Industry Update
External Article 4 May 2020

Goodbye breakfast buffets and notepads, hello germ-zapping robots. How hotels are doubling down on hygiene... and what that means for your next stay.

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The coronavirus crisis has not only sent the hotel industry reeling by cratering occupancy rates. It's forcing hotels to ramp up their cleaning protocols and hygiene — things that will be more of a priority for consumers in a post-pandemic world, where safe is the new sexy.

"What would have been in the back of customers' minds is now front and center," said Phil Cordell, Hilton's global head of new brand development.

Hilton, Marriott and, as of Wednesday, Chicago-based Hyatt, have all announced plans for updated cleaning standards and other steps aimed at protecting the health of guests and staff at thousands of properties around the world. Home-rental companies like Airbnb have made similar moves.

Demand for hotel rooms has tanked during the pandemic. Among the U.S. hotels that are still open, about 3 out of 4 rooms are vacant, according to data released Thursday by the hospitality research company STR. In Chicago's central business district, the occupancy rate is just shy of 14%.

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