How Hotels are Redefining Cleanliness and Safety Standards

The measures taken by these eight global hospitality companies provide a snapshot of what travel might look like in the post-pandemic era.

Source: Accor

Accor

Developed with and vetted by Paris-based company Bureau Veritas—a specialist in the realm of testing, inspections, and certification—Accor’s new ALLSAFE label is an indicator of what it calls “some of the most stringent cleaning standards and operational protocols in the world of hospitality.” All Accor hotels will be audited either by in-house operational experts or third-party auditors to be ALLSAFE certified.

The new cleanliness standards include frequent disinfection of all high-touch areas, including elevators and public restrooms, the sanitization of guest quarters using hospital-grade cleaning materials, and regular deep cleaning on upholstery and carpets. All bedding will be washed and treated at high temperatures. Accor will launch a new comprehensive safety and hygiene training program to ensure that employees worldwide have the skills and know-how to protect themselves and their guests.

New safety measures throughout Accor hotels will see guests provided with individual sanitizer, wipes, and masks, the implementation of temperature checks, and installation of disinfectant mats at the hotel entrance and transparent partitions at front desks. Contactless payment solutions and desk-free check in will be rolled out wherever possible. Accor’s Covid-19 protocols are designed to exceed government and local regulations; on-site bars and restaurants are required to maintain a distance of one meter across tables, and seat a maximum of eight people per table. Hand sanitizer will be placed in public restaurant areas, and all employees are required to wear masks and gloves in kitchens.

Accor has now unveiled a strategic partnership with global insurance firm AXA to provide medical support for guests across its 5,000 plus hotels around the world. As soon as July, travelers staying at an Accor hotel will enjoy free access to teleconsultations, plugging into AXA’s extensive networks with tens of thousands of doctors, allowing Accor hotels to make the most relevant referrals based on language and medical specialty.

 

Banyan Tree Huangshan Resort, in China’s Anhui province. (Photo: Banyan Tree Holdings)

Banyan Tree Holdings

According to a recent announcement, Banyan Tree is also partnering with Bureau Veritas to create Safe Sanctuary, an integrated health and wellbeing initiative being rolled out across hotels and resorts under its four brands (Banyan Tree, Angsana, Cassia, and Dhawa) starting this month.

Enhanced protocols will include temperature screening procedures, hygiene stations, and the hourly disinfection of high-touch surfaces using EPA-recommended cleaning agents. Appropriate physical distancing measures will be taken, with facilities in enclosed areas operating at reduced capacity and a limit on the number of people allowed in group activities. Inside restaurants and cafés, table set-up will only be done upon guest arrival to reduce the risk of contamination, while in-room dining services will continue with contactless delivery.

Travelers can rest assured that guest amenities, linens, and bedding are thoroughly steamed before use, and in-room directories and restaurant menus are being replaced with digital options accessible via personal devices. Contactless check-in and checkout processes will be carried out wherever possible.

Furthermore, Banyan Tree is introducing an Organizational Wellbeing index to assess and respond to the wellbeing of its staff, as well as a regional Tele-therapy service to help support emotional and mental health.

 

Photo: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

The Toronto-based luxe hospitality group has teamed up with the global division of American healthcare and research leader Johns Hopkins Medicine to launch Lead With Care, a brand-new health and safety program. As part of Lead With Care, medical experts from Johns Hopkins and Four Seasons leadership will form a Covid-19 Advisory Board to continually review and update health and safety procedures based on the latest scientific knowledge. These protocols are to be implemented by dedicated teams at Four Seasons properties around the world under the leadership of an appointed hygiene officer.

Masks, hand sanitizer, and sanitization wipes will be provided through Lead With Care kits placed in each guest room, which will undergo daily disinfection with EPA-approved products and will have blacklight inspections by room attendants. Public areas are to be cleaned every hour, with extra attention paid to areas such as front desk counters and restrooms.

Of course, there will be a few changes to the guest experience at Four Seasons. Contactless check-in will be offered, spa menus and treatments are being modified as an extra precaution, and fitness equipment and restaurant tables will be spaced appropriately apart in line with prevailing social-distancing measures. But personalized care will continue via Four Seasons App and Chat, allowing guests to have real-time, contactless interactions with employees from their own device on nine global platforms and in over 100 different languages.

