ROCKVILLE, MD—Building on the existing dedication to cleanliness at its nearly 6,000 franchised hotels in the U.S., Choice Hotels International Inc. has launched a new initiative, “Commitment to Clean.”
The initiative is Choice Hotels’ holistic approach to supplying franchisees and their employees with the tools they need to help Choice-branded hotels achieve superior levels of cleanliness, and address health and safety concerns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the company reports.
“Commitment to Clean” leverages Choice’s long-standing relationship with Ecolab, an industry expert in water, hygiene and infection prevention technologies and services; guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization and the U.S. Travel Association; and Choice’s membership in the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) Safe Stay Advisory Council to provide hotels with the latest resources and training. In addition, the company developed the Commitment to Clean initiative with insights from its franchisee advisory councils, which represent its hotel owners across the country.
“The health and safety of our guests, franchisees and their employees is always top of mind for Choice,” said Patrick Pacious, president/CEO, Choice Hotels. “The Commitment to Clean initiative bolsters existing best practice guidance, with enhancements advanced throughout the COVID-19 crisis, as our franchisees continue to provide accommodations for thousands of first responders, and frontline and essential workers. As our nation starts to reopen and the public resumes travel, we want guests to know that Choice-branded hotels are prepared to welcome them back.”
The initiative builds on the company’s long-standing cleanliness protocols, and enhances the existing program with guidance developed in response to the pandemic, including recommendations related to deep cleaning, disinfecting, hygiene, and social distancing best practices and protocols.
The company’s complete approach to infection prevention includes a close association with Ecolab, which is helping ensure it has the right infection prevention programs and training in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. This includes a new online resource hub available to franchisees, including operational best practices, training and resources from Ecolab’s experts. Additionally, every Choice-branded hotel will designate a Commitment to Clean Captain, each of whom will complete applicable best-in-class cleanliness training and will be responsible for incorporating the new protocols into their hotel’s operations.
Over the next few weeks, guests may experience a growing variety of new and improved protocols, products and communications, some of which are already in place, to promote health and safety:
- Heightened cleaning protocols for high-traffic areas such as the front desk, fitness centers and pools, as well as other high-touch surfaces throughout the hotel, using hospital-grade disinfectant approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to combat the spread of COVID-19
- Furniture arrangements designed to encourage appropriate social distancing in accordance with CDC guidelines
- Housekeeping “on-demand” option that allows guests to request delivery of additional toiletries, towels, linens or coffee without having a housekeeper enter the room
- Changes in breakfast offerings, with many hotels that provide breakfast replacing their buffet with pre-packaged breakfast items
- Design enhancements to help facilitate contactless check-in and checkout, such as plexiglass partitions at front desks for added protection and key drops for guests’ use upon departure
- Clean seals on certain high-touch items in guestrooms to provide reassurance of sterilized condition
- Personal protective equipment for hotel staff, including masks and gloves, to safeguard guests and employees
- Hand sanitizing stations located in high-traffic areas throughout the hotel, such as the front desk, breakfast area, elevator lobbies and fitness center
- On-property signage and decals reiterating CDC social-distancing guidelines, personal sanitation guidelines and the importance of surface cleaning
- Communications from front desk staff to guests about precautions taken for their safety and comfort, and reminders about additional safeguards available at guests’ choosing
The company will also be exploring the implementation of various technologies in the months ahead, including mobile check-in and keyless entry to further facilitate the contactless guest experience, as well as ultraviolet light instruments, air purifiers and ozone generators to further enhance sanitation.