Visual Message: What’s Most Important to Hotel Guests Right Now


In March, the travel industry came to an abrupt halt because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, as people beginning to travel again, room rate will not be the primary determinant of a booking—instead, awareness and confidence in a hotel’s santitary procedures will be the critical deciding factor.

Here are some specific steps that hotel managers can implement to reassure and visually inform guests about their property’s sanitation efforts and public health initiatives.

Start with the outside

Post notices on the hotel’s marquee display or front entrance that the property has implemented a comprehensive sanitation protocol to protect all guests. Ensure that the parking lot, driveway, and front entrance are well maintained and free from all litter, cigarette butts, and weeds.

Reassure at check-in 

Signage at the front desk and throughout the lobby regarding social distancing practices and masking mandates serves as a visual reminder for guests that the hotel is committed to its new processes. Have dedicated housekeeping personnel wearing PPE transitioning through all public areas to sanitize surfaces on an hourly basis.

Provide each arriving guest with a printed list of proactive sanitation and distancing steps that the hotel is currently implementing for their protection. Reinforce that the hotel is committed to social distancing and will not be placing guests in adjacent rooms.

Further, all employees should wear face masks, but especially when interacting with guests, while in public areas, when servicing guestrooms, or when handling laundry.

Finally, consider keeping your hotel’s gym and pool shuttered as a precautionary measure, making sure to post notice of such.

Place reminders in the guestroom 

Put tent card reminders on the nightstands (near the phone or remote control) and on the bathroom counter (near the amenity setup) that explain how these respective rooms were disinfected. Consider temporarily reverting to the old fashioned “Sanitized for Your Protection” strips across the toilet seat and bathroom sink as an added measure of reassurance.

In the halls 

Develop a program where room attendant carts remain encased in a plastic covering to protect the amenities and linens. Do not allow guestroom trash or soiled linens to accumulate in the halls or on the cart; these must be removed to the empty housekeeper’s closet or transported to the dumpster and laundry immediately.


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Dr. William D. Frye is a hospitality educator, researcher, consultant, and former hotel general manager. He is the co-author of AHLEI’s housekeeping textbook Managing Housekeeping Operations.