Hotels enhance cleaning protocols in light of COVID-19
Hotels enhance cleaning protocols in light of COVID-19
24 JULY 2020 7:25 AM

From more frequent, rigorous sanitation to revised employee training to teaming up with infectious disease experts, hotel brands and companies are enhancing safety and sanitation protocols to keep guests safe amid COVID-19 and beyond.

Editor’s note: This list will be updated as others launch similar initiatives. If your hotel company or property has an initiative in place, email to be included here. 

Update 24 July 2020: This list has been updated to include initiatives announced by Hilton, Marriott, IHG, Ovolo, Oyo, Hyatt, Loews Hotels, Lotte New York Palace, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, PM Hotel Group, CitizenM, The Hermitage Hotel, Hersha Hotels and Resorts, ITC Hotels, Marcus Hotels and Resorts, First Hospitality, Margaritaville, Columbia Hospitality and Posadas.

GLOBAL REPORT—With hotels reopening to guests across the globe, hotel brand and management companies are letting the public know how they plan to disinfect properties and keep guests safe through enhanced procedures and protocols.

Here is a roundup of hospitality brands, indivudial hotels and companies that have publicly released statements regarding sanitation and safety plans over the couple of months.

Marriott International
On 21 April, Marriott International announced in a company release the formation of the Marriott Global Cleanliness Council to specifically tackle the concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic. The council will focus on developing next-level cleanliness standards to enhance the safety for guests and staff, which includes a rollout of new technologies such as electronic sprayers with hospital-grade disinfectant.

The council is led by Ray Bennett, Marriott’s chief global officer, global operations, and includes advisory members Ruth Petran, senior corporate scientist, food safety and public health for Ecolab; Michael Sauri, infectious disease specialist at Adventist Healthcare; Richard Ghiselli, head of the School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Purdue University; and Randy Worobo, professor of food and microbiology in the Department of Food Science at Cornell University.

“Marriott has a long tradition of emphasizing cleanliness in our care of guest rooms and in the public spaces of our hotels,” Bennett said in the release. “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.”

On 6 May, Marriott released an update from President and CEO Arne Sorenson reinforcing the protocols, which he outlined in three buckets: The Global Cleanliness Council, new cleaning technologies and cleaning regimen changes.

On 20 July, Marriott announced that beginning 27 July it will require guests to wear masks in lobbies and other public spaces.

On 27 April, Hilton announced its new “Hilton CleanStay with Lysol Protection” program—its name in the U.S.—will launch June 2020, according to a company release. Hilton collaborated with RB, the maker of Lysol, and Mayo Clinic, to deliver an “industry-defining standard of cleanliness and disinfection in Hilton properties around the world,” according to a news release.

Hilton said the program will be a rigorous system utilizing RB’s expertise and scientific approach to cleaning practices and product offerings. Mayo Clinic’s Infection Prevention and Control team will be the thought leaders, advising and assisting Hilton’s cleaning and disinfection program across all 18 brands.

“The initiative will focus on cleanliness that will be visible to guests throughout their entire stay—in their guestrooms, restaurants, fitness rooms and in other public spaces,” the release states.

Full details and brands standards of the program are still in the works and are expected to be announced soon but include: Hilton CleanStay Room Seal; De-clutter Paper Amenities; 10 High-Touch, Deep Clean Areas; Contactless Check-In; and more.

Among the protocols in the Hilton CleanStay program is a door seal on each guestroom door indicating the room has been cleaned. (Rendering: Hilton)

On 13 July, Hilton announced the next phase to its CleanStay program, first launched on 27 April, specifically tailored to meetings and events called “EventReady.” The program rolled out globally to address safe group travel. Key components of the program include elevated sanitation standards for guest and meeting rooms with an EventReady Room Checklist; an EventReady Playbook that offers guidance on hybrid meetings to seamlessly connect on-site attendees with those in remote locations; food-and-beverage solutions that adhere to social distancing; and more.

“At Hilton, we’ve always believed in the power of in-person connections and take pride in the exceptional experiences our teams create in partnership with event professionals,” Hilton President and CEO Chris Nassetta said in the release. “In today’s new normal, we know that people planning and attending events of any size are focused on their health and safety. Hilton EventReady delivers innovative solutions for the entire event experience – from flexibility in planning and physical distancing protocols to transparency in cleanliness policies and inspiring catering options.”

