Hilton, Hyatt and Others Pull Back the Curtain on Making Hygiene More Than Theater
The world's largest hotel companies maintain that their array of coronavirus-inspired heightened cleaning and safety measures are an effective way to bring back guests following the worst year for travel.
Staffers at Marriott now clean with electrostatic sprayers. Hilton zeroes in on scrubbing high-touch points in a guest room and offers a contactless hotel stay. Wyndham is even expanding mobile check-in and check-out and digital key technology to the economy sector at brands like Days Inn and Howard Johnson.
Some of the hotel industry's new safety and cleaning measures were criticized for being less about effectiveness and more about "hygiene theater" to win over guest confidence.
But hotel companies defend the practices, calling them effective while touting the role cleaning theatrics play in a travel industry recovery.
"Our hotels have always been clean, but now we're focused on a clean with a double-exclamation point," said Phil Cordell, global head of new brand development at Hilton. "Some of that is achieved by elevated, more scrutinized procedures and other aspects are augmented by visual cues, such as shifting the timing of when our shared spaces are cleaned to busier times of day. All of these actions are designed to provide additional confidence and peace of mind to our guests during an anxious time to travel."
Industry analysts regard Hilton's CleanStay program as one of the more ambitious new cleaning protocols, as the program partners with Lysol as well as the Mayo Clinic on deep clean measures in guest rooms as well as public spaces.