AHLA: Guests want safer hotels

Housekeeping Cleaning
A new survey from the American Hotel & Lodging Association found that guests prefer housekeeping by request only. Photo credit: iStock / Getty Images Plus / electravk

According to a new national survey commissioned by the American Hotel & Lodging Association, a number of improvements to health and sanitation protocols at U.S. hotels would have considerable impact on guests' comfort levels while staying there. 

Face coverings for employees (87 percent, or a lot/some impact) and guests (85 percent), suspending daily housekeeping of rooms (86 percent) and utilizing technology to reduce direct contact (85 percent) are the top priorities among frequent travelers to staying in hotels during the pandemic. 

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These priorities align with AHLA’s Safe Stay Guest Checklist and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations distributed on behalf of the industry. 


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Other popular measures to increase a guest’s comfort level include adding transparent barriers at front desks, concierge or valet stations (82 percent); signage for washing hands, distancing and personal protective equipment (80 percent); temporarily closing amenities (77 percent); and floor markings to promote social distancing (77 percent). The overwhelming majority of respondents indicate that these protocols would impact their comfort level, with eight out of 10 (81 percent) frequent travelers responding that they feel comfortable staying in a hotel that has implemented the enhanced cleaning and safety protocols called for in the Safe Stay initiative.

Key Findings

Among the key findings of travelers staying in hotels five or more nights per year:

Cleanliness Is the top priority: Out of a list of nine options, frequent travelers most often chose cleanliness as the most important factor when determining their next hotel stay, and 81 percent of travelers are more comfortable staying at hotels now with enhanced protocols and standards implemented. 

Guests prefer housekeeping by request only: Nearly nine out of 10 (88 percent) frequent travelers say that limiting in-room housekeeping to “by request only” would increase their comfort level. Nearly three in five (58 percent) guests do not want daily housekeeping; and 58 percent would not be comfortable with housekeeping staff entering their room without advance permission.

The use of face coverings is a priority: The majority of guests (62 percent) are a lot more comfortable if hotels require face coverings and 66 percent of guests are a lot more comfortable if hotels require employees to wear face coverings and gloves.

Notably, only a third of frequent travelers (33 percent) expect their next hotel stay to be within the next three months, 18 percent within three to six months, and 25 percent in six to 12 months.

“The hotel industry united to enhance our already rigorous cleaning protocols for the health and safety of our guests, and it’s working,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association. “It’s more important than ever that guests follow our Safe Stay Guest Checklist so they understand what is expected of them no matter where they stay. Travelers across the country looking to include a hotel stay in their upcoming vacation plans know that with the implementation of Safe Stay, hotels will be safer and cleaner than ever before.”

The survey was conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of AHLA from August 11 to 13 among a national sample of 2,200 adults. Of these, 712 “frequent travelers” indicated they spent five or more nights in a hotel in 2019.