Choice Hotels International
Choice Hotels International announced its “Commitment to Clean” program on 4 May, leveraging its long-term relationship with Ecolab, guidance from the CDC, the World Health Organization, the U.S. Travel Association and its membership in AHLA’s Safe Stay Advisory Council to supply resources and training, according to a company release.

The program includes a new online resource hub for Choice franchisees that features operational best practices as well as training and resources from Ecolab’s experts. Each Choice-branded hotel will also appoint a “Commitment to Clean Captain” who will go through “best-in-class cleanliness training and will be responsible for incorporating the new protocols into their hotel’s operations,” the release states.

The program outlines three focus areas: protocols, products and communications.

"The health and safety of our guests, franchisees and their employees is always top of mind for Choice," said Pat Pacious, president and CEO, in the company release. "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."

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
On 4 May, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts launched the “Count on Us” program, which is a “long-term, multifaceted initiative to build confidence among guests and to support franchisees as it begins making preparations to welcome travelers back to its more than 6,000 U.S. hotels,” according to a news release.

The initiative is in collaboration with the company’s franchisees, members of its Franchise Advisory Councils, leading industry partners and organizations such as the American Hotel & Lodging Association. Additionally, Wyndham has partnered with Ecolab to consistently use its EPA-approved disinfectants in all its U.S. hotel guestrooms and public areas.

Wyndham is also using training and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We want the everyday traveler to know they can count on us to put their health and safety first,” Geoff Ballotti, president and CEO, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, said in the news release. “Over 90% of our hotels in the U.S. today are open and welcoming essential business, government, health care and emergency responders every night. We salute these everyday heroes who are keeping our nation running. We know that people will also travel again for leisure and to see family and friends. And when they do, Wyndham will be ready to welcome them back.”

Wyndham EMEA
Wyndham on 19 May announced it has extended its Count on Us initiative, which first rolled out in the U.S. on 4 May, to Europe, Middle East, Eurasia and Africa, according to a news release.

“Wyndham has developed a series of protocols and guidelines that will help hotel partners in EMEA meet new health and safety challenges presented by COVID-19. These address enhanced hotel cleaning practices, social interactions and workplace procedures and will be complemented by a line-up of mandatory virtual training courses for hotel teams, as well as additional resources, such as housekeeping checklists. Every Wyndham hotel in EMEA will also be encourage to appoint a ‘hygiene hero’ to champion the new protocols at each property,” the release states.

Wynn Las Vegas
Wynn Resorts’ CEO Matt Maddox released Wynn Las Vegas’ health and disinfection program on 21 April, which was developed in consultation with three public health medical professionals and fellows of Georgetown University and Johns Hopkins University, according to a news release. The plan states what Wynn Las Vegas will do to keep its guests, staff and community safe through a customized set of procedures for each operating department.

The Wynn Las Vegas plan outlines steps for categories including employee and guest health; employee’s responsibilities; the guest journey; cleaning products and protocols; face covering and PPE distribution locations; physical distancing; security; food and beverage and more.

Maddox said in the release that the plan will continue to be updated and refined as experts provide more advice.

Best Western Hotels & Resorts
On 30 April, Best Western Hotels & Resorts announced its “We Care Clean” program, which is an extension of its “I Care Clean” program that launched in 2012. Best Western is using guidance from the CDC, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and Health Canada, according to a news release.

The program addresses guestroom and common area cleanliness as well as streamlined processes that limit contact between guests and employees. It will be updated regularly as new standards and recommendations come about from governmental agencies and industry groups.

“We Care Clean elevates our existing cleaning practices and protocols to a new level,” Ron Pohl, SVP and COO, said in the release. “Protecting guests and employees is our highest priority, and today that is most often achieved through a tremendous focus on cleaning practices. Travelers can rest easy knowing that We Care Clean is the new standard for hotel cleanliness. We are putting the safety and well-being of guests and employees first.”

Touchpoints in the program include front desk and lobby; guestroom and housekeeping; temporary breakfast offerings; public amenities; and hotel employees and staff requirements.

Hyatt Hotels Corporation
Hyatt Hotels Corporation announced on 29 April its “Global Care & Cleanliness Commitment,” which includes Global Biorisk Advisory Council accreditation, hotel-level sanitation experts, and a group of trusted medical and industry advisors, according to a company release.

The commitment will adhere to new operational guidance and protocols such as colleague training; increased frequency of cleaning with hospital-grade disinfectants; adding enhanced food-and-safety hygiene protocols; hand sanitizer stations through public spaces, entrances and employee areas; protective masks and equipment for employees; and more.

