Hotel groups cleaning up their act to prepare for post-Covid era

by | 16 May 2020 | General News, Portfolio

Hotel groups like ONYX have implemented cleanliness initiatives across their portfolio. (Photo: ONYX)

Global hotel chains are moving forward with new hygiene guidelines and procedures to keep guests and staff safe and play their role in avoiding another wave of COVID-19.

With lockdowns easing and travel picking up again in regions who have gotten the local COVID-19 outbreaks under control, hotels have stepped up and are implementing innovative hygiene measures to keep staff and guests safe.

We find out what industry leaders are doing to play their part in avoiding another wave of the virus and keeping travel safe.

AHLA leads the way with ‘Safe Stay’ initiative

On May 4, 2020, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) introduced ‘Safe Stay’. It is an industry-wide enhanced standard of health and safety protocols which is designed to help hotels around the US to welcome guests back in a safe environment.

The Safe Stay guidelines were developed together with industry leaders from all segments of the hospitality sector as well as public health experts. As the situation continues to unfold, the guidelines will be updated to reflect new developments. For now, they include recommendations on guest and employee health, staff responsibilities, new cleaning protocols and physical distancing.

“Safe Stay was developed specifically to ensure enhanced safety for hotels guests and employees. While hotels have always employed demanding cleaning standards, this new initiative will ensure greater transparency and confidence throughout the entire hotel experience,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA.

“The industry’s enhanced hotel cleaning practices, social interactions, and workplace protocols will continue to evolve to meet the new health and safety challenges and expectations presented by COVID-19.”

Accor pioneers hotel safety certification

To give guests peace of mind and guide hotels in their efforts to ensure a sanitary and safe environment, Accor announced a partnership with Bureau Veritas to develop a safety label for virus-free properties.

With the help of doctors and epidemiologists, guidelines and action steps are being devised to assist Accor’s hotels once they reopen. These guidelines will be made available to other hotels and groups wishing to partner with Bureau Veritas as well.

Franck Gervais, CEO of Accor Europe, said, “Welcoming, protecting and taking care of others is the very DNA of Accor and at the heart of what we do. Today, more than ever, our employees, customers and partners need to be reassured of our ability to offer them the best welcome possible.”

“As the European leader in hospitality, it is our duty to anticipate needs and respond to health and safety requirements by adhering to the highest standards. We are pleased to be pioneering this drive with Bureau Veritas and to extend it to all stakeholders,” he elaborated.

Marriott launches the Global Cleanliness Council

Marriott’s Global Cleanliness Council was launched to develop new global hospitality cleanliness standards, norms and behaviours which will reduce the risk and increase safety for both staff and guests at Marriott properties.

The hotel group called on internal and external experts from domains including housekeeping, food safety, occupational health and engineering, among others, to come up with new guidelines and procedures.

These include enhanced cleaning procedures, physical distancing, staff training and rolling out enhanced technologies including electrostatic sprayers with hospital-grade disinfectant which will be used to sanitize surfaces throughout hotels.

ONYX Clean takes hygiene to new levels across the brand

ONYX Hospitality Group recently introduced ‘ONYX Clean’, an initiative to further improve hygiene at hotels and ensure guests and staff are safe and comfortable.

New measures to maintain the highest level of sanitation include enhanced cleaning schedules in public spaces, rearranging furniture to make physical distancing easier and mandatory temperature checks for staff and arriving guests.

ONYX also introduced a room seal which is placed on every guest room door to indicate that it has not been accessed since it was cleaned and sanitised.

“With the impact of COVID-19 leading to new norms and heightened consumer interest in hygiene and safety, we would like to assure all travellers both new and returning that we have their safety and wellbeing as our number one priority,” said Douglas Martell, President & CEO, ONYX Hospitality Group.

“Every property will adhere to an updated and consistent list of housekeeping, maintenance and service delivery protocols. Given the importance of safety, our portfolio size and the pace at which we collaborate, we will prioritise and implement all these revised measures within a matter of weeks,” he added.

Hyatt plans cleanliness accreditation

To ensure hotels are optimally sanitised and offer guests and staff a safe environment, Hyatt is planning to introduce a GBAC STAR accreditation through a performance-based cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention program.

This is being developed with the assistance of ISSA, the worldwide cleaning industry association which works with experts in microbial-pathogenic threat analysis and mitigation who are developing strategies to deal specifically with the COVID-19 threat.

The certification will include in-depth training at Hyatt hotels worldwide as well as audits to ensure new protocols are being followed.

New measures introduced at Hyatt in line with the certification include enhanced cleaning schedules for public areas, sanitiser stations throughout the hotel, staff wearing protective masks and the use of sanitation devices, among others.