Hotel brands have responded to heightened public health concerns tied to the COVID-19 pandemic by working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), trade groups like the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), and other partners to develop new health and safety guidelines for owners and operators to implement at their properties. Below is a roundup of the individual initiatives and enhanced hygiene standards that hotel companies have launched in the past few weeks as they prepare to welcome back more travelers.
On May 15, Accor announced a new wellbeing platform for its North and Central America region: ALL Stay Well. The group is partnering with top experts, investing in research and insights, and rolling out new standards of safety, enhanced protocols, and procedures to address the new reality of travel in a world with COVID-19. Phase one of the program includes the group’s new ALLSAFE label as well as oversight by a team that includes Bureau Veritas, a world leader in hygiene and cleanliness inspection; Dr. Amesh Adalja, Senior Scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security and fellow with the Infectious Diseases Society of America; and Ruth Petran, Ph.D., CFS, Senior Corporate Scientist, Food Safety and Public Health, for Ecolab. In addition, Accor is partnering with AXA, an insurance firm, to provide medical support to guests across its hotels worldwide.
On April 30, Best Western Hotels & Resorts expanded its I Care Clean program, which the company rolled out in 2012, with the launch of We Care Clean. Based on guidance provided by the CDC, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Health Canada, the new program addresses everything from guestroom and common area cleanliness to streamlined processes that minimize contact between guests and associates while maintaining customer service. The program will be updated regularly based upon the latest standards and recommendations by governmental agencies and industry groups. Read more.
On May 4, Choice Hotels International announced Commitment to Clean, a health and safety initiative that leverages the company’s relationship with Ecolab; guidance from the CDC, WHO, and the U.S. Travel Association; and Choice’s membership in the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) Safe Stay Advisory Council. Every Choice-branded hotel will designate a “Commitment to Clean Captain” who will complete applicable training and be responsible for incorporating new protocols. Read more.
Extended Stay America
On May 15, Extended Stay America announced its STAY Confident initiative, building on its experience as the only major hotel brand to remain open at all of its 634 locations since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. STAY Confident includes three focus areas. STAY Safe focuses on the safety of employees and guests through measures like the installation of transparent shields at front desks, protective equipment for all staff, and the temporary closure of shared spaces like pools and fitness centers, among other measures. STAY Healthy includes a partnership with Procter & Gamble to expand Extended Stay America’s cleaning processes and inspection program, including having a member of the management team inspect and approve each room prior to releasing it for check-in. Lastly, STAY Comfortable includes measures like giving guests the ability to request items like towels or linens without having a housekeeper enter the room.
On May 7, G6 Hospitality, the parent company of Motel 6 and Studio 6, launched “Clean@6.” In the program’s first phase, G6 updated its Infectious Disease Protocols and partnered with Corporate Medical Advisors, a subsidiary of International SOS, which will review and provide ongoing guidance on its COVID-19 operating protocols. The company also partnered with Diversey to procure EPA-registered disinfectants effective against many viruses, including emerging pathogens. The company also works with cleaning and restoration company, SERVPRO, to address specific cleaning and disinfecting needs across the portfolio. Read more.
On April 27, Hilton announced that the company will collaborate with RB, maker of Lysol and Dettol, and consult with Mayo Clinic to develop elevated processes and employee training. Hilton CleanStay with Lysol protection, as the program will be called in North America, will incorporate RB’s approach to cleaning practices and product offerings. Experts from Mayo Clinic’s Infection Prevention and Control team will advise and assist in enhancing Hilton’s cleaning and disinfection protocols. Read more.
Hyatt announced on April 29 its Global Care & Cleanliness Commitment to further enhance its operational guidance and resources around employee and guest safety and peace of mind. The commitment will include an accreditation process by the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC, a division of ISSA) at all hotels around the world; employee training and support resources; hotel-level sanitization specialists; and a cross-functional working group of medical experts and industry professionals that will contribute to various aspects of the hotel experience. Read more.