“The world as we knew it has been fundamentally changed by COVID-19, and when we are all ready to travel again, we want to make sure that every Hyatt colleague and guest feels confident that each aspect of our commitment is designed with their safety in mind, and that we’re putting their well-being first,” said Mark Hoplamazian, president and CEO. “To do this, we must critically examine the hotel experience from every vantage point—from our rooms and our lobbies to our spas and dining—bringing in the latest research, technology and innovation to make that happen. Hyatt’s Global Care & Cleanliness Commitment is an important expression of our purpose to care for people so they can be their best—now and in the future.”

Hyatt announced on 21 July that starting 27 July, all guests will be required to wear face masks in all public spaces at its hotels in the U.S. and Canada.

RLH Corporation
RLH Corporation announced on 6 May its cleanliness standards to adapt to COVID-19. RLHC will use hotel cleanliness recommendations based on guidance from the CDC, WHO, AHLA, AAHOA and commercial cleaning and sanitation companies such as Ecolab, Proctor & Gamble and Diversey, according to a company release.

The measure will include physical distancing; only opening as many doors as needed; more public space and guestroom sanitation; F&B service modifications; and technological advancements.

“The hospitality industry must change and adapt to a new normal,” EVP and COO Gary Sims said in the release. “RLHC is working hard to be an all-encompassing resource for our owners within these uncharted territories. We hope that our work helps hotel owners succeed coming out of this pandemic by making sure there are clean and sanitized hotels for both future travelers and the employees on-site.”

Red Roof Inn
Red Roof Inn on 7 May announced the launch of its “Red Roof RediClean” program which will include rigorous and enhanced cleaning protocols to give consumers confidence as they return. Red Roof is following guidelines from the government in alignment from AHLA.

Touchpoints of the program include enhanced cleaning in common areas and guestrooms; signage instructing guests to wear face coverings in public spaces; encouraging staff wear face coverings and gloves; and more.

"Red Roof is ready to welcome guests back, who have been sheltering in place," said Andrew Alexander, president of Red Roof. "The Red Roof RediClean program is our commitment to enhanced cleaning, providing guests with the confidence they deserve as they once again begin to road trip throughout the country."

Radisson Hotel Group
Radisson Hotel Group released on 6 May its “Radisson Hotels Safety Protocol” program which includes in-depth cleanliness and disinfection procedures in partnership with SGS, a leading inspection, verification, testing and verification company, according to a news release. It has also partnered with Diversey for cleaning and hygiene solutions.

Guidelines of this program include implementing hand sanitizing stations at all entrances; staff using PPE and protective screens; more frequent cleaning; social distancing in all areas of its hotels; and more.

“At Radisson Hotel Group, we are committed to delivering a clean and safe environment for our guests and team members. The world has been fundamentally changed by COVID-19, so it is key that we strive to protect all who work, stay and partner with us as we re-open our doors to a new era of travel. To do this, we have thoroughly examined all areas of the hotel experience, and we are proud to have partnered with SGS to create our Radisson Hotels Safety Protocol program,” Federico González, CEO, Radisson Hospitality AB and Chairman of Radisson Hotel Group’s Global Steering Committee, said in the release.

MGM Resorts International
On 12 May, MGM Resorts International released its “Seven-Point Safety Plan,” outlining the health and safety protocols it will take before reopening its domestic properties that were temporarily closed in March, according to a news release.

The plan is multilayered with a set of protocols designed in collaboration with medical and scientific experts. Some of the procedures within the plan include screening, temperature checks and employee training; requiring employees to wear masks and PPE as well encouraging guests to do the same; physical distancing; enhanced sanitization; digital innovations; and more.

“Preparing for the moment we can reopen our doors, MGM Resorts focused on developing a plan that puts health and safety at the center of everything we do. Our ‘Seven-Point Safety Plan’ is the result of months of consultations with public health experts and outlines our comprehensive approach to welcoming guests back safely,” said MGM Resorts acting CEO and President Bill Hornbuckle. “Our properties will not look the way they used to for a while, and that’s not only OK, it’s critically important. We will continue providing the hospitality experiences we are known for, but we must do so safely. We will continue working with experts and following guidance from the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and government officials and regulators as we evolve these protocols based on the latest information.”

Remington Hotels
Remington Hotels said in a company release on 4 May it has devised a program of enhanced cleaning procedures as well as revised employee training. The third-party management company is collaborating on best practices with its brand partners such as Marriott and Hilton.

