Airbnb is establishing a new “cleaning protocol” for their rental property hosts and guests, stemming from the coronavirus outbreak.
MGM Resorts, Wyndham, Best Western and Sandals joined the growing list of hospitality companies updating cleanliness measures due to the new coronavirus. Short-term rental company Vrbo followed suit, too.
MGM launched its “Seven-Point Safety Plan,” a new standard created with medical and scientific experts to curb the spread of coronavirus, respond to possible new cases and keep customers and employees safe.
Wyndham, which has more than 6,000 hotels in the U.S., announced a new initiative called “Count on Us”, which includes updated cleaning and disinfection procedures for guest rooms and public spaces, plus easy access to health essentials.
The chain will ship products including face masks for hotel employees, disinfectant wipes for guests and hand sanitizer. Wyndham is also set to partner with Ecolab to use its disinfectants across guest rooms and public spaces.
MGM Resorts: Minimize drinking, no eating on the casino floor
In addition to upgraded incident response protocols and contactless check-in, some of the company’s focuses will be:
- Screening, temperature checks and employee training: Employees will be screened for signs and symptoms of infection, and will continue to go through temperature checks. Guests are encouraged to adhere to CDC guidelines for self-quarantine and to not travel if they think they have been exposed.
- Mandatory masks and PPE: Employees will be given an approved mask to wear when on the property, and guests are encouraged to wear masks in public areas. Free masks will be offered to guests who need one. Guests should limit the amount of time they are drinking on the casino floor and should not eat there.
- Physical distancing: Floor guides will be throughout properties making sure people adhere to six-foot distancing. But MGM is aware distancing could prove difficult. “From time-to-time, six-foot distancing will be challenging – and in those cases, reasonable mitigating protocols will be implemented, such as plexiglass barriers or eye protection for employees,” according to the new policy.
- Hand washing and enhanced sanitization: On top of enhanced cleaning, MGM will deploy electrostatic sprayers for more efficient disinfecting. Hand washing and sanitizing stations will also be available in high-traffic spots, along with signage.
- HVAC controls and air quality: MGM has worked to minimize risk of virus transmission with HVAC systems. HVAC systems will be reviewed and adjusted pending science and government guidance.
Best Western announces ‘We Care Clean’ plan
Meanwhile, Best Western’s rejiggered “We Care Clean” plan includes enhanced sanitization procedures at the front desk and lobby, upgraded grab and go breakfast offerings in most hotels and offered more strict cleaning of public amenities like pools and fitness centers.
The hotel brand is relying on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and Health Canada.
Sandals rolls out ‘Platinum Protocols of Cleanliness’
Sandals and Beaches Resorts, which has 24 properties in seven countries, has its own new sanitation rules. The chain’s Platinum Protocols of Cleanliness Program will include precautionary temperature checks, personal anti-bacterial hand towels and individual in-room hand sanitizer, according to Sandals spokesperson Rachael Salzer. Each hotel room will be maintained using UV-LED lighting equipment to inspect cleanliness, air duct sanitization for each arrival and upon each departure and weekly carpet steam-cleaning.
Vrbo, part of Expedia Group, has issued guidelines informed by the CDC , the World Health Organization and Cristal International Standards. Dr. Daniel Lucey, from the Infectious Diseases Society of America, advised the company. There are directives for disinfecting surfaces, ensuring time between bookings and keeping homes stocked with antibacterial hand soaps and hand sanitizers.
Homeowners and property managers will have the ability to report whether guests can check in and out without person-to-person contact or if the property can’t accommodate 24 hours between guests. Guests will be able to see this information on the Vrbo app and website once hosts detail the information to the company.
The company is also offering a flexible cancellation search filter.
Hyatt aims to introduce new cleanliness accreditation process
Hyatt announced cleanliness measures last week, announcing it is relying on medical experts, industry professionals and others to ensure guests feel safe.
“We must critically examine the hotel experience from every vantage point – from our rooms and our lobbies to our spas and dining – bringing in the latest research, technology and innovation to make that happen,” Mark Hoplamazian, Hyatt president and CEO, said in a statement.
By September, every Hyatt hotel is expected to have someone trained as a “hygiene manager,” who will make sure their hotel adheres to new guidelines.