On May 18, IHG announced new science-led protocols and service measures developed in partnership with Cleveland Clinic, Ecolab, and Diversey and the launch of its global IHG Clean Promise, which will roll out globally starting June 1. The new initiative expands the IHG Way of Clean program, which IHG developed with Ecolab and Diversey and launched in 2015. Enhanced measures will include reduced contact at check-in; visible verification of sanitized items in the guestroom (e.g., glassware, remote control) as well as a reduction of in-room furnishings/high-touch items; and more. Hotel teams will also appoint Clean Champions to navigate the new environment and help on-property teams deliver new standards. IHG’s new Global Cleanliness Board—a group of IHG experts in operations, health, safety, and guest experience—will work with external specialists, including James Merlino, Chief Clinical Transformation Officer at Cleveland Clinic, to define solutions, best practice, and implement processes.
On April 21, Marriott launched the Marriott Global Cleanliness Council to focus on developing the next level of global hospitality cleanliness standards, norms, and behaviors to minimize risk and enhance safety for consumers and Marriott associates. In addition to establishing the Council, Marriott is rolling out enhanced technologies over the next few months, including electrostatic sprayers with hospital-grade disinfectants to sanitize surfaces throughout the hotel. In addition, the company is testing ultraviolet light technology for sanitizing keys for guests and devices shared by associates. Read more.
On May 12, MGM Resorts released a report outlining the health and safety protocols the company is implementing prior to re-opening its domestic properties and resorts, which were temporarily closed in March. The company is working with Dr. Shannon Magari—VP of Health Sciences for Colden Corporation, an occupational health, safety, and environmental firm—as its lead health and safety advisor. Among other measures, MGM Resorts’ Seven-Point Safety Plan includes employee screening, temperature checks, and training; a self-screening protocol for guests; masks will be offered for free to guests; employees will be provided and required to wear masks and PPE; custom-built handwashing stations with soap and water, along with hand-sanitizing stations, will be readily available in high-traffic areas; and using technology to transition current processes into contactless options, like digital keys and menus.
My Place Hotels
My Place Hotels of America announced on May 18 an enhanced range of hotel cleanliness processes and procedures alongside its operators, franchising partners, Ecolab, and the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA). The brand’s new initiative, Always Clean, includes measures like increased cleaning of high-touch areas throughout public spaces and guestrooms using sanitation products from Ecolab; expanding options for contactless payment methods; signage and collateral rollout to promote CDC guidelines; modified housekeeping schedule based on guest requirements; and continued guidance and training provided to all hotel staff. As a part of this push, My Place Hotels is participating in AHLA’s Safe Stay Advisory Council.
Radisson Hotel Group
On May 6, Radisson Hotel Group announced its Radisson Hotels Safety Protocol in partnership with SGS, an inspection, verification, testing, and certification company. The company conducted a review of all existing health and safety processes and worked with a team of experts to develop and validate additional protocols, which will be adapted based on local requirements and recommendations. The guidelines include enhanced cleaning and disinfection guidelines developed in collaboration with global hygiene solutions provider, Diversey, among other measures. In addition, the company will be introducing an official label of cleanliness and disinfection issued by SGS, which individual hotels can receive upon completion of a local audit that includes on-site testing. Read more.
On May 6, Red Roof launched Red Roof RediClean—enhanced cleaning protocols to give consumers the confidence they need to hit the road again. Red Roof has recommended that all of its properties adopt enhanced cleaning protocols that include using EPA approved products that kill COVID-19, put up lobby signs instructing guests to wear a face-covering in public spaces following government requirements (or strongly recommending guests to do so in states where guests are not mandated to wear face coverings), and more.
On May 6, RLH Corporation announced enhanced cleanliness recommendations for its more than 1,000 independently owned and operated hotels. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company has released guidelines and resources to franchisees and licensees urging them to adopt vigilant cleanliness and sanitation practices based on guidance from the CDC, WHO, hospitality trade associations such as the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) and Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA), and commercial cleaning and sanitation companies like Ecolab, Proctor & Gamble, and Diversey. Read more.
On May 4, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts launched “Count on Us,” an initiative to build confidence among guests and to support franchisees, and an extension of Wyndham’s Count on Me service culture. Launch of the new initiative follows dialogue and collaboration with franchisees, members of Wyndham’s Franchise Advisory Councils, industry partners, and trade organizations like the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA). The immediate focus is to further elevate health and safety protocols in the wake of COVID-19, shore up critical supply chains, and introduce new standards, training, and guidelines grounded in guidance from the CDC. Wyndham will also require consistent use of Ecolab’s EPA-approved disinfectants in hotel guestrooms and public spaces nationwide. Read more.