To increase traveller’s confidence during COVID-19, hotels are introducing rigorous new cleaning measures, including some techniques that are straight out of CSI.
The most recent came from Primus Hotel in Sydney. Beyond the usual installation of hand sanitiser stations in communal areas and “we’re wiping down the door handles / remote control / kettle thoroughly,” they will be using an ultraviolet backlight test to ensure a deep clean.
They will also be introducing an “antibacterial cold fogging” procedure to disinfect each room, which should eliminate 99.9 per cent of bacteria.
Ultraviolet light technology will also be rolled out globally by Marriott International, along with electrostatic spray guns firing hospital-grade disinfectant.
“Electrostatic spraying technology uses the highest classification of disinfectants recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organisation (WHO) to treat known pathogens,” a statement from Marriott said.
The InterContinental Hotels Group will also be restructuring how their reception works.
This will include reduced contact at check-in, touchless transactions, front-desk screens, sanitiser stations, sanitised key cards and paperless checkout.
Hilton Hotels will introduce a “room seal” on doors to ensure guests their rooms have not been accessed since being cleaned. The hotel chain will also implement extra disinfection of the most frequently touched guest room areas; provide guests with disinfecting stations at primary entrances and key high- traffic areas and roll out contactless check-in, among other prevention measures.
Meanwhile, Airbnb has announced the launch of an “enhanced cleaning initiative”that includes a new certification program allowing hosts to advertise themselves as having adopted a set of stricter cleaning standards in response to the COVID-19 health crisis.
The cleaning standards, referred to as the “Cleaning Protocol” by Airbnb, instruct hosts on how to clean every room in a home. Hosts who enrol for certification will be required to adopt a number of health and safety measures, such as wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) when cleaning between guests, and only using disinfectants approved by “regulatory authorities.”
Hosts will also be required to leave a 24-hour waiting period between bookings “as a precaution to address the possibility of particles that may remain airborne for a few hours.”
Those who do not enrol in the Cleaning Protocol certification program, or for some reason can’t, can instead adopt a feature called “Booking Buffer,” which would automatically block reservations for 72 hours between guests.
Many hi-tech measures are being introduced in countries that have been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus.
In Tokyo, cleaning robots with the latest in artificial intelligence have been deployed to clean several hotels, along with “greeting robots” that facilitate the check-in process.
In Spain, Alicante has launched “coronavirus-free seals” for hotels that comply with a series of protocols and security measures. These include a ban on hugs, handshakes or kisses for clients, protective gear for housekeeping staff and voice-operated lifts.