Grand Hotel’s Doug Dean and Mackinac Island CVB’s Tim Hygh Discuss Mackinac Island Re-Opening

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How is Mackinac Island ensuring a safe travel experience for visitors during the COVID-19 global pandemic? Doug Dean, executive vice president of operations at Grand Hotel, and Tim Hygh, executive director of the Mackinac Island Convention and Visitors Bureau, shared what Island businesses have done to reopen and the precautions they have implemented to ensure safety.

Mackinac Island Task Force

To deal with the health crisis, Mackinac Island pulled together a Public Health Task Force that includes leaders from different segments of their membership – people that run attractions, the City Mayor, local professionals, and health officials from their local health department to help find solutions. Gathering this group to help manage this change ensures that they are providing useful information to all the people that depend on them.

“I think the biggest thing that we’ve done is established these lines of communication that we didn’t really utilize before. So we communicate at least three times a week with our members, with the latest updates, what’s going on in town, what the local health department is saying, and also what we’re seeing with national trends and especially with travel intent as we move forward through the season,” said Dean.

Dean and Hygh created a common approach to re-opening the island.

“The community is incredibly interconnected, and we communicated just on a regular basis about things,” said Dean. “The great thing is we both have a similar vision about how to approach this in the most effective way for the businesses on the island.”

Business on the Island

Grand Hotel has made the experience for their guests safer, but the charm of the hotel remains the same. They have created a safety video to help guests understand what to expect this season and illustrate the steps they are taking to keep Grand Hotel safe while visiting. With the hotel opening, they have many safety protocols in place like:

  • QR codes that are available at each restaurant at each table.
  • Limiting the number of people that go into retail shops.
  • Temperature checks for every employee that comes into the hotel.
  • Everyone is required to wear a mask.
  • A packet that contains hand sanitizer and sanitized room keys upon check-in.

“If we can remain open until the first of November then I would hope that retail could end up in the 60-70% standpoint, as far as gross revenue, and hotels, if they could be in the 50% range,” said Dean.

Continuing with safety protocols and precautions helps the tourism season in Michigan and keeps businesses open throughout the island.

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