By: John Goetz, Global Product Manager, Hydro Systems
While COVID-19 hit the travel industry especially hard, the upside of consumers postponing or canceling travel plans throughout 2020 has made them more eager to travel than ever before. In fact, a recent survey from Expedia showed that 81% of travelers place greater value on traveling and plan to use more vacation time this year. However, this yearning for travel also comes with baggage. Travelers have higher expectations for cleanliness, which makes great reviews harder to come by and negative ones more damaging. As a result, hotels will need to prioritize cleanliness to ensure guests are confident booking with them and feel safe during their stays.
Earning Five Stars for Cleanliness
With studies showing that 90% of travelers will avoid booking hotels described as dirty, it will be crucial for properties to adapt to the new traveler mindset. Consider the following recommendations to help prepare your hotel for new customer expectations:
- Maintain clean front-of-house areas – While regular upkeep is vital for all hotel spaces, front-of-house areas require special attention. In fact, nine out of 10 consumers polled in a 2017 survey said they are more likely to have a negative opinion of a business if public spaces like lounges, restrooms or lobbies are not clean. The pandemic has brought cleanliness to the forefront, and it will continue to be an important consideration when guests are contemplating becoming repeat customers. To address spills and accumulated soils quickly, have cleaning staff make regular rounds and remind front-of-house employees to be vigilant. Regularly disinfect surfaces like check-in counters, elevator buttons and door handles. Chemical dispensers can be a tremendous help to front-of-house and cleaning staff alike by providing a simple way to fill spray bottles and mop buckets with properly diluted cleaning solutions.
- Focus on clean linens and dishware – Little details like clean linen and dishware can make a big difference for guests. Accurate dispensers help housekeeping and foodservice staff maintain cleanliness by improving laundry and warewashing This equipment dispenses various types of laundry chemicals like stain removers and fabric softeners to prolong the life of linens and is instrumental for keeping dishware clean and sanitized as part of the food safety regiment. Reliable dispensers ensure travelers will have clean bedsheets, towels, napkins, glasses and utensils throughout their stay, and further builds a reputation centered around cleanliness.
- Reduce opportunities for direct contact – Limiting touch points can make customers more comfortable while reducing the risk of illness spreading. According to a recent survey, 85% of guests would be more comfortable staying at a hotel that uses technology to reduce direct contact. Implementing contactless check-in, room key and payment options are simple methods that provide greater assurance. Additionally, consider installing touchless hand soap and hand sanitizer dispensers in lobby, spa and casino restrooms and near entrances and elevators. Another way to limit contact is by adjusting your approach to housekeeping. A 2020 survey from the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLN) found that 90% of frequent travelers are more comfortable receiving housekeeping services by request only during their stay. This allows staff to focus more heavily on cleaning and disinfecting rooms between each guest stay.
- Be transparent – New expectations for cleanliness mean that travelers will be especially careful when booking with a property. Hotels that are transparent about their cleaning processes give prospective guests extra assurance. In fact, surveys have shown that 81% of travelers are more comfortable staying in hotels with enhanced protocols and standards. One way to be transparent with travelers is by listing cleaning practices on your property’s website and travel websites. Note any specific accreditations or certifications your location or team has achieved that will showcase added expertise in preventing outbreaks.
Booking a Successful Future for your Hotel
Although the pandemic hurt earnings while placing higher demands on hotels, there is a silver lining. Consumers now have a deeper appreciation and hunger for travel, which gives the hospitality industry a chance to come back stronger than ever before. Consumer traffic to airline and hotel websites is rebounding, as is the number of commercial flights. For hotels to successfully adapt to travelers’ new cleanliness standards, they must have an organized approach for cleaning, disinfecting and infection prevention and consider best practices that protect guests, visitors and employees.