AAHOA CHAIRMAN (2020-2021)
The hospitality industry will remain a major player in the nation’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. From theaters to restaurants to hotels, businesses have been researching, developing, and implementing protocols to attract customers with the promise of a safe, sanitary stay. The importance of the guest experience today cannot be understated.
Travel has changed, and so have expectations. Industry surveys indicate guests expect more frequent, visible cleaning as well as transparency on what hotels are doing to keep guests safe and the property sanitized. Cleanliness and housekeeping procedures have been ranked as the most important attributes for hotel guests, beating out price and location. For months now, the industry has grappled with the challenge of applying the best practices in sanitation while marketing these enhanced protocols to the public. During pandemic operations, hotel design must do more than attract travelers – it also must assure health, safety, and peace of mind.
Transparency and consistency are vital touchstones of the hotel experience. Following government-issued guidance, all major hotel brands have rolled out their own safety and cleanliness protocols and training programs. Social distancing stickers, signage, front desk barriers, and hand sanitizer pumps are all among the common features in these branded protocols. For independent hoteliers and franchisees looking to supplement their current protocols, AAHOA partnered with P&G Professional to create the AAHOA/P&G Professional’s Training in Hotel Sanitization and Cleanliness, which offers free training and resources on topics from infection prevention to communications. Completion of this certification takes just half an hour, and AAHOA will mail a certificate of completion to your property within a few business days.
With hardware already in place, hotel owners should aim to deliver consistent service in accordance with the sanitary protocols and practices promised to visitors on the property. While it takes time and active engagement to enforce the best practices, the process will deliver the safest guest experience. The threat of this pandemic is still prevalent and will be for the foreseeable future. Adopting and enforcing sanitation standards is more than a marketing ploy. It’s a pledge to protect the health and safety of everyone on the hotel property. As travel adjusts to the new normal in the fall season, now is the time to subscribe to the up-to-date industry practices and provide peace of mind to American travelers.
I know these new standards of operation are a challenge and financial burden. As with every other aspect of this global pandemic, AAHOA will monitor the latest health and safety guidance, and communicate these updates to our members. Every resource and piece of information we provide will be based, first and foremost, on providing America’s hoteliers with the tools you need to safeguard the health and safety of their families, employees, and guests.