Are enhanced cleaning standards enough to calm travelers' nerves once social distancing goes away? We'll find out this summer.
The Hilton guest experience is changing to accommodate an expected new normal when travel demand returns following the coronavirus pandemic.
The global hotel giant is partnering with RB, maker of Lysol, and consulting with the Mayo Clinic on a new standard of hotel cleanliness expected to launch in early June, Hilton announced Monday. The global program, called Hilton CleanStay with Lysol Protection at the company’s North American properties, builds on existing cleaning protocols and responds to daily consumer surveys the Hilton executive team listens to regarding consumer expectations.
“A couple things we’ve found recently is that 71 percent of consumers globally are actively cleaning more themselves, whether in their home or as part of their daily routine,” Hilton Senior Vice President and Global Head of New Brand Development Phil Cordell said. “How can we do things that overlay that next level of expectation of cleanliness? Some may be short-term, and some may be long-term. Social distancing may subside, but this emphasis on clean, clean, clean is here to stay.”
Hilton began discussions with RB and the Mayo Clinic three weeks ago, and the team is still working to finalize a training and procurement program to send to hotel operators in May. The goal is to have close to all of the more than 6,100-property Hilton network running with the new program by early June, Cordell said.
Lysol products will be used throughout North American properties. The Mayo Clinic medical and technical experts are advising Hilton on enhanced cleaning standards, new technologies, and trainings to create a program with coronavirus safety procedures in mind. The Mayo Clinic tie-in builds on an existing relationship that dates to the 1920s when Hilton founder Conrad Hilton was first a patient and later significant benefactor to the healthcare provider.
A Deep Clean and Peace of Mind
Housekeeping staff will be instructed to clean guestrooms by adding an extra level of focus on 10 “high-touch, deep clean” areas like light switches, door handles, and television remotes. When rooms have been thoroughly deep cleaned, staff will place a Hilton CleanStay seal on doors, similar to a protocol announced by Accor earlier this month.
Hilton also plans to increase the cleaning frequency in public areas, continue its commitment to contactless check-in and digital room keys through the Hilton Honors mobile app, and improve fitness center cleaning guidelines.
“Hilton CleanStay builds on the best practices and protocols we’ve developed over the last several months, allowing our guests to rest easy with us and focus on enjoying the unforgettable experiences we have to offer – while protecting our Team Members on the front lines of hospitality,” Hilton President and CEO Christopher Nassetta said in a statement.
Hospitality’s New Normal
Hilton is the latest player in hospitality to announce a deep cleaning initiative to put travelers at ease when they begin to venture out following months of travel restrictions.
Accor partnered with French testing and inspection provider Bureau Veritas to develop a cleaning label for properties to certify they adhered to elevated cleaning and safety procedures in light of coronavirus. Marriott launched its Marriott Global Cleanliness Council to develop new standards in cleanliness in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Airbnb’s voluntary Enhanced Cleaning Initiative includes a 72-hour block between reservations at a property and heightened use of protective gear and disinfectants by hosts and cleaning staff.
“We have to start to think about what our new reality is so, as consumers are ready to travel, we’re ready to host them,” Cordell said.
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Photo credit: Hilton's new global cleaning standard is the latest in a wave of hospitality cleanliness protocols aimed at calming guests as they begin to travel following the coronavirus pandemic. Hilton