INTERNATIONAL REPORT—As the hotel industry readies for its reopening from the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of companies are implementing new cleanliness and safety protocols. Here are some of them:
Hilton Grand Vacations Launches Enhanced Care Guidelines
Hilton Grand Vacations Inc. (HGV) has introduced Enhanced Care Guidelines designed to provide owners, guests and team members with upgraded cleaning protocols and safety standards in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rolling out across all HGV-branded resorts and sales galleries, the Enhanced Care Guidelines incorporates the Hilton CleanStay to include best practices and protocols as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and cleaning solutions approved by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The Enhanced Care Guidelines include the following:
- There will be low-touch arrivals and departures with helpful social-distancing signage, and all front-desk stations will have protective partitions. In addition, bell staff and valet attendants will wear gloves and face coverings wherever possible. Furthermore, HGV will provide complimentary face coverings for all guests, and hand-sanitizer stations will be strategically located throughout the property.
- Frequent and thorough cleaning of all high-traffic public spaces, including lobbies, front desks, elevator landings and sales galleries, will occur.
- An HGV room seal will be placed on guestroom entry doors to indicate the room has not been accessed since it was thoroughly cleaned, adding an extra measure of assurance.
- HGV will provide extra disinfection in high-touch areas using EPA-approved COVID-19 cleaning solutions, including light switches, door handles, phones, TV remotes, thermostats, bed and bedding, bathrooms, safes, kitchen housewares and surfaces.
- There will be a reduction of paper items, including guest directories, magazines and printed promotional items supplemented with digital options to limit guest exposure.
- Social-distancing practices will be implemented throughout the properties, including signage directing guests and team members to keep a safe distance.
- Pool decks and fitness centers will have capacity limitations to ensure proper social distancing and will also receive frequent and thorough cleaning.
- New technologies will be evaluated and considered to further improve HGV’s Enhanced Care Guidelines.
- HGV team members will receive personal protective equipment (PPE) and enhanced training to help protect everyone’s well-being.
HGV is welcoming back owners and guests at many resort locations where operations were temporarily suspended due to COVID-19. While in suspension, essential resort personnel worked diligently maintaining the resorts for a safe reopening. Annual deep cleanings, typically scheduled during slower seasons, were moved up and completed.
InTown Suites, Uptown Suites Expand Cleaning Process
Established years before COVID-19, economy extended-stay brand InTown Suites’ Triple Checked Clean process has recently been expanded to implement additional guidelines and procedures recommended by the CDC.
InTown Suites and its sister brand Uptown Suites are partnering with Procter & Gamble Professional to use professional cleaning and disinfecting products. Once rooms are cleaned & disinfected, the team performs an additional sanitation of commonly used surfaces, from light switches to door handles. Lastly, the room is checked by three different team members who inspect the room individually to ensure cleaning standards are upheld.
The sanitizing schedule has been increased in common areas such as elevators, guest laundry rooms and other frequently touched surfaces in the lobby (door handles, elevator and vending machine buttons, EMV pads, etc.) to help combat COVID-19. The front desk has a protective divider, and access is limited to one guest at a time. Hand sanitizers have been placed in the lobby for guest use, and all staff members are required to wear a face mask and gloves. To further support social distancing on premises, the company upgraded its online payment portal to allow a guest to communicate directly with the hotel manager via text message.
MP Hotels Introduces Clean 2.0
MP Hotels has teamed with Ecolab and health, safety and hygiene certification body Cristal International Standards to create Clean 2.0, a holistic program to ensure the safety of both guests and employees.
“We are now ready to resume operations in all of our hotels worldwide as soon as the travel restrictions are lifted,” said Roula Jouny, CEO, MP Hotels.
MP hotels implementing Clean 2.0 will earn a POSI (Prevention Of Spread of Infection) certification for all of the hotels and a daily room check assurance tag for every new guest entering a room. The POSI certification will be obtained after a thorough program-planning, introduction and auditing by Cristal International Standards.
“Many of these hygiene processes have been in place for years, but need to be relearned because of new enhancements,” said Jouny. “This is why we are placing a special focus on employee training, auditing and stricter monitoring as we begin to enter a reopening phase.”
The hotels are implementing strengthened and specialized cleaning procedures in all areas. These include lobbies, elevators, restaurants, spas, fitness areas, guestrooms, the kitchen and staff lounges. Team members are being trained with cleaning instructions and checklists for each area. In addition to cleaning measures, the installation of disinfectant dispensers at high-traffic points; the provision of protective gear such as masks and gloves to team members; and social-distancing measures in restaurant and bar areas will be implemented across all hotels. Temperature controls at hotel entrances are also a part of Clean 2.0.
Hotelbeds to Launch Safe Stay Initiative
Hotelbeds plans to launch Safe Stay in the coming weeks to help support the recovery of the travel industry. Safe Stay is a distribution filter category that consolidates and displays in the booking process the different COVID-19 health and safety protocols and certifications that travel industry companies, tourism boards and lobby groups have recently created.
The Safe Stay category covers both accommodation and providers of services such as transfers, activities, theme parks and car rental. All products with a listing in the category will feature a Safe Stay badge in the booking engine along with details of what this means outlined in a glossary compiling all protocols in one reference point.
All partners working with Hotelbeds that have created their own COVID-19 health and safety protocols are eligible to include their information in the filter category, and hotels partners can do so directly via MaxiRoom, Hotelbeds’ partner extranet.
Global health and safety certifications from hotel chain partners such as Accor, Radisson, Hyatt and RIU Hotels and Resorts, as well as organizations such as the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and Turismo de Portugal, will be displayed in the Safe Stay filter category alongside those of many other companies and institutions.
This category will be visible as a filter on the Hotelbeds and Bedsonline booking engines and the same information will be made available to all of Hotelbeds’ API clients to configure into their own systems.