While hotels are clearly a victim of circumstances in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, consumer confidence in them isn’t likely to be high. That’s why brands are smart to borrow others’ credibility.
No one—or at least no one with any credibility—is claiming that hotels are at fault for the COVID-19 pandemic or its associated economic collapse.
What is clear, though, is that doesn’t spare hoteliers from feeling the pain of the downturn, and I’m going to guess it won’t save them from a wave of consumer blowback.
The logic behind it is simple. Being around people right now is dangerous given the probability of transmitting a dangerous infectious disease, and hotels are a crossroad where you have a series of small interactions or just generally cross path with numerous strangers.
So don’t expect much trust in the hotels themselves. That’s why I think it’s exceptionally smart that the major hotel brands are leaning on not just outside expertise, but trusted brands related to cleanliness to let potential travelers know that disinfection is on top of the docket.
In a package of two stories that ran yesterday, my colleagues Terence Baker and Dana Miller took a comprehensive look at how this is taking shape, which runs through the laundry list of entities from outside the hotel industry that are willing to lend a bit of their cleanliness credibility to hotel brands.
I’m interested to see how this ultimately shakes out when the inevitable recovery does materialize. What kind of partnerships will yield the greatest benefit in terms of traveler confidence?
It could be programs like Hilton’s CleanStay, which leverages a trusted consumer brand in Lysol, while also mixing in the health care expertise of the Mayo Clinic. Or it could be programs like Hyatt Hotels Corporation’s “Global Care and Cleanliness Commitment” that seeks to create a property-by-property accreditation program through the Global Biorisk Advisory Council that Hyatt officials hope will ultimately extend beyond their brands.
While these moves are the right ones across the board, it does underline the troubling fact that hotel brands, which rely on trust as part of their core offering, are no longer trustworthy enough on their own. How long that remains the case might ultimately determine the shape of the recovery.
The opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Hotel News Now or its parent company, STR and its affiliated companies. Bloggers published on this site are given the freedom to express views that may be controversial, but our goal is to provoke thought and constructive discussion within our reader community. Please feel free to comment or contact and editor with any questions or concerns.