"Remington Hotels is rolling out a multipronged approach to address necessary safety and cleaning measures in response to COVID-19. These measures include enhanced cleaning and safety protocols across all 87 hotels, a revised training program for all Remington Hotels associates and a revamped approach to food and beverage," Rob Carl, VP of facilities and capital planning and appointed lead for the company's COVID-19 Response Committee, said in the release.

All properties are now utilizing EPA-registered disinfectant products with “proven efficacy” in eliminating respiratory viruses, the release states.

Oyo Hotels & Homes
On 3 June India-based Oyo Hotels & Homes launched its “Scrubbed Clean” program with a set of recommendations for all its hotels in the U.S. to comply with the CDC and align with AHLA and AAHOA’s Safe Stay guidelines. Recommendations are focused on elevated cleaning practices, safe social interactions, workplace protocols and transparency with guests, according to a news release.

Practices among the program will include common areas cleaned at least four times per day; PPE for all onsite hotel employees; use of EPA approved disinfectants; hand sanitizer stations at all entrances and exits; social-distance floor markers; and more.

Loews Hotels
On 22 July, Loews Hotels launched its “Welcoming you like Family” campaign with a set of updated safety and well-being protocols, according to a release.

The protocols include mandatory face coverings before entering the hotel, social distance markers, temperature checks for all team members and vendors prior to entering the hotel, elevated cleaning, continuous water and air testing, in-room hand sanitizer and bottled water and more.

Lotte New York Palace
The Lotte New York Palace announced on 9 July that it is consulting with a medical and public health expert and will roll out the “A Room of Your Own” initiative to provide an added level of safety and reassurance with guests, according to a news release.

Robert Amler, a leader in public health and 25-year veteran in government health administration, will act as the hotel’s consultant and formulate a program that meets health and safety measures in line with current guidelines.

The Room of Your Own initiative is meant for guests who stay multiples nights each week and will allow them exclusive access to the same room during each recurring visit. Staring in August, Lotte New York Palace will assign a permanent room number for frequent travelers, and no other guest will be permitted to check in to that room.

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
On 18 June, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts announced its “Lead with Care” global program with Johns Hopkins Medicine International as a consultant. Four Seasons has also formed a COVID-19 Advisory Board.

Enhanced cleanliness includes each property appointing a Hygiene Officer, rooms disinfected daily with EPA approved products, retraining programs for housekeeping teams, public areas cleaned hourly, social distancing measures and more. Guests will receive a Lead with Care kit in each guestroom that provides masks, hand sanitizer and wipes.

PM Hotel Group
PM Hotel Group on 23 June announced its “PMxPM: Peace of Mind by PM Hotel Group” as an enhanced program to its initial cleaning and sanitation playbook launched in April, according to a news release.

“The PMxPM initiative encompasses a 360 degree playbook including updated safety, sanitation, operational procedures and ongoing associate trainings that incorporate the latest guidance and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), and state, local and federal governments,” the release states.”

CitizenM on 16 June launched its app to facilitate a fully contactless experience for guests, allowing them to bypass fact-to-face check-in and check-out, F&B ordering and payment for all in-hotel purchases. It also implemented elevated hygiene standards, according to a news release.

“Now, every hotel has strategically placed disinfectant stations for guests and employees. Social distancing signs and safety routes are clearly set out. Electrostatic sprayers are also ready to sanitize luggage, public areas and guestrooms after check-out. Furthermore, all of CitizenM’s laundry partners guarantee to deliver disinfected clean linen,” the release states.

The Hermitage Hotel
The Hermitage Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee, in conjunction with Meharry Medical College, implemented enhanced health and safety practices on property on 24 June. The medical team advised on all front-of-house and back-of-house practices, including dining procedures. Visitors to the hotel can expect social distancing, use of masks, more frequent high-level cleaning standards and some adjustments to the hotel’s signature service, according to a news release.

“We have always admired and respected the team at Meharry Medical College and reached out to them soon after the magnitude of the nationwide pandemic became clear,” said Dee Patel, managing director of The Hermitage Hotel. “Throughout its history, The Hermitage Hotel has always been a haven for Nashville, and we want our guests to have reassurance that our already stringent and enhanced health and safety practices have been reviewed by some of the most respected experts in the medical community. This also includes a review of modifications to our world-class service processes to ensure we’re providing both safety and gracious hospitality simultaneously.”

Hersha Hotels and Resorts
Hersha Hotels and Resorts on 10 June launched its “Rest Assured” program at each of the hotels in its portfolio, according to a news release.

