Safe Return: How AHLA Is Evolving ‘Safe Stay’ to Protect Guests and Employees

Traveler

While industry analysts estimate that hotel employment is unlikely to reach pre-pandemic levels until at least 2023, and recovery for the industry is not projected until 2024, we are encouraged to see an uptick in leisure travel, with 61 percent of Americans expected to travel for leisure this summer according to a poll conducted by Morning Consult and commissioned by AHLA. As hotels begin to welcome back guests, safety and cleanliness remain an industry priority.

At the onset of the pandemic, the hotel industry launched “Safe Stay,” an initiative focused on enhanced hotel cleaning practices, social interactions, and workplace protocols to meet the new health and safety challenges and expectations presented by COVID-19. These industry-wide guidelines were designed to prepare America’s hotels to safely welcome back guests and employees, while helping to create peace of mind through enhanced cleaning and safety guidelines.

The guidelines were developed with the help of outside industry experts such as Ecolab, the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the Association for Linen Management, have been broadly endorsed by hospitality leaders in all 50 states and Canada, and have been reviewed by the CDC.

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To highlight this commitment, AHLA is partnering with state and local elected officials to launch a series of “Safe Stay” events across the country to increase awareness among travelers about the industry’s health and safety protocols. When selecting a hotel, enhanced cleaning and hygiene practices continue to rank as a guests’ number two priority, just behind price.

This series of events will largely target urban markets, which have been hit particularly hard by COVID-19, due to business travel plummeting 85 percent from pre-pandemic levels and not expected to fully return until 2024. Unlike leisure travel, which can often be booked or changed at the last minute, meetings and events are scheduled months, if not years, in advance.

We remain optimistic, but the road to recovery for the hotel industry is long. Until then, for those of you planning your next vacation, the hotel industry remains committed to promoting safe travel while also creating a standardized safety experience nationwide through “Safe Stay.”

Job Security

AHLA, in close collaboration with UNITE HERE, worked tirelessly to develop legislation entitled the Save Hotel Jobs Act, which provides a lifeline to hotel employees. While many other hard-hit industries have received targeted federal relief, the hotel industry has not.

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Brian Crawford is the executive vice president of government affairs at AHLA.