 

Inside the reception lobby at Conrad Manila, a Hilton property. (Photo: Hilton Worldwide)

Hilton Worldwide

This hospitality giant is embarking on a multi-year collaboration with RB, maker of Lysol and Dettol, to implement its Hilton CleanStay with Lysol Protection initiative starting this month. Hilton is now consulting with the acclaimed Mayo Clinic to translate the best practices in hospital hygiene standards to guest rooms and set up special training programs for staff members. Specialists from Mayo Clinic’s Infection Prevention and Control team will advise and take an active role in enhancing the current cleaning and disinfection protocols at Hilton properties worldwide; medical experts from the Mayo Clinic COVID-19 Response Team will also advise on new technologies and approaches and create a rigorous quality assurance program.

While full details for the program remain under development, several hotel brand standards are now under consideration. One is the Hilton CleanStay Room Seal, which will be placed on doors to show guests that their room has not been accessed since it was thoroughly cleaned. Other measures being looked at include provide disinfecting wipes for guests in high-traffic areas such as hotel entrances and elevators, and extra deep cleaning of the most frequently touched areas inside guest rooms—light switches, door handles, TV remotes, and more. The new demand for a contactless experience will likely expand Hilton’s Digital Key technology that currently allows guests to check in, choose their room, access their room with a digital key, and check out using their mobile devices at participating hotels through the Hilton Honors mobile app. And throughout the new cleaning process, housekeeping staff will be provided with personal protective equipment and enhanced training to reduce the risk of infection.

 

Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch, in the American Midwest. (Photo: Hyatt Hotels Corporation)

Hyatt Hotels Corporation

At the end of April, Hyatt announced a Global Care & Cleanliness Commitment that encompasses Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) accreditation, hotel-level sanitization specialists, and a working group of trusted medical and industry advisors.

Hyatt will introduce GBAC STAR accreditation across the 900-plus properties in its global portfolio through a performance-based cleaning, disinfection, and infectious-disease prevention program. GBAC is a division of ISSA, the leading trade association for the cleaning industry worldwide, and comprises leaders in the field of microbial-pathogenic threat analysis and mitigation.

The company will also continue to develop new work procedures and mandatory training in an effort to ensure safety for staff and guests. Daily surveys will be introduced to assess employee comfort, a hotel’s cleanliness, working order, and customer service, allowing leaders to make adjustments as necessary and meet colleagues’ needs in real time. By September, every Hyatt hotel will have at least one person on property trained as a hygiene manager, who will be responsible for their hotel adhering to new protocols governing social distancing, enhanced food safety, and other areas of concern. This comes on top of Hyatt’s ongoing collaboration with a panel of medical experts and leading industry professionals to provide guidance for specific needs and situations.

 

Inside a one-bedroom villa at Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach. (Photo: IHG)

InterContinental Hotels Group

Under IHG’s Clean Promise, guests can be reassured that their room will meet exacting standards of cleanliness. The company is now partnering with industry leading experts Cleveland Clinic, Ecolab and Diversey (two global leaders in hygiene and cleaning technologies and services) to strengthen its existing standards using new, science-led cleaning protocols and service measures. The IHG Way of Clean program, which was launched in 2015 and developed with Ecolab and Diversey, is now being expanded with additional COVID-19 protocols to reflect the advice of the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

Leading this work is IHG’s new Global Cleanliness Board, a group of IHG experts in operations, health, safety and guest experience, who will be working with new external specialists including James Merlino —the chief clinical transformation officer at Cleveland Clinic—to define solutions and best practices, and implement processes.

Guests can expect to see evolved health and safety procedures in every area of the hotel, which may include reduced contact at check-in, touchless transactions, front-desk screens, sanitizer stations, sanitized key cards, and paperless checkout. IHG is also looking at reducing high-touch items in guest quarters, developing new laundry protocols, and creating a new service approach to buffets, banquets, and room service. As for safeguarding the wellbeing of its staff members, IHG is working closely with medical experts at the Cleveland Clinic to develop guidance and resources for hotel teams on returning to work and keeping guests safe in this new environment.

