• Dean Nelson

New standards for Hotel Cleanliness

Updated: Oct 7, 2020

The hotel industry's new cleanliness standards in the wake of the COVID-19 global health emergency. This is welcomed news for some travellers that are germaphobes as the hotel rooms will be the cleanest they have ever been. The big 6 hotel chains (IHG - InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott, Hilton, Wyndham, Accor, and Hyatt) have all adopted similar Health and Safety standards which generally include:

  • All employees are required to wear masks

  • All guests are required to wear masks in public areas unless they are eating or drinking (exceptions for guests with medical conditions)

  • Extra sanitizing & disinfection of high-touch areas in guest rooms

  • Increased cleaning frequency of public areas

  • Disinfecting wipes available to guests

  • Enhanced cleaning & disinfection of restaurant areas and meetings spaces

  • Contactless check-in and check-out available at many properties

  • Exploratory use of electrostatic sprayers with disinfecting mist and ultraviolet light to sanitize surfaces and objects

  • Enhanced staff safety inclusive of personal protective equipment and enhanced training and protocols

While all of the above is designed to make potential travellers feel safe booking accommodation at well-known hotel chains, there are some  common sense tips to keep in mind.

Big brands, especially big hotel brands, are known for consistency. Guests should be able to expect a common level of service and quality within a particular brand. Of course, the ownership structure of individual hotels makes this a bit more complicated. Some hotels are company-owned, some are owned locally and managed by the brand, some are managed by third party management companies and the majority are pure franchise properties.

It is important to keep in mind that while a hotel chain’s publicly stated COVID-19 policy is their well-intentioned goal, realistically the situation on the ground will show some variance.

Hilton - CleanStay

Hilton Hotels and Resorts recently announced their new "Hilton CleanStay" program to deliver a tourism industry-defining standard of cleanliness and disinfection at their properties worldwide. Hilton, with its more than 6,100 properties and 18 brands, will collaborate with with Lysol, Dettol and the Mayo Clinic to develop enhanced cleaning protocols to ensure an even cleaner and safer stay from check-in to check-out.

Hilton CleanStay will build upon the already high standards of housekeeping and hygiene at Hilton properties worldwide, where hospital-grade cleaning products and upgraded protocols are currently in use.  The goal of Hilton CleanStay is to provide guests with assurance and peace of mind. The initiative will create a focus on cleanliness that will be visible to guests throughout their entire stay – in their guest rooms, restaurants, fitness rooms and in other public spaces. 

Hilton CleanStay was developed to meet evolving consumer expectations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Research indicates that consumers have heightened concerns regarding hygiene on their journey, and trust in cleanliness standards will be critical to restarting travel. 

“Our first priority has always been the safety of our guests and Team Members,” said Christopher J. Nassetta, Hilton President and CEO. “Hilton CleanStay builds on the best practices and protocols we’ve developed over the last several months, allowing our guests to rest easy with us and focus on enjoying the unforgettable experiences we have to offer – while protecting our Team Members who are on the front lines of hospitality.”

With the aid of Mayo Clinic medical and technical experts, Hilton is rewriting its cleaning protocols to translate the best practices in hospital hygiene standards to hotel guest rooms. Medical experts from the Mayo Clinic COVID-19 Response Team will also advise on new technologies and approaches, assist in training development, and create a rigorous quality assurance program. 

While full details for the program are still in development and expected to be announced soon, hotel brand standards under consideration include: 

  • Hilton CleanStay Room Seal: Add an extra measure of assurance by placing a room seal on doors to indicate to guests that their room has not been accessed since being thoroughly cleaned. 

  • 10 High-Touch, Deep Clean Areas: Extra disinfection of the most frequently touched guests room areas – light switches, door handles, TV remotes, thermostats and more. 

  • De-clutter Paper Amenities: Remove pen, paper and guest directory; supplement with digital or available upon request. 

  • Focus on Fitness Centers: Improved guidelines for disinfecting the hotel Fitness Center, possibly closing for cleaning multiple times daily and limiting the number of guests allowed in at one time. 

  • Clean and Clean Again: Increase the frequency of cleaning public areas. 

  • Guest-Accessible Disinfecting Wipes: Provide stations at primary entrances and key high traffic areas, for instance, a station to allow guests to wipe the elevator button before pressing. 

  • Contactless Check-In: Hilton will double-down on its award-winning Digital Key technology for guests who desire to have a contactless arrival experience. Guests can check-in, choose their room, access their room with a digital room key and check-out using their mobile devices through the Hilton Honors mobile app at participating hotels. Hilton will continue to expand its Digital Key capabilities to common doors and access points throughout the hotels. 

  • Innovative Disinfection Technologies: Hilton is exploring the addition of new technologies, like electrostatic sprayers – which use an electrostatically charged disinfecting mist – and ultraviolet light to sanitize surfaces and objects.

And throughout the new cleaning process, hotel Team Members will be provided with personal protective equipment and enhanced training designed to protect their well-being while continuing to deliver unmatched Hilton hospitality.

Four Seasons Hotels + Resorts

The Four Seasons Hotel chain is also working on their post COVID-19 response as they prepare to welcome travellers back to their properties. The Four Seasons New York is the trailblazer for the chain as they welcomed NYC's medical professionals working on the COVID-19 battlefront. The New York property had to overhaul all of their operating procedures to keep both their healthcare guests and team members safe.

In an interview with NBC news, Four Seasons NYC General Manager, Rudy Tauscher explains

"We now have almost no touch points in the entire hotel, which is completely against a hotel's nature of being hands-on and kind," Tauscher said. "We used to be known for the human touch — but now we're all about no touch at all. I think it's safe to say that breakfast buffets and communal tables and the kinds of things that had been traditions at many hotels are going away, for who knows how long."

Upon arrival at the Four Seasons, guests are given three bags: one for soiled towels, one for soiled bedding and one for trash. When towels and bedding need to be cleaned and when garbage needs to be removed, guests are asked to place bags near the entrances to their rooms and to contact housekeeping, which picks up the bags without ever fully entering the rooms.

The deep cleaning of the rooms takes place after guests leave.

Removing all extra non essential items including the mini-bar, extra pillows, linens, magazines, and other tchotchkes will help in keeping the rooms sanitized. In addition to the careful cleaning procedures each room will remain empty for a full two to three days between guests.

Moreover to the strict new cleaning producers, the Four Seasons New York, has two nurses who now staff the single entrance to the hotel. Everyone who enters the property has their temperature taken, both employees and guests. Anyone with a fever is denied entry. Though the hotel chain does not think temperature checking will remain permanent, it will be the new normal as business and leisure travel returns.

Accor Hotels + Resorts

Accor Hotels and Resorts have introduced intensified hygiene & prevention measures to ensure your safety. The ALLSAFE label verified by Clifton represents our new elevated cleanliness protocols and standards and provides assurance that these standards have been met in our hotels.

  • Dedicated guest hotline to answer questions and to best prepare your stay.

  • Social distancing enforced in all common areas.