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 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 this pandemic. These priorities align with AHLA’s Safe Stay Guest Checklist and CDC recommendations distributed on behalf of the industry.
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 PPE (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 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, 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) of 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.
The pandemic has decimated the hotel industry as travel has slowed significantly throughout the last few months. 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 within three to six months, and 25 percent in 6-12 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.”
AHLA recently released the “Safe Stay Guest Checklist” for guests on how to travel safely while also creating a standardized safety experience nationwide, which includes several requirements such as the use of face coverings and limiting daily room cleaning. This checklist is part of AHLA’s Safe Stay guidelines, an industry-wide, enhanced set of health and safety protocols designed to provide a safe and clean environment for all hotel guests and employees.
This poll was conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of AHLA. The survey was conducted August 11-13, 2020 among a national sample of 2200 adults. Of these, 712 “frequent travelers” indicated they spent five or more nights in a hotel in 2019. The interviews were conducted online, and the data was weighted to approximate a target sample of adults based on age, educational attainment, gender, race, and region. Results among these frequent hotel guests have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.