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Travel 'A new normal': Hilton follows Marriott, Airbnb with cleanliness initiative amid coronavirus pandemic

21:15  27 april  2020
21:15  27 april  2020 Source:   usatoday.com

Hilton has temporarily closed 150 hotels in China due to the coronavirus outbreak. That's more than 60% of the hotels the brand has in the country.

  Hilton has temporarily closed 150 hotels in China due to the coronavirus outbreak. That's more than 60% of the hotels the brand has in the country. Hilton's CEO said on Tuesday that the outbreak could have a $25 million to $50 million impact on the company's 2020 earnings."Hilton has temporarily closed approximately 150 hotels in China at the direction of local authorities," Nigel Glennie, Hilton's VP of Corporate Communications, told Business Insider in an email. "Some of these hotels are still housing existing guests and medical professionals, but they are not accepting new reservations at this time. We will look to re-open these hotels as soon as possible and once the local authorities confirm that is appropriate.

Hilton is partnering with the company behind Lysol, as well as the Mayo Clinic, to better ensure cleanliness in its hotels — part of a hygienic industry trend in the wake of the new coronavirus.

The new program will be called "Hilton CleanStay" and aims to to give guests peace of mind when staying at a Hilton property, whether they are in guest rooms, restaurants, the gym or other public areas.

When customers do eventually return to hotels, they should anticipate this to last awhile.The program will likely be around "forever," Phil Cordell, senior vice president and global head of new brand development for Hilton, told USA TODAY.

Airbnb to offer housing to 100,000 crisis responders

  Airbnb to offer housing to 100,000 crisis responders Airbnb said Thursday it would provide free or subsidized housing for up to 100,000 relief workers responding to the coronavirus pandemic around the world. The home-sharing platform said it would subsidize the stays for health professionals and other emergency responders to enable them to live closer to their work locations. The move is being made in cooperation with the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Rescue Committee, International Medical Corps and other nonprofit organizations, Airbnb said in a statement.

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"The program and what it delivers is kind of a new normal of expectation," Cordell said. He expects it to be guest-ready by June.

Full details are being ironed out, but here's a look at what's in development:

  • An official room seal indicating that a room hasn't been accessed after a deep cleaning
  • The removal of pen, paper and guest directories in favor of a digital option (or available on request)
  • Extra disinfection for areas like light switches, door handles, TV remotes, thermostats and more
  • A disinfecting wipe station in high-traffic areas (i.e., so guests can wipe elevator buttons down before pressing)
  • Contactless check-in, where guests can complete check-in and check-out processes via a mobile app and receive a digital room key (Hilton Honors members already have access to digital keys) 
  • Electrostatic sprayers and ultraviolet light to be used in the sanitization process

Hotel cleaners will be given personal protective equipment and extra training, as well, in conjunction with the new cleanliness effort. Guests should expect housekeeping personnel to be much more visible at hotels, according to Cordell.

How Marriott's New Cleaning Protocols Will Make Future Guests Feel at Ease

  How Marriott's New Cleaning Protocols Will Make Future Guests Feel at Ease Meet the Global Cleanliness Council. Helmed by a variety of experts, the hotel company's newly announced "Global Cleanliness Council" will aim to uphold new cleaning protocols at each of their locations. In addition to Marriott's senior leaders from roles like housekeeping and food safety, the council will include food safety scientists, infectious disease specialists and professors of food microbiology, according to a press release shared on Tuesday.

"Hilton CleanStay builds on the best practices and protocols we’ve developed over the last several months, allowing our guests to rest easy with us and focus on enjoying the unforgettable experiences we have to offer – while protecting our team members who are on the front lines of hospitality," Christopher J. Nassetta, Hilton president and CEO, said in a statement.

Both RB, Lysol's parent company, and Mayo Clinic, will advise the hotel chain on their respective areas of expertise. Mayo Clinic, for example, will advise Hilton staff on cleaning protocols, training programs and quality assurance. 

So, when will customers actually be returning to hotels to test all these efforts out?

After all, 1,000 Hilton hotels have suspended operations as of April 14; this amounts to 16% of the chain's properties around the world. An SEC filing indicated a 56% to 58% decline of revenue per available room for March, per a preliminary systemwide first-quarter estimate.

Hotel chains are announcing new cleaning program amid coronavirus. Here's what they look like.

  Hotel chains are announcing new cleaning program amid coronavirus. Here's what they look like. Hyatt and Best Western are some of the latest hotel chains to update cleanliness measures due to coronavirus, after Hilton, Marriott and Airbnb.In an update to its "I Care Clean" program, the company's rejiggered "We Care Clean" plan includes enhanced sanitization procedures at the front desk and lobby, upgraded grab and go breakfast offerings in most hotels and offered more strict cleaning of public amenities like pools and fitness centers.

"We feel that mid-summer is a point when people start to just feel more comfortable," Cordell said, regarding business and leisure travel.

And from there, the hotel chain may make tweaks to the protocol. "As customers start to travel a little bit more we're just going to have to be acutely aware and listening to what they're thinking and feeling so we can adjust almost in real time."

Hilton's news follows cleanliness announcements in the hospitality industry from Marriott and Airbnb, as the industry grapples with the coronavirus pandemic's inevitable effects.

Marriott said it will use electrostatic sprayers with hospital-grade disinfectants to sanitize throughout the hotel. Besides guest rooms, the sprayers will be used in lobbies, gyms and other public areas. It said the cleaning agents used would be those recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization to kill all known pathogens. 

In addition, the company is testing ultraviolet light technology for sanitizing room keys, and adding hand sanitizer stations and signs in the lobby to remind anyone who enters to keep their distance from others. Marriott is also taking a look at what to do at properties that offer buffet service.

US Travel Association Releases Industry Guidance for 'Travel in the New Normal'

  US Travel Association Releases Industry Guidance for 'Travel in the New Normal' "As travel reopens, travelers need the confidence that safety measures are in place from their departure to their return home."The guidelines, released this week, were formed with the help of medical experts and cover everything from reducing the potential spread of COVID-19 with enhanced cleaning policies to implementing things like touchless features.

As for Airbnb: For hosts, the guidelines will offer recommendations for personal protective gear, like masks and gloves, while cleaning. Rentals will be spaced out by 24 hours for hosts that have opted in to the cleaning protocols, and hosts will have the option of an online feature that automatically prevents bookings less than 72 hours apart for an extra measure of safety. 

Contributing: Chris Woodyard

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'A new normal': Hilton follows Marriott, Airbnb with cleanliness initiative amid coronavirus pandemic

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