Industry Update
Opinion Article16 June 2020

3 Simple Steps to Ensure Cleanliness Amid COVID-19 Worry

By David Eisen, Director of Hotel Intelligence and Customer Solutions for HotStats

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COVID-19 has amplified the call for hotel cleanliness. Long after the virus is gone, the dangers of germs will linger in guests' minds — producing anxiety with every sneeze, every handshake and every dubious surface. It's up to hoteliers to both protect visitors and put their minds at ease.

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For hoteliers, the only way forward is through a fresh hotel cleanliness strategy.

In this article, we'll lay out a plan to not only keep guests safe, but also calm their nerves about virus threats. Here's how to assure visitors of hotel cleanliness during and after COVID-19.

Step 1: Reevaluate Your Deep Cleaning Plan

Before the travel industry moves forward, hoteliers should take a minute to pause, disinfect spaces and eliminate any remnants of COVID-19. Even if high cleaning standards are already built into routines, hoteliers should carve out extra time to wipe out every possible trace of the virus.

Start by digging into Centers for Disease Control (CDC) cleaning guidelines. Here are some tips the CDC has shared for cleaning hotels:

  • Hard surfaces — First, wipe down surfaces with soap or detergent and water. From there, disinfect them with a mixture of bleach and water.
  • Electronics — Follow manufacturer cleaning instructions whenever you can. If they aren't available, the CDC suggests using alcohol-based wipes and sprays.
  • Linens — Follow regular manufacturer cleaning instructions, but try not to shake out dirty laundry. Also, make sure to thoroughly clean hampers or other bins that have had contact with dirty laundry.

Taking time to deep clean will set a fresh foundation for cleanliness plans. From there, hoteliers can focus on maintaining a germ-free environment.

Step 2: Dedicate Resources to Hotel Cleanliness

COVID-19 is an aggressive virus, and fighting it off will take a proactive approach. Hoteliers can hit back by dedicating staff to cleaning initiatives.

Start by examining costs. Boosting staff efficiency and slimming down labor costs as much as possible are more important than ever. That means digging into workforce figures and minimizing operational costs.

By measuring operational metrics, such as gross operating profit per available room (GOPPAR), hoteliers can see where they can afford to reallocate cleaning resources. When you've grabbed a hold of labor and operational costs, you'll have the ammunition to execute aggressive cleaning plans. For instance, it may make sense to designate a cleaning manager to spearhead the hotel's new strategy.

Step 3: Form a Plan to Prevent Future Outbreaks

Future virus outbreaks threaten guests and they also have the power to wreck a hotel or resort's reputation. These heavy consequences are all the more reason to take extra steps to prevent outbreaks. There are a few ways to promote a safer hotel environment:

Coach Employees on Safety

Hoteliers can fight COVID-19 with education. Set aside time for COVID-19 awareness training so employees understand how to keep viruses at bay.

Educate

Guests may be aware of the dangers of COVID-19, but reminding them about how to keep germs from spreading will add an extra line of defense against the virus. Consider leaving in-room notes or creating pamphlets that outline best practices. In addition to keeping everyone safe, preventative COVID-19 information will show guests that the hotel takes their safety seriously.

Target Hot Zones

As shared facilities, hotels are full of germ-filled, high-touch areas. Hoteliers can reduce danger by targeting elevator buttons, doorknobs, television remotes and other germ hotbeds. Clean these areas frequently and consider removing anything that could pass along germs, including in-room glasses or communal coffee cups.

Step 4: Give Guests Resources to Stay Safe

By reimagining spaces, hotels can promote safer interactions and build trust with guests. Start by examining property and maintenance costs to see what financial adjustments are feasible. From there, consider redesigning space to promote social distancing. Here are some resources hotels can add to improve cleanliness:

  • Hand sanitizing stations — By placing washing stations in public spaces, hoteliers can encourage guests to stay germ-free.
  • Physical barriers — Plexiglas guards between guests and employees add a layer of safety for visitors and staff.
  • Touch-free equipment — In public spaces especially, consider adding devices that don't require physical handling. This includes items like touch-free soap dispensers, doors and faucets.
  • Fresh door seals — Adding seals to guest room doors sends the message that visitors are about to enter a room that's fresh and specially cleaned.

Use Data to Inform All Safety Plans

By refocusing cleaning plans, hoteliers can get over COVID-19's impact on their hotels and reassure guests that they're safe. However, no one cleaning strategy will fit every hotel. Before rearranging space, reallocating resources and investing in cleaning supplies, hoteliers should dig into their hotel metrics. By uncovering a hotel's strengths and weaknesses, hoteliers can create a safety plan that keeps guests safe and the hotel's finances healthy.

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