'Fighting tooth and nail:' Pfister adopts pandemic precautions as hospitality industry struggles

MILWAUKEE -- The Pfister in downtown Milwaukee offered a demonstration on Wednesday, July 22 of how they are fighting the coronavirus at a time when the hospitality industry as a whole is struggling.

Pfister staff assure guests that their hotel and amenities are safe. For example, doors that normally would need to be touched now have touchless entry -- one of several changes made at the downtown staple.

"We have a robot that cleans the floors. We have spray guns that are sanitizing everything. We try to keep it low, to no contact for our guests," said Erin Levzo with Marcus Hotels and Resorts. "We also have each room inspected and cleaned, and then a seal on the outside of the door."

Floor-cleaning robot at The Pfister

Door seal at The Pfister

The hotel currently allows 50% capacity, and asks guests to come back after a difficult time for business. It reopening in early June after closing due to the pandemic.

"It hasn't been without its challenges, but we have been fighting tooth and nail to get our doors back open," said Levzo.

Some experts say the hospitality business recovery could take years.

"There will be probably more local travel, more local tourism, but then from a business traveler's perspective, people may switch to other means of communication such as Zoom, Skype," Val Sibilkov, associate professor of finance at UW-Milwaukee, said. "If you drop hotel prices more people are going to come, but it may take a while for that to happen."

The Pfister

Pfister staff said feedback on cleanliness and safety has been positive thus far.

"The people that have visited our salon, our guests in Mason Street (Grill), they've all said that they feel safe. They felt a level of cleanliness that they would expect and they had a great time," said Levzo.

Social distancing and masks are also required at the Pfister. Staff said guests have been happy to comply.