AHLA releases top 5 requirements to travel safely

The American Hotel & Lodging Association has released its “Safe Stay Guest Checklist” for guests on how to travel safely while also creating a standardized safety experience nationwide. 

The checklist is part of the AHLA’s Safe Stay guidelines, an industrywide, enhanced set of health and safety protocols designed to provide a safe and clean environment for all hotel guests and employees. 

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The Safe Stay Guest Checklist covers these guidelines:

1. Require face coverings in all indoor public spaces and practice social distancing in all common areas.

2. Choose contactless options, where available, including online reservations, check-ins and payments.

3. Consider daily room cleaning only if necessary. Ask the hotel about your options.

4. Request contactless roomservice delivery.

5. Refrain from traveling for those who have, or recently had, any symptoms of COVID-19 or contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19.

Many of these requirements have already been implemented by individual properties and brands. For example, Hard Rock Hotels launched the Safe + Sound health and safety plan that includes mask mandates earlier this month. All MGM Resorts employees are required to wear an approved mask when on properties, and the company also strongly will encourage guests to wear masks in public areas and offer masks to any guests who need one, free of charge. 

Meanwhile, several tech companies are launching new options for contactless dining, including Maestro PMS and SilverWare POS' In-Seat Contactless Platform and Virgin Hotels updating its mobile app Lucy with more contactless features that guests can use from their own smartphones. 

Insiders Sound Off

“The top priority for the hotel industry is the health and safety of guests and employees. Utilizing these best practices, including requiring face coverings and practicing social distancing in public spaces, will create an even safer environment for all our guests and employees,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of the AHLA. “As an industry, we want every guest to experience a clean and safe hotel no matter where they stay. We applaud governors who have standardized the use of face coverings in all indoor public spaces and we urge all lawmakers to help make this a national standard by implementing this requirement in their states. These preventative measures make it safer and easier for Americans to travel while also supporting hotel and tourism employees.”

Several hotel company leaders also weighed in on the list.

“One of the easiest ways to help slow the transmission of COVID-19 is by wearing a face covering, especially indoors,” said Jim Alderman, CEO, Americas, Radisson Hotel Group. “It’s going to take all of us working together, which is why we stand alongside AHLA in asking our government leaders to help make this national standard by implementing this requirement in their states.”

“Hilton is united with the hospitality industry in prioritizing the health and safety of our guests and employees,” said Chris Nassetta, president and CEO, Hilton. “We are supportive of the industry adopting consistent guidelines and practices that adhere to public health guidelines, including the wearing of face coverings indoors and in public areas. As part of our Hilton CleanStay program developed in partnership with Lysol and the Mayo Clinic, all Hilton team members are required to wear face coverings in an effort to protect all who enter our more than 6,100 properties worldwide.” 

Hyatt also requires face coverings for guests  across the U.S. and Canada, said Mark Hoplamazian, the company's president & CEO. “To help enable safe travel amidst the ongoing challenges of COVID-19, we need to come together as an industry and promote clear guidelines, which for the foreseeable future include the wearing of face coverings in indoor public spaces and practicing social distancing,” he said. 

“It is critical we take action to protect the health and safety of guests and colleagues to build confidence in travel as the industry begins to recover,” said Elie Maalouf, CEO, Americas, IHG. “IHG fully supports the AHLA Safe Stay program, which complements the protocols in our own IHG Way of Clean, and the new Covid-19 best practices implemented in all of our hotels in partnership with the Cleveland Clinic. Requiring face coverings in all indoor public spaces across our industry will help create an even safer environment for all travelers and frontline hotel colleagues.”

The travel and tourism industry is rooted in partnerships, said Jonathan Tisch, chairman & CEO, Loews Hotels & Co. “As an industry we need to work and align together and AHLA’s Safe Stay Guidelines is an opportunity to do just that," he said. "As hotel operators and owners, we have a role and responsibility to provide a welcoming, safe and comfortable environment for team members, guests and our communities, and now more than ever we need to ensure we are exceeding expectations in this area.”

Arne Sorenson, CEO, Marriott International, said that part of the company's Commitment to Clean initiative is redefining our cleaning and safety standards to align with evolving expert protocols.” “Health guidance is clear on wearing masks and it is a simple step everyone can take when in public spaces of hotels to protect themselves, each other and associates," he said. “We’re pleased to join with the industry to create consistency and collectively support our communities so we all can travel more safely.”