leave,” says Oramas, finally they ended up completely trusting the hotel management . “They called us and we informed them of everything that was happening and we gave them instructions,” he clarifies.
“The objective was to guarantee their safety, and that’s how we steered day by day. We were with the clients confined in their rooms, without being able to leave, for about four days “, recalls the director of H10.
Similarly, a first and rudimentary ‘screening’ of tourists was carried out, asking them where they came from, if they had symptoms. “We even distributed thermometers in each room so that temperatures could be controlled,” says Oramas
It was the first time that something like this had been done, evokes in the distance the person in charge of the establishment, who explains that at that time there were no protocols – we are talking about the end of February 2020-, and hardly any information about it, although he did know that the virus could be lethal.
Likewise, a advance tracking of people who were traveling with the infected tourist.
“Italians usually fly in groups, with relatives. By the client’s surnames I did a search to see how many people had come on that flight with him: we detected that he was with his wife, a brother and a friend who was also with his wife and that they flew together on the same plane. We differentiated them in the rooms they were in, as people who could give future infections so that they did not go out. No one could leave the room at those times because we decided to do so and we monitored these clients much more so that they could not leave to avoid possible infections “, he points out.
How did the quarantine affect hotel services? Oramas remembers how they had to organize that first night. “At 3-4 in the morning we began to improvise food for the customers, we had to give them breakfast and we set up a production chain among the people we were with,” he says.
In this way, picnic bags were prepared, including differentiated ones for children, which were placed on the doors of the rooms so that they could have breakfast when the clients got up.
Customers were not allowed to enjoy the buffet until a few days later, since at the beginning Sanidad was not clear about it. “I insisted that maintaining security measures did not have to be contagious,” he exposes.
Likewise, they had to improvise even a nursing area to attend to clients. “Each one had their pathologies and they needed their pills for the heart or insulin. And we also had many cases of anxiety,” he emphasizes.
Thus, many of the tourists were forced to spend a few extra nights due to confinement. Who assumed the cost of these expenses? Oramas confirms that it was not affected in any way to the clients, “who were not to blame for the situation.”
“To date, no one else has taken over our company. All our expenses incurred are assumed by us. All the time that tourists were here it was because our company was providing coverage at all times, with food, drinks, etc. “, he asserts
The workers’ response
If the director of the H10 Costa Adeje Palace keeps something from those 14 days of confinement, It is with the response that the workers had “the good work of the human team”.
“Everyone put their hearts into this issue,” says Oramas, who tells how after that first night of confinement, with only eight employees, the rest of the staff who had to work arrived the next day
“I went to the door and they saw me with the PPE, the gloves, the mask and they were a bit impressed, because at that time no one was using it,” says Oramas, who adds that he explained the situation and asked them ” go home, wait quietly to see what happens, we have to stay confined and we stay for 14 days to take care of our clients. “
It was in those moments that the hotel manager experienced the most beautiful and emotional part of the whole situation. The employees began to respond to him “boss, we will stay with you” and called their homes to tell their families “the boss needs us and we have to stay, I don’t know how long I’m going to be there”. Because whoever entered had to be confined for 14 days inside the hotel, without knowing what was going to happen and that in the worst case, he could be infected, recalls Oramas.
“But thanks to this group of brave people that I have, at that moment 70 people came to work,” he praises
The H10 Costa Adeje Palace is currently open. “We are very happy that the clients we are receiving are repeaters, since just when we were in the middle of the pandemic they were already with us and they have trusted us and have come back,” he concludes.
Precisely, this action led the Spanish hotel chain H10 to be awarded, at the proposal of HOSTELTUR, in the World Travel Leaders Awards 2020 granted by the World Travel Market fair in London, which that year was held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic. (See H10 Hotels, World Travel Market Leaders award).
H10 received the award for its crisis management and employee involvement when the first case of coronavirus was detected last February in a hotel in Spain, in this company establishment in Tenerife, at a time when the tourism industry still did not know what it was facing.