As COVID-19 continues to bring health and safety to the forefront of everyone’s attention, three more hotel companies have announced plans to keep their hotels as hygienic as possible.
Extended Stay America’s effort is called STAY Confident and it focuses on the health, safety, and comfort of the company’s guests.
“STAY Confident is our way of increasing our commitment to provide a stay that is healthy, safe and comfortable,” said Bruce Haase, ESA’s president/CEO. “With so many guests looking to Extended Stay America to meet their accommodation needs during this unprecedented period, we knew it was our responsibility to build upon our core practices and develop a program that enhanced safety, health and care for everyone.”
STAY Confident includes three focus areas: STAY Safe, STAY Healthy, and STAY Comfortable, with the goal of ensuring the overall well-being of its guests.
STAY Safe – The safety of employees and guests is the top priority for Extended Stay America. New measures are designed to set an even higher standard of hygiene for the hotels including the installation of transparent shields at the front desks of its properties; protective masks and other equipment for all staff; the temporary closure of social and communal areas such as pools and fitness centers; increasing no-touch interaction with staff; and the promotion of social distancing on-property with training for all staff.
STAY Healthy – In partnership with Procter & Gamble, and its disinfectants and cleansers such as Spic and Span, Comet, Mr. Clean and Microban, Extended Stay America is expanding its already rigorous cleaning processes and inspection program to offer enhanced protection to guests. These include extra disinfection and increased cleaning frequency in high-touch areas, as well as contactless check-out. A 10-point room cleaning covers every inch of each room from closets and windows to kitchens and floors. A member of the management team also inspects and approves each room prior to releasing it for check-in.
STAY Comfortable – All travelers are welcomed into spacious rooms and suites with fully equipped kitchens that allow for greater control over dining options while away from home, saving money in the process. Extended Stay America also recently upgraded its free Wi-Fi to be faster and more convenient for guests and offers pet-friendly suites. Guests have the ability to request delivery of additional towels or linens without having a housekeeper enter the room.
Accor Focuses on Prevention
Accor’s new well-being platform for the company’s North & Central America region, ALL Stay Well, focuses on the care and safety of guests and employees through the prevention of COVID-19.
“For more than 130 years, our loyal guests and employees at Accor properties across North & Central America have entrusted us with their care and safety. We have a longstanding tradition of setting new benchmarks for excellence in our industry and today is no different,” said Heather McCrory, CEO, Accor North & Central America. “As we navigate through this unprecedented moment in our history, we remain deeply committed to the wellbeing of our Accor family. Welcoming, safeguarding and taking care of others is at the very heart of what we do and who we are. Today, this means partnering with top experts, investing in research and insights, and rolling out new standards of safety, enhanced protocols and procedures which address our new reality—travel in a world with COVID-19.”
Phase one of the integrated program includes:
- Stringent new health and safety standards focused on 20 key touchpoints throughout the guest and employee journey
- Oversight by a team of expert advisors to ensure maximum efficacy, including: Bureau Veritas, a world leader in hygiene & cleanliness inspection; Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security and fellow with the Infectious Diseases Society of America; and Ruth Petran, senior corporate scientist, food safety and public health, for Ecolab.
- Validation under the new global ALLSAFE Cleanliness label, which confirms and commits to guests that the new standards have been met in Accor properties worldwide. All Accor hotels must apply the global and regional standards and be audited either by the Group’s operational experts or third-party auditors to achieve the new ALLSAFE label.
- Roll-out of a new comprehensive, hands-on safety and hygiene training program to ensure that all employees worldwide have the skills and education necessary to protect themselves and all who visit the group’s hotels.
- A strategic partnership with AXA, a global leader in insurance, aimed at providing medical support to guests across 5,000 Accor hotels worldwide. Accor guests will benefit from AXA’s most recent advances in telemedicine through free access to medical teleconsultations, as well as access to AXA’s extensive medical networks, with tens of thousands of licensed healthcare professionals.
First Hospitality's Sanitation Push
First Hospitality announced its commitment to ongoing enhanced sanitization across its national portfolio of hotels through its Cleanliness First Plan. Developed with Ecolab, the plan provides hotels with a comprehensive and operationally sustainable guide to maintaining a safe environment for employees and guests as COVID-19 travel restrictions ease.
“Ecolab is a leader in addressing emerging public health issues and has been a trusted partner for many years,” said David Duncan, president and CEO of First Hospitality. “We already employ Ecolab cleaning products at our hotels and naturally sought their expertise when it came time to develop our own comprehensive hygiene program.”
The Cleanliness First Plan expands on the recommendations and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and the American Hotel & Lodging Association to ensure First Hospitality hotels maintain the highest standards of hygiene. Hotels associated with brand partners, including Hilton, Hyatt Hotels Corp., IHG and Marriott International, are required to follow the protocols outlined by the brand in addition to the Cleanliness First Plan, which meets or exceeds brand guidelines.
Core components of the plan include:
- Trained hygiene specialists: The earliest step in the Cleanliness First Plan is to identify and train a hygiene specialist at each First Hospitality hotel to implement and oversee the plan after launch.
- Expert-guided cleaning protocols: The plan includes an Ecolab Cleaning and Disinfecting Guide, which identifies high-touch surfaces at hotels from public spaces to the guest rooms, kitchen, front and back of house that are to be sanitized on a regimented schedule. This extends to all associate workstations and calls for consistent break periods where all work pauses so associates can clean and disinfect their area, wash their hands, and adjust personal protective equipment as necessary.
- Strategic social distancing: First Hospitality has updated its operating procedures for guestrooms, public spaces, foodservice areas, restaurants and bars to emphasize new social-distancing guidelines. Furniture is arranged in these areas to allow for a 6-foot radius between guests enjoying the space, and capacity is temporarily reduced at or below statewide guidelines. Department schedules are also staggered to ensure social distancing is maintained in all breakrooms, locker rooms and offices.
- Continuing education: All employees are required to complete CDC- informed trainings covering cleaning procedures and other practices. The plan also includes continuing education and trainings for employees to maintain safe sanitization practices.
“We’ve been developing and implementing these new hygiene standards and trainings at First Hospitality hotels since March,” says Paul Hitselberger, the company’s COO. “Our response to COVID-19 has always been to prioritize the health and safety of our employees, guests and partners first. We’re thankful for their dedication and professionalism through this unprecedented time. They have helped refine these best practices, and we’re confident moving into this next phase.”