These may include social distancing guidelines, prominent hand sanitizer placement, food safety and hygiene protocol implementation for restaurants and room service and increased cleaning frequency with hospital-grade disinfectants on high-touch surfaces, shared spaces and in guest rooms.
Hyatt is also developing new work procedures and trainings for its employees to address their safety and the safety of guests. This includes daily surveys that will assess colleague comfort, hotel cleanliness and more.
The company also aims to introduce a new accreditation process in May from the Global Biorisk Advisory Council across hundreds of hotels; Hyatt says it is the first to do so. This council, made up of leaders in the microbial-pathogenic threat analysis and mitigation space, is a division of ISSA, the global cleaning industry association.
Hyatt has been working with infectious disease and occupational health experts to develop the program.
As individual hotel chains, including Hyatt, Hilton and Marriott, announce their cleaning initiatives during the coronavirus pandemic, the industry at large is also working to implement to new standards to make guests feel safe.
The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) unveiled its Safe Stay guidelines on May 4, an effort made in conjunction with major brands like Hilton, Marriott and Best Western to standardize cleanliness.
“It’s really an effort to make sure that no matter if you’re staying at an extended-stay economy hotel or you’re staying at the nicest luxury resort, that there will be at a minimum common standards across the entire industry,” Chip Rogers, AHLA president and CEO, told USA TODAY.
The report outlines baseline hotel practices and procedures (you can find the full guidelines here) meant to protect employees and guests.
Hilton’s new cleaning protocols
Hilton also said this week that it is partnering with the company behind Lysol, as well as the Mayo Clinic, to better ensure cleanliness in its hotels. The new program will be called “Hilton CleanStay” and aims to to give guests peace of mind when staying at a Hilton property, whether they are in guest rooms, restaurants, the gym or other public areas.
Full details are being ironed out, but several initiatives in development include:
- An official room seal indicating that a room hasn’t been accessed after a deep cleaning
- The removal of pen, paper and guest directories in favor of a digital option (or available on request)
- Contactless check-in, where guests can complete check-in and check-out processes via a mobile app and receive a digital room key (Hilton Honors members already have access to digital keys)
- Electrostatic sprayers and ultraviolet light to be used in the sanitization process
Marriott updates cleaning procedures
Marriott said it will use electrostatic sprayers with hospital-grade disinfectants to sanitize throughout its hotels. In addition to guest rooms, the sprayers will be used in lobbies, gyms and other public areas. It said the cleaning agents used would be those recommended by the CDC and Prevention and the WHO to kill all known pathogens.
In addition, the company is testing ultraviolet light technology for sanitizing room keys and adding hand sanitizer stations and signs in the lobby to remind anyone who enters to keep their distance from others. Marriott is also taking a look at what to do at properties that offer buffet service.
Choice Hotels starts ‘Commitment to Clean’ program
Choice Hotels, too, announced a new cleaning program, which will focus on furniture arrangement to promote social distancing, stronger cleaning protocols for higher-traffic areas like front desks and personal protective equipment for hotel staff.
The “Commitment to Clean” program will involve the chain working with Ecolab and guidance from the CDC, WHO , U.S. Travel Association and AHLA’s Safe Stay Advisory Council.
Airbnb issues cleaning recommendations
Airbnb is establishing a new recommended “cleaning protocol” with the goal of reassuring both rental property hosts and their guests.
For hosts, the guidelines will offer recommendations for personal protective gear, such as masks and gloves, while cleaning. Rentals will be spaced out by 24 hours for hosts who have opted in to the cleaning protocols, and hosts will have the option of an online feature that automatically prevents bookings less than 72 hours apart for an extra measure of safety.
Turnkey introduces coronavirus cleaning tips
The vacation rental service announced updates to its GuestWorks cleaning system and verification technology to best combat coronavirus. Prior to the pandemic, TurnKey was already using a housekeeping scheduler, keyless locks and in-home tablet, among other amenities, and had eliminated the need for in-person communication.
Now the system will be upgraded with updated checklists to help housekeepers disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs, handles and light switches. In the cleaning system’s app, housekeepers will have to confirm and verify through a photo the use of COVID-19-eliminating products.
It will require a 24-hour period between guest stays in May and June of this year and will extend this if necessary. Housekeepers and home inspections by TurnKey staff are permissible between stays, however.
Contributing: Chris Woodyard
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