The novel coronavirus pandemic has had an immense impact on the travel and hospitality industry. At the outset of the global health crisis, hotels experienced a sharp increase in cancellations followed by a drop in future bookings in response to non-essential travel restrictions and growing fear around the spread of the virus. According to an American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) report, the first six months of the pandemic resulted in room revenue losses for hotels of more than $46 billion.
In response, some hotels enlisted help from cleaning industry associations and experts to evaluate their cleaning programs and develop new approaches for meeting higher cleanliness expectations and guidelines from public health officials like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
One area that should not be overlooked is carpet, which accounts for the majority of surface area in many hotels. Some properties have thousands of square feet of carpet. Maintaining carpet contributes to better indoor air quality, enhances the perception of cleanliness, and prolongs the life of flooring assets.
The Lasting Impact of Dirty Carpet
According to a 2020 survey by The Harris Poll among 2,047 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, more than half of Americans say the level of cleanliness in a hotel they visit would impact their intent to book a future stay at the property. At a time when health and safety is paramount, it’s crucial for hotels to do everything in their power to maintain a positive reputation and go out of their way to demonstrate their commitment to cleanliness to secure repeat business.
The survey also revealed that the level of cleanliness in a hotel would impact 49 percent of Americans’ perceptions of the property. Lackluster perceptions can potentially lead to negative reviews online or by word-of-mouth.
Cleanliness can also dictate how much time and money visitors spend during their stay. Thirty-nine percent of U.S. adults say the level of cleanliness at the property will impact how much time they spend in the hotel and 32 percent say it would impact their spend in areas like the hotel bars, restaurants, and spas, according to The Harris Poll.
Best Practices for Maintaining Carpet
Carpet maintenance doesn’t have to be a time-consuming and difficult chore. In fact, there are systems on the market that make carpet care as easy as vacuuming. Consider the following strategies to keep carpet clean.
1Conduct daily maintenance.
While experiencing lower-than-average occupancy rates, conducting daily maintenance ensures that carpet is always clean. Especially with many travelers participating in fresh-air activities due to COVID-19—like running, hiking, and skiing—it’s important to keep outdoor contaminants like dirt, snow, and salt from impacting carpet. Install matting at entrances and vacuum these daily. Visually inspect carpet to identify areas where stains have set into carpet fibers. Consider a carpet cleaning system that uses encapsulation chemistry to capture soils into tiny crystals, which can then be easily removed through vacuuming. Daily cleaning in lobbies and corridors keeps carpet looking like new.
2Make cleaning visible.
Before the pandemic, most hotels took pride in conducting cleaning out of sight of guests, which added to the magic and luxury of a visitor’s stay. Now, it’s more important than ever to make the cleaning process visible to provide proof of cleanliness and put guests at ease. To conduct carpet care while guests are present in areas like lobbies, select a machine that is easy-to-maneuver and operates at low noise levels. Low-moisture systems result in shorter drying times, meaning that carpet cleaning will not restrict mobility throughout the building for a long period of time.
3Prioritize sustainable methods.
Hotels are cleaning more frequently and thoroughly than they once did, which can result in resource waste if methods are not sustainable. A low-moisture system uses much less water than methods like hot water extraction, and effective chemicals can remove most stains with one cleaning. Even for properties that opt for daily carpet cleaning in high-traffic areas, a low-moisture system aligns with sustainability values and goals.
A Warm Welcome for Guests
While carpet appearance may seem minor, it can have a major impact on guest satisfaction and retention. Especially now, hotels cannot afford to lose repeat business or receive negative reviews related to cleanliness. With clean carpet, hotels bolster brand reputation and the bottom line. By following best practices, housekeeping teams can easily remove stains to keep carpet looking its best for travelers.