Interstate Hotels & Resorts Signs Up to Safe to Trade Scheme
October 22, 2020 | Community, News, Openings, Our Team, Signings
Interstate Hotels & Resorts, the International Division of leading US-based global hotel management company Aimbridge Hospitality, has become the largest hotel company to sign up to the UK Safe to Trade Scheme.
A nationwide, independently-verified, COVID-19 safety standard, the Safe to Trade Scheme supports hospitality businesses in becoming COVID compliant and was launched by a team of top-ranking hospitality safety experts, including the former CEO of the Health and Safety Executive and Food Standards Agency.
The Scheme, which has customer and employee safety as its core, is underpinned by an industry-led safety charter which helps UK hotels to trade safely, ensuring that their premises and teams are COVID-secure via ongoing safety checks and monitoring. The Scheme aims to supercharge consumer confidence, getting customers back through hotel doors and an approval from the Scheme is a stamp of endorsement that a business is committed to trading safely.
Experts from the Scheme’s administrators, Shield Safety Group, have worked with Interstate for more than ten years, supporting the third-party management company through a period of substantial growth before working hand-in-hand throughout the Covid-19 crisis.
Debbie Johnson, Vice President of Operations UK at Interstate, said: “We are proud to join the UK Safe to Trade scheme, building on our already long-standing relationship with Shield Safety Group and reinforcing our commitment to ensuring our hotels are able to operate safely, continuing to welcome guests.
“It’s no secret that Covid-19 has presented numerous challenges for our industry so, the support of Shield Safety Group and the Safe to Trade Scheme has been invaluable. From developing risk assessments and updating our internal training manuals, to creating new protocols and policies across all areas of the business, it’s been a huge task to undertake but one that is essential in reassuring our guests and our owners, as well as protecting the health and wellbeing of our employees, too.”
As part of the Safe to Trade Scheme, each of Interstate’s hotels is assisted by expert Environmental Health Practitioners, who work in collaboration with the hotel teams to ensure that all environments are Covid-19 compliant.
Debbie added: “Covid-compliance is now a way of life for all Interstate managed hotels and, alongside Shield, we have devised a robust approach that is not only fit for purpose and in line with current UK government regulations but it is also future-proofed and market-leading.”
Interstate’s 62 Safe to Trade Scheme registered hotels will join hundreds of other hospitality venues on the Safe to Trade Scheme register – a national list of approved establishments that the public can consult to find a Covid-safe venue, as well as to provide feedback following a visit.
Signage across all of Interstate’s approved sites will ask consumers and staff to share honest feedback on each individual hotel’s performance, via the Safe to Trade Scheme website. This feedback is given anonymously and then shared with the hotel and, where needed, the management team is encouraged to make any necessary changes to their safety measures. The register is also made available to local and national safety regulators, to assist with their requirement to risk rate businesses.
Mark Flanagan, Chair of the Safe to Trade Scheme governance board and CEO of Shield Safety Group comments: “We have been working hand-in-hand with Interstate since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, following a 10+ year relationship. Our core focus has been on helping the business to keep their people and their guests safe. From aiding sites with staying open throughout lockdown, to making their premises available to key workers, advising on safety training and redesigning workflows, we have worked with Interstate to interpret regularly changing government and regulator guidance, ensuring that customers can relax and have the peace of mind that they’re visiting a Covid-safe environment.”
He adds: “Interstate has done everything in its power to protect both its people and its customers in what have been highly unusual and highly pressurised times. As a business with a strong inherent safety culture Interstate has excelled in its response to the pandemic, keeping premises open while also maintaining Covid-free environments. This continues to be no mean feat.”
The Safe to Trade Scheme donates 10% of sign-up fees to Hospitality Action and is spearheaded by a governance board of top-ranking industry experts, including the ex-Head of Local Delivery at Food Standards Agency, the ex-Head of Food Hygiene Department at Camden BRI, Former CEO of the Health and Safety Executive and Food Standards Agency, the UK Deputy Government Chemist and Executive Director of the Food Authenticity Network and the Food and Drink Awards’ Scientist of the Year and the CEO of Shield Safety Group – the company which administers the Scheme.
The Safe To Trade Scheme also has assured advice status, which means approved venues can be confident their business is complying with the law and will receive protection from COVID-19 related enforcement action – an important feature when regulators have different views on what a business should be doing to achieve compliance.
To find out more about the Safe to Trade Scheme visit: www.safetotrade.org.uk.