Marriott International is rolling out a multipronged platform to elevate its cleanliness standards and hospitality norms and behaviors to meet the new health and safety challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has presented to the hotel industry.
“We are living in a new age, with COVID-19 front and center for our guests and our associates,” said Arne Sorenson, Marriott’s president/CEO. “We are grateful for the trust our guests have shown us through the years. We want our guests to understand what we are doing today and planning for in the near future in the areas of cleanliness, hygiene and social distancing so that when they walk through the doors of one of our hotels, they know our commitment to their health and safety is our priority. It’s equally important to us that our associates know the changes we are making to help safeguard their health as they serve our guests.”
Marriott has created the Marriott Global Cleanliness Council to tackle the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic at the hotel level and further advance the company’s efforts in this area. The council is focused on developing the next level of global hospitality cleanliness standards, norms and behaviors that are designed to minimize risk and enhance safety for consumers and Marriott associates alike.
The council is chaired by Ray Bennett, Marriott’s chief global officer, global operations, and will benefit from knowledge and input from both in-house and outside experts including senior leaders from across Marriott disciplines like housekeeping, engineering, food safety, occupational health and associate well-being. The council also includes advisory members Ruth L. Petran, senior corporate scientist, food safety & public health for Ecolab, a global leader in water, hygiene and infection prevention solutions and services; Michael A. Sauri, infectious disease specialist at Adventist Healthcare; Richard Ghiselli, head of the School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Purdue University; and Randy Worobo, professor of food microbiology in the Department of Food Science at Cornell University.
“Marriott has a long tradition of emphasizing cleanliness in our care of guest rooms and in the public spaces of our hotels,” said Bennett. “Through the council and scientific advice of experts, we are taking a thoughtful approach to set an even higher bar of cleanliness and develop new guest interaction protocols. The Marriott Global Cleanliness Council is focused on more than just disinfection across the hotel, we are providing a holistic approach designed to take care of our guests and associates.”
Marriott is rolling out enhanced technologies over the next few months, including electrostatic sprayers with hospital-grade disinfectant to sanitize surfaces throughout the hotel. Electrostatic spraying technology uses the highest classification of disinfectants recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization to treat known pathogens. The sprayers rapidly clean and disinfect entire areas and can be used in a hotel setting to clean and disinfect guestrooms, lobbies, gyms and other public areas. In addition, the company is testing ultraviolet light technology for sanitizing keys for guests and devices shared by associates.
Over the next few months, when guests are in hotels within the Marriott portfolio, they will notice a number of additions to its cleaning regimen. Specific areas of focus include:
- Surface areas: COVID-19 has raised awareness about the importance of high-touch surface cleanliness. In public spaces, the company has added to its already rigorous cleaning protocols, requiring that surfaces are thoroughly treated with hospital-grade disinfectants and that this cleaning is done with increased frequency. In guestrooms, the company likewise has added to its protocols, requiring that all surfaces are thoroughly cleaned with hospital-grade disinfectants. Marriott also will be placing disinfecting wipes in each room for guests’ personal use.
- Guest contact: The CDC and WHO warn about direct, person-to-person contact as the primary way COVID-19 is spread. To help alleviate the risk of transmission this way, the company will be using signage in its lobbies to remind guests to maintain social-distancing protocols and removing or re-arranging furniture to allow more space for distancing. Marriott also is evaluating adding partitions at front desks to provide an extra level of precaution for our guests and associates and is working with supply chain partners to make masks and gloves available to associates. The company is installing more hand sanitizing stations at the entrances to its hotels, near the front desk, elevator banks and fitness and meeting spaces. In addition, in more than 3,200 of Marriott’s hotels, guests can choose to use their phones to check in, access their rooms, make special requests and order roomservice that will be specially packaged and delivered right to the door without contact.
- Food safety: Marriott’s food-safety program includes enhanced sanitation guidelines and training videos for all operational associates that includes hygiene and disinfecting practices. At Marriott, all food handlers and supervisors are trained on safe food preparation and service practices. Marriott’s food-and-beverage operations are required to conduct self-inspection using the company’s food-safety standards as guidelines, and compliance is validated by independent audits. In addition, the company is modifying its operational practices for in-room dining and designing new approaches to buffets.
“Safety for our guests and associates has always been a top priority for Marriott and today that discussion of safety is in the context of COVID-19,” Bennett said. “We want our guests to know that we are doing everything we can to welcome them back to a safe and clean hotel environment when they start traveling again.”
At the end of last week, Accor announced that it was joining forces with Bureau Veritas, a provider of testing, inspection and certification, to develop a label designed to certify that the appropriate safety standards and cleaning protocols have been achieved to allow businesses to reopen.
"Welcoming, protecting and taking care of others is the very DNA of Accor and at the heart of what we do. Today, more than ever, our employees, customers and partners need to be reassured of our ability to offering them the best welcome possible,” according to Franck Gervais, CEO Europe Accor. “As the European leader in hospitality, it is our duty to anticipate needs and respond to health and safety requirements by adhering to the highest standards. We are pleased to be pioneering this drive with Bureau Veritas and to extend it to all stakeholders.”
The label will cover both accommodation and catering and will set the sanitary standards applicable to all the group’s hotels as well as to other chains and independent hotels. The project was carried out in partnership with doctors and epidemiologists and has been developed in collaboration with Accor owners and trade associations.
The project will be shared within Alliance France Tourisme as well as with the relevant ministries (French Ministries of Tourism, Health and Labor) so that they are actively involved in and validate the recommended standards. Concrete proposals will be submitted, in France and subsequently in Europe, to the various governments, relevant ministries and committees for the easing of lockdown measures.
The effort will result in an operational guide made available to all stakeholders in the hospitality industry, enabling them to apply the health and safety recommendation of authorities, including the World Health Organization, both in guest services spaces and in back-office and catering spaces. European customers will be able to check on a dedicated Bureau Veritas website before they book their next stay whether any hotel or restaurant has been certified by Bureau Veritas.