Rest Assured is a five-point program that takes a “holistic and innovative” approach to guest safety, using safety guidelines and protocols from the CDC, WHO and AHLA, leveraging innovative technology, reimagining service, increasing communication and more.

ITC Hotels
On 8 May, India-based ITC Hotels launched its “WeAssure” initiative, accredited by National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers. ITC also partnered with DNV GL Business Assurance, “one of the world’s leading certification bodies,” to ensure stringent clinical levels of hygiene and safety.

“We are committed to delivering world-class luxury experiences that address the most important needs of well-being and safety through responsible practices that are immensely relevant in the unprecedented circumstances we face today. WeAssure is a unique program designed in collaboration with medical professionals and disinfection experts to further enhance the existing hygiene and cleaning protocols. The stringent program specifications reassure guests of visibly stringent cleanliness and disinfection processes which benchmark clinically hygienic standards, offering guests’ unparalleled comfort with peace of mind,” Nakul Anand, executive director-ITC Ltd, said in the release.

Marcus Hotels and Resorts
Marcus Hotels and Resorts has created the “CleanCare Pledge” to roll out at its properties as they reopen. Key elements of the pledge include introducing new processes and technology to a create low-to-no contact guest experience, social distancing procedures, outfitting staff with masks and gloves, providing masks for guests and enhanced cleaning and sanitization protocols in line with the CDC and that go beyond industry standards.

Ovolo Hotels
Hong Kong-based Ovolo Hotels on 29 June launched “OC/DC” (Obsessive Commitment to Deep Cleaning), according to a release.

“OC/DC has been developed to bring a little F.U.N. (Fun. Unconventional. Never Boring) and incorporate musical undertones, in true Ovolo fashion. So, whether that’s rockin’ out on temperature checks or rollin’ out the hand sanitizer, guests can fully relax knowing that there will be 10 squeaky clean rules and regulations which have been implemented, and that they will be in good (thoroughly washed) hands,” the release states.

On 20 July, Ovolo announced it will require all front-line, guest-facing employees to wear face masks.

First Hospitality
First Hospitality announced 15 May its “Cleanliness First Plan,” developed alongside Ecolab, according to a release.

“Cleanliness First Plan expands on the recommendations and guidelines from the Centers for Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) to ensure First Hospitality hotels maintain the highest standards of hygiene. Hotels associated with brand partners, including Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, and Marriott, are required to follow the protocols outlined by the brand in addition to the Cleanliness First Plan, which meets or exceeds brand guidelines,” the release states.

Margaritaville on 13 May rolled out its updated health and sanitation standards as the brand began to reopen properties. All the brand’s properties received comprehensive health and sanitation guidelines and were required to complete a “172-point verification process prior to reopening, which includes brand health training for all management and staff returning to work,” according to a release.

Standards were developed based on guidance from the CDC, WHO, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, the National restaurant Association, AHLA and more.

Columbia Hospitality
On 20 May, Columbia Hospitality launched its “Columbia Clean” initiative with a new standard of excellence in health, hygiene, safety and sanitation through development with Ecolab.

“Its genesis is in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and builds upon the already stringent standards of hygiene and sanitation at Columbia properties, where rigorous protocols are currently in use. The goal of Columbia Clean is to afford guests an exceptional experience while also providing comfort and confidence in a clean environment,” according to a news release.

Mexico-based Posadas on 15 May launched its “Travel with Confidence” program at all 180 of its hotels and resorts, according to a news release.

“All of Posadas’ properties are continuously evaluated by either the Distinctive H norms, given by the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Health of Mexico, and/or the Cristal International Standards norms, which reviews the quality and handling of food and beverage. Additionally, all hotels and resorts have access to a primary health doctor who can immediately assist for minor medical needs, while proper procedures and management for any potential COVID-19 cases with guests are also well-defined,” the release states.


  • Scheilla Perez May 14, 2020 11:10 AM Reply

    Just adding some ideas:

    How are we going to address the comforters, curtains, rug?
    ---steamers, sanitizer lights, cover over cover

    Housekeeping scheduled?
    ---2 for bedroom

    Are we going to expect complimentary face masks and sanitizer for guests?
    ---as toiletries

  • Andre Paranhos August 23, 2020 8:54 AM Reply

    Nice overview! What would be the trends for Food & Beverages services at hotel facilities?

  • Carpet Cleaning Auckland January 2, 2021 5:50 AM Reply

    It is a wonderful article stating the Hotels enhance cleaning protocols in light of COVID-19, which can be the best option as per your need. I like how you have researched and presented these exact points so clearly.

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