A new national survey commissioned by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) conducted by Morning Consult shows that a number of improvements to health and sanitation protocol at U.S. hotels would have considerable impact on guests' comfort levels staying there, with the top three including face coverings for employees (87 percent) and guests (85 percent), suspending daily housekeeping of rooms (86 percent), and utilizing technology to reduce direct contact (85 percent).
These priorities align with AHLA’s “Safe Stay Guest Checklist” and Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention recommendations distributed on behalf of the industry. These include requiring face coverings, practicing social distancing, offering contactless options (at check-in and for payments, for example), daily room cleaning only if necessary and more.
Other popular measures to increase a guest’s comfort level, as discovered by the survey, 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 ten (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 AHLA’s Safe Stay initiative.
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, 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 ten (88 percent) 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 the same 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.
The outlook for hotels, however, is not extremely positive. The pandemic has decimated the hotel industry and the fall looks to be equally as challenging, with only one-third of frequent travelers (33 percent) expecting their next hotel stay to be within the next three months; 18 percent expect their next hotel stay to be within three to six months and 25 percent in six to 12 months.
This poll was conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of AHLA. The survey was conducted August 11-13, 2020 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.