THE IMPACT OF HOTEL CLEANLINESS ON GUEST SATISFACTION
May 18, 2023
The pandemic has had a significant impact on the hotel and restaurant business among others in recent years. One significant takeaway from the COVID-19 pandemic is the high demand for cleanliness and hygiene. Even as restrictions ease up, health and safety protocols are still in place to ensure the safety of everyone, especially in the industry. These include but aren’t limited to practicing proper hand hygiene, maintaining a one-meter distance in public, and wearing a mask, especially indoors and in enclosed spaces.
Practicing sanitation and hygiene protocols in the hotel industry should be front and center, considering the number of people that enter and exit the establishment regularly. Receptionists, porters, chefs, and housekeepers interact with each other and guests while going about their daily tasks, which is why they must always abide by health and safety procedures.
In an article by the Institute of Hospitality, “The importance of hygiene for guest satisfaction”, they cite the research done by P&G Professional which shows that 78 percent of hotel guests significantly value cleanliness as a factor that affects their decision in choosing a hotel. With enhanced hygiene protocols up, a survey by the American Hotel & Lodging Association suggests that 8 out of ten travelers say they are more comfortable staying at a hotel.
However, it is important to veer away from the act of “hygiene theater” which is the mere appearance of enhanced protocols in place of true hygiene and cleanliness. Hotel owners and managers must commit themselves to implementing stricter cleaning and disinfecting protocols and find efficient ways to communicate this approach to their staff and guests. According to the hospitality industry magazine Hotel Management, they can do so in the following ways:
Outline Cleaning Procedures: Coming into contact with someone who may be a carrier of COVID-19 is highly possible in a hotel setting. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends cleaning and disinfecting a facility where a person has tested positive for COVID-19 within 24 hours. For daily cleaning and disinfecting, hotel managers must develop a plan indicating which areas to prioritize during the cleaning process.
Clean Out in the Open: Seeing staff clean and disinfect areas openly gives guests the sense that the hotel prioritizes the health and safety of their guests.
Reevaluate Cleaning Chemicals and Technology: As vital as the cleaning product used, is the application method. Hotels must choose cleaning agents and machines that can perform tasks in less time. Opting for foggers or sprayers and an EPA-registered disinfectant will help disinfect surfaces quickly, efficiently, and safely.
Invest in Proper Training: Hotels must take the time to invest in and facilitate necessary training for their employees. Chemicals can be hazardous, so knowing which disinfectants to use in various areas and situations reduce the chances of injury. Furthermore, such accreditation helps the hotel management and its staff prepare for, respond to, and recover from unforeseen risks.
In relation to the last two points, there is a significant difference between cleaning and disinfecting. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cleaning refers to removing dirt and impurities from surfaces, cleaning however does not kill germs. Disinfecting, on the other hand, utilizes chemicals to kill germs found on surfaces and reduces the risk of spreading and infection. With this in mind, hotel employees must know what, where, and how to clean properly. An article by Diversey mentions that regularly sanitizing and cleaning areas like the following are important for guest satisfaction:
- Guest room bathroom
- Guest room sleeping/sitting area
- Public toilets/washrooms
- Hotel restaurant
- Public areas
- Hotel exterior
- Hotel grounds
During the height of the pandemic, research by P&G Professional showed that 70 percent of travelers say they would be more likely to pick a room, and 55 percent of them would be willing to pay more for a room if they knew the hotel used trusted and reliable cleaning products to clean and disinfect spaces.
If there’s one thing to note about the hospitality business, it's that guest satisfaction is of utmost importance. Cleanliness is highly valued by clients and should therefore be of equal priority to industry leaders. If there’s anything the pandemic has taught us, it’s that implementing proper cleaning protocols, learning what and how to clean, and knowing which products to use are some of the most effective ways to maintain hotel cleanliness. Although COVID-19 restrictions are easing up, it is in an establishment’s best interest to sustain hygiene standards to maintain customer satisfaction and loyalty.
- Turner, M. (2020, August 26). Stats: Cleanliness is most important factor for Determining Hotel. Travel Agent Central. Retrieved November 25, 2022, from https://www.travelagentcentral.com/hotels/stats-cleanliness-most-important-factor-for-determining-hotel
- Turner, M. (2020, June 22). Stats: 70% of travelers prefer to know cleaning product brand at hotels. Travel Agent Central. Retrieved November 25, 2022, from https://www.travelagentcentral.com/hotels/stats-70-travelers-prefer-to-know-cleaning-product-brand-at-hotels
- Institute of Hospitality. (2019, September 27). The importance of hygiene for guest satisfaction. Institute of Hospitality. Retrieved November 25, 2022, from https://www.instituteofhospitality.org/the-importance-of-hygiene-for-guest-satisfaction/
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- Alpaslan, D. (2022, January 7). Guest satisfaction: Perceptions of cleanliness. Diversey Philippines. Retrieved November 25, 2022, from https://diversey.com.ph/en/blog/guest-satisfaction-perceptions-cleanliness