 

Spa pods at The Ritz-Carlton, Langkawi. (Photo: Trey Ratcliff/Marriott International)

Marriott International

Like the other hotel companies listed here, Marriott International is taking a multi-pronged approach to meet the health and safety challenges presented by COVID-19. The group has recently formed the Marriott Global Cleanliness Council, which brings together in-house and outside experts in food and water safety, hygiene and infection prevention, and hotel operations. The council is tasked with developing a new generation of global hospitality cleanliness standards, norms and behaviors for Marriott’s 7,300-plus properties around the globe.

Marriott also plans to roll out enhanced cleaning technologies over the next few months, including electrostatic sprayers and the highest classification of disinfectants recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization to sanitize surfaces throughout hotels. Public spaces and high-traffic areas will be a particular focus, and guest rooms will be thoroughly cleaned using hospital-grade disinfectants. In addition, Marriott is testing ultraviolet light technology for sanitizing guest keys and devices shared by staff members. Hand sanitizing stations are being installed at hotel entrances, front desks, elevator banks, and meeting spaces, while the company will be adding signage to encourage social distancing and partitions at check-in for further protection. A related development is the ongoing pursuit of a more seamless guest experience: mobile phones can already be used to check in, access one’s room, and order room service in over 3,200 Marriott hotels.

 

Poolside at the Anantara Chiang Mai Resort. (Photo: Minor Hotels)

Minor Hotels

Bangkok-based Minor Hotels has outlined two strategies to adapt its properties to the realities of post-pandemic travel. The five-star Anantara brand is currently moving forward with its Stay With Peace of Mind program, a suite of sweeping new hygiene measures. A health and safety committee made up of senior management and industry experts is also being created to oversee the development and rollout of the initiative.

Each Anantara property will have a dedicated Guest Guardian responsible for internal audits based on a series of rigid brand guidelines, which will see all hotels using EPA-approved disinfectants throughout guest rooms and all public spaces, such as lobbies, the reception, fitness centers, and pool areas. Enhanced hygiene measures will include the use of electrostatic spray technology to achieve a higher level of coverage in surface disinfection, as well as a range of extra measures such as disinfecting hotel key cards.

Anantara is working with Siam Ocean Technology to introduce its state-of-the-art air filtration technology at its properties to ensure that guests breathe air of the highest quality. Starting with Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort, the highly energy-efficient ventilation systems will be rolled out first across the brand’s outposts in Thailand, then the rest of Asia and beyond.

Meanwhile, sister brand Avani has unveiled the AvaniSHIELD program. A dedicated AvaniSHIELD Agent at every hotel and resort will be responsible for implementing new cleaning protocols, as well as ensuring the latest health and safety guidelines are communicated to the team in a timely manner.

AvaniSHIELD involves the introduction of new technology for a digital check-in and checkout system, and the launch of a digital concierge app with live chat capabilities, which will also allow guests to browse menus, order in-room dining, and book experiences outside the property. As research indicates the SARS-CoV2 virus survives the least amount of time on copper, high-touch surfaces like door handles and elevator buttons will be covered with anti-microbial copper protection film.

Restaurants will be spacing out tables to practice physical distancing, and walk-in guests will be asked for their details to allow for future contact tracing. menus available digitally or accessed via QR code on a smartphone. Buffets will be replaced with à la minute food preparation in line with reinforced safe food handling guidelines and Avani’s zero-waste initiative.

All Avani hotels are setting up disinfection processes to sanitize incoming luggage, boxes, and supplies, while front desk staff will use ultraviolet C sterilization boxes to disinfect key cards, stationery, and other high-touch objects. Guests can request a complimentary disinfecting service for their mobile devices. Select Avani properties will be adding HEPA-grade air purifiers to the standard cleaning process for guest rooms and gyms, while Avani’s housekeeping department is also testing a new sanitizing method using UVC light that kills 99.99 percent of germs and bacteria. Finally, each guest room will be sealed for 24 hours after cleaning, with no housekeeping staff allowed in during the mandatory “resting period” before the rooms are allocated to newly arrived guests.

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