Is this the new normal for hotel hygiene?
In a nod to the new realities of the coronavirus pandemic, Marriott has announced a series of dramatic new changes to the way it cleans its hotels — in what could be a portent of new standards across the hotel industry.
Marriott has also launched what it’s calling the “Global Cleanliness Council” led by Ray Bennett, Chief Global Officer, Global Operations, Marriott International, joined by a number of public health experts and scientists.
The mission of the council is to “tackle the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic at the hotel level and further advance the company’s efforts in this area.”
“We are living in a new age, with COVID-19 front and center for our guests and our associates,” said Arne Sorenson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Marriott International. “We are grateful for the trust our guests have shown us through the years. We want our guests to understand what we are doing today and planning for in the near future in the areas of cleanliness, hygiene and social distancing so that when they walk through the doors of one of our hotels, they know our commitment to their health and safety is our priority. It’s equally important to us that our associates know the changes we are making to help safeguard their health as they serve our guests.”
A major part of the company’s new cleanliness push will be in the form of enhanced technology, including “Electrostatic Spraying Technology,” which uses what the company says is the “highest classification of disinfectants recommended by the CDC.”
The sprayers clean and disinfect entire areas, and can be used to clean and disinfect rooms, lobbies, gyms and other areas.
Marriott also says it is testing ultraviolet light to sanitizes things like keys and other devices.
The company is making some major changes to its cleaning regimen across its properties: that includes “rigorous” cleaning protocols, and requiring that surfaces are treated with hospital grade disinfectants, with increased frequency.
The company will also be reminding guests to maintain social distance protocols, even removing or re-arranging furniture to allow more space; that’s along with installing more hand sanitizing stations and allowing guests to use their phones to check in, access their rooms and even order rooms service in more than 3,200 hotels.
And then there is the question of food safety; that includes enhanced sanitation guidelines and training videos for employees; all food handlers and supervisors will be trained, and the company is also changing its practices for in-room dining and “designing new approaches to buffets,” although it did not shed light on how the latter will change.
“Safety for our guests and associates has always been a top priority for Marriott and today that discussion of safety is in the context of COVID-19,” said Bennett. “We want our guests to know that we are doing everything we can to welcome them back to a safe and clean hotel environment when they start traveling again.”