Date: June 5, 2020
Hospitality sanitation initiatives that
belong in every hotelier’s toolbox
In a period of low occupancy, many hoteliers may shake their heads at the idea of spending ever-precious capital to improve sanitation and technology for hotels which are already performing sub-par. With the current circumstances however, one of the things hoteliers should be doing is optimizing their business for when travel demand starts to pick up again. Fitting your hotel with the latest technology and sanitation measures will put you in the forefront of demanded hotel selections for post-COVID-19 travelers.
An important sanitary feature of Marriott hotels is their rigorous food safety protocols. Staff are trained with sanitation guidelines and videos detailing hygienic and disinfecting practices. Moreover, F&B operators are required to conduct self-inspection which is validated by independent auditors.
“Marriott has a long tradition of emphasizing cleanliness in our care of guest rooms and in the public spaces of our hotels,” Ray Bennett, Council Chairman. “Through the council and scientific advice of experts, we are taking a thoughtful approach to set an even higher bar of cleanliness and develop new guest interaction protocols. The Marriott Global Cleanliness Council is focused on more than just disinfection across the hotel, we are providing a holistic approach designed to take care of our guests and associates.” 
Similarly, we see the rise of new initiatives and standards for hotel cleanliness as set forth by various organizations. Management company Aimbridge Hospitality is establishing its AIMClean employee certification program, with an emphasis of understanding the virus and its impact on hotel sanitation methods.  New Illinois Hotel and Lodging Industry guidelines focus on granting consumers confidence that regardless of where they are lodging, they can expect utmost cleanliness and sanitation of their hotel rooms and the common areas.
- Some notable examples of their guidelines include:
- Prominent social distancing signage
- Routine sanitation of frequently touched surfaces such as buttons on elevators
- Providing wipes and spray bottles of sanitizer in hotel rooms for the guests to use
- Removal of unnecessary room amenities such as reading material, pen and paper and decorative pillows from guest rooms
- Implementing contactless delivery of room-service and “grab-and-go” meal options 
The last point serves as a segue into another important topic to keep in mind for hoteliers. Contactless technology provides plenty of benefits for both hotels and guests. Apart from the convenience of checking in with smartphone apps, credit cards with tap-technology etc., this also limits contact to guests and their own personal devices.
With the emerging importance of millennial travelers in the hospitality industry, outfitting hotels with tech will be a prime avenue of attraction. Millennials making up over half of all hotel guests, 70% of them are more likely to stay at a hotel with tech amenities such as keyless entry, smart tv and mobile payments. 
Hotels that work with in-room tablet providers may see up to 95% guest engagement rates and as much as 300% ROI.  These technologies aid optimization of staff and revenue streams, which may greatly enhance efficient operations. Additionally, guests get more control over their stay, being able to order food and request service without interacting with employees, thereby limiting spread of viruses.
In a period of low occupancy, many hoteliers may shake their heads at the idea of spending ever-precious capital to improve sanitation and technology for hotels which are already performing sub-par. With the current circumstances however, one of the things hoteliers should be doing is optimizing their business for when travel demand starts to pick up again. Fitting your hotel with the latest technology and sanitation measures will put you in the forefront of demanded hotel selections for post-COVID-19 travelers. Evidencing the importance of these measures, the United Nations-backed World Travel & Tourism Council “Safe Travels Stamp” certifies certain hotels, who have adopted sanitary methods compliant to their protocol. We will likely see a rising importance of these certifications after these headwinds have blown past us. Just as Tripadvisor Certificates of Excellence and similar seals denote high quality hospitality businesses, so will sanitary certifications attract demand. 
World Travel & Tourism Council