Last year was a tough year for everyone and it changed the way we think, the way we live our everyday lives, and the way we travel. We are hearing from a lot of our guests who are ready to start vacationing again and we want you to know that we are ready for you. As always, we are committed to offering you a full-service experience tucked into the charm and history of beautiful Mackinac Island. In this blog, we are looking at how Covid-19 has changed the way guests travel to Mackinac Island and explaining why it might be one of the safest places to visit in the current environment. We have interviewed a few key figures to get their outlook of changes that you should be aware of as you plan to join us on the Island this year.
In 2020, Bicycle Street Inn enhanced our cleaning protocols to include newly developed equipment and practices focused on the safety of our guests and staff. That will continue for this coming season. One unique benefit of staying with us is the option of daily housekeeping service. If you have traveled at all this past year, you will know that there are not many hotels offering this service. We are a full-service hotel and want to make you feel just as welcome as you did before the pandemic hit. If you would prefer that no one enter your room during your stay, we have a process for that as well. We are here to meet your needs! We purchased several electrostatic sprayers last season and we will continue using those to sanitize rooms between stays. You can be assured that your room has been cleaned and disinfected to the highest industry standards.
Bicycle Street Inn continues to adopt new equipment and processes to improve safety. This winter we are adding air scrubbers to the air systems in each guest room as well as the public spaces of the hotel. This equipment sanitizes the air within the building on a continuous basis. Also this season we are introducing an option for contactless check-in. You will receive an email on your day of arrival that will show the steps of checking in on your phone. This will help get you to your room faster and limit your contact with our front desk staff. We will continue to offer traditional check-in, as well, and we will still have the smiles that you have come to expect from us. Our warm hospitality has always been, and will continue to be, our signature.
Before you can enjoy your stay, you will need to get here. We caught up with Chris Shepler in the midst of preparation for Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry’s upcoming season. He assures the public that the safety measures put in place last summer will continue as long as necessary. “We will be disinfecting the boats before departing each way. The numerous hand sanitizing stations that were installed on the docks will stay in place, and masks will be required if the state mandates it,” Chris stated. “If the state lifts the requirement, we will lift it as well.” He also wanted to remind everyone to, “wash your hooves!” Shepler’s is encouraging guests to purchase their tickets online to allow contactless entry to the boat and eliminate the need for day guests to go to the ticket office.
Once you are on the Island, it is likely that you will visit one of the sites within Mackinac State Historic Parks. We talked to Dominick Miller, Marketing Chief for MSHP, about the changes that had to be made last year and what we can look forward to this year. “It was a total rethinking of our procedures,” Miller explained, “We had to reevaluate how we do our public programs and have added more outdoor programming for 2021. Some of our highlights are very hands-on and we want people to feel safe and comfortable to use these immersive elements. The Kids Quarters are being redesigned over the winter and we will have more sanitization stations available.” With a push for guests to purchase tickets online, face-to-face interaction with ticket staff will be reduced. This will allow for more interpretive staff inside the Fort, making a more enjoyable visit for guests.
We are seeing updated standards of cleaning and social distancing all around the Island. Tim Hygh, Director of the Mackinac Island Tourist Bureau, said, “We do not see reducing any of the safety precautions that were implemented in 2020. Health will be top of mind and is the new focus of what people will expect. Expectations will be high for advance cleaning of the hotels, restaurants, and gift shops.” Tim explained. He added, “No changes will be made until we get the word that we can take our foot off the pedal.” One thing that the tourist bureau was able to do last year was identify restaurants with outdoor dining and that will be published in the visitor’s guide. Be sure to check that out online here as you plan your visit.
Everyone on Mackinac Island is busy preparing for your arrival this year. As you can see, we are keeping your safety and health as our number one priority and we are excited to welcome you to our little piece of paradise for your Best Vacation Ever!