This week, Marriott International and Accor each announced new efforts to enhance their respective cleanliness standards amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Marriott Launches Global Cleanliness Council, Adds Sanitation Technologies
On April 21, Marriott announced a multi-pronged platform in response to the current environment’s health and safety challenges. The company created the Marriott Global Cleanliness Council to tackle the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic at the hotel level. The Council is focused on developing the next level of global hospitality cleanliness standards, norms, and behaviors that are designed to minimize risk and enhance safety for consumers and Marriott associates.
“We are living in a new age, with COVID-19 front and center for our guests and our associates,” said Arne Sorenson, Marriott International president and CEO. “We are grateful for the trust our guests have shown us through the years. We want our guests to understand what we are doing today and planning for in the near future in the areas of cleanliness, hygiene, and social distancing so that when they walk through the doors of one of our hotels, they know our commitment to their health and safety is our priority. It’s equally important to us that our associates know the changes we are making to help safeguard their health as they serve our guests.”
The Council is chaired by Ray Bennett, chief global officer, global operations, Marriott International, and will benefit from knowledge and input from both in-house and outside experts, including senior leaders from across Marriott disciplines like housekeeping, engineering, food safety, occupational health, and associate wellbeing. The Council also includes advisory members Dr. Ruth L. Petran, senior corporate scientist of food safety and public health for Ecolab, a global leader in water, hygiene, and infection prevention solutions and services; Dr. Michael A. Sauri, infectious disease specialist at Adventist Healthcare; Dr. Richard Ghiselli, head of the School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Purdue University; and Dr. Randy Worobo, professor of Food Microbiology in the Department of Food Science at Cornell University.
“Marriott has a long tradition of emphasizing cleanliness in our care of guestrooms and in the public spaces of our hotels,” said Bennett. “Through the council and scientific advice of experts, we are taking a thoughtful approach to set an even higher bar of cleanliness and develop new guest interaction protocols. The Marriott Global Cleanliness Council is focused on more than just disinfection across the hotel, we are providing a holistic approach designed to take care of our guests and associates.”
In addition to establishing the Council, Marriott is rolling out enhanced technologies over the next few months, including electrostatic sprayers with hospital-grade disinfectant to sanitize surfaces throughout the hotel. Electrostatic spraying technology uses the highest classification of disinfectants recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) to treat known pathogens. The sprayers rapidly clean and disinfect entire areas and can be used in a hotel setting to clean and disinfect guestrooms, lobbies, gyms, and other public areas. In addition, the company is testing ultraviolet light technology for sanitizing keys for guests and devices shared by associates.
Other changes to cleanliness processes include:
- Surface areas — The company has added to its cleaning protocols for public spaces, requiring that surfaces are thoroughly treated with hospital-grade disinfectants and that this cleaning is done with increased frequency. In guestrooms, the company has likewise required that all surfaces are thoroughly cleaned with hospital-grade disinfectants. Marriott will also be placing disinfecting wipes in each room for guests’ personal use.
- Guest contact — To minimize the risk of transmission through direct, person-to-person contact, the company will be using signage in its lobbies to remind guests to maintain social distancing protocols and removing or re-arranging furniture to allow more space for distancing. Marriott is also evaluating adding partitions at front desks to provide an extra level of precaution for our guests and associates and is working with supply chain partners to make masks and gloves available to associates. The company is installing more hand sanitizing stations at the entrances to its hotels, near the front desk, elevator banks, and fitness and meeting spaces. In addition, in more than 3,200 of Marriott’s hotels, guests can choose to use their phones to check-in, access their rooms, make special requests, and order room service that will be specially packaged and delivered to the door without contact.
- Food safety — Marriott’s food safety program includes enhanced sanitation guidelines and training videos for all operational associates that includes hygiene and disinfecting practices. All food handlers and supervisors are trained on safe food preparation and service practices. Marriott’s F&B operations are required to conduct self-inspection using the company’s food safety standards as guidelines, and compliance is validated by independent audits. In addition, the company is modifying its operational practices for in-room dining and designing new approaches to buffets.
“Safety for our guests and associates has always been a top priority for Marriott and today that discussion of safety is in the context of COVID-19,” said Bennett. “We want our guests to know that we are doing everything we can to welcome them back to a safe and clean hotel environment when they start traveling again.”
Accor and Bureau Veritas Launch New Label
On April 20, Accor announced that it has joined forces with Bureau Veritas, a provider in testing, inspection, and certification, to develop a label to certify that the appropriate safety standards and cleaning protocols have been achieved to allow businesses to reopen.
“Welcoming, protecting, and taking care of others is the very DNA of Accor and at the heart of what we do. Today, more than ever, our employees, customers, and partners need to be reassured of our ability to offering them the best welcome possible,” said Franck Gervais, CEO of Accor Europe. “As the European leader in hospitality, it is our duty to anticipate needs and respond to health and safety requirements by adhering to the highest standards. We are pleased to be pioneering this drive with Bureau Veritas and to extend it to all stakeholders.”
Jacques Pommeraud, CEO of Bureau Veritas Africa & France, added, “For almost 200 years, it has been Bureau Veritas’ mission to shape a world of trust. With this label, today we have the ability to meet the new expectations of our society in terms of health and safety. This label will contribute to the hospitality and restaurant industry reopening with confidence. We are proud to work with Accor, at first in France and subsequently in all European countries. This approach will benefit the entire industry as every company could request to be certified by Bureau Veritas.”
The label will cover both accommodation and catering and will set the sanitary standards applicable to all the group’s hotels as well as to other chains and independent hotels. The project was carried out in partnership with doctors and epidemiologists and has been developed in collaboration with Accor owners and trade associations, such as UMIH, GNC, and GNI.
The project will be shared next week within Alliance France Tourisme as well as with the relevant ministries so that they are actively involved in and validate the recommended standards. Concrete proposals will be submitted, in France and subsequently in Europe, to the various governments, relevant ministries, and committees for the easing of lockdown measures.
Concretely, the output of this effort will be an operational guide made available to all stakeholders in the hospitality industry, enabling them to rigorously apply the health and safety recommendation of authorities (e.g., WHO, Health Ministry, etc.), both in guest services spaces and in back office and catering spaces. European customers will be able to check on a dedicated Bureau Veritas website, before they book their next stay whether any hotel or restaurant has been certified or not by Bureau Veritas.