Just like many other industries that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, today’s hospitality industry is different from the pre-pandemic experience. While more hotels are leaning into digital check-in to make the process contactless for guests, that doesn’t mean that travelers are not taking the time to notice hotel lobbies when they arrive and when they leave at the end of their trips.
The cleanliness of your property’s lobby is the first opportunity your brand has to communicate its commitment to guest health and safety. From the carpet to the concierge desk to the nearby restrooms and elevators, everything needs to appear spotless. At the same time, hotels are dealing with challenges they’ve never experienced before. Read on to discover best practices for maintaining cleanliness in key areas like lobbies.
Cleaning Priorities Change due to COVID-19
As a result of the pandemic, many hotels have moved away from daily housekeeping in favor of on-demand plans that address guests’ needs as they arise. This shift has occurred because of several factors. First and foremost, it is meant to uphold health and safety and reduce exposure between guests and housekeeping staff. Additionally, many properties are facing staffing challenges and unfortunately do not have the bandwidth to clean every guest room every day, especially when there are many other cleanliness responsibilities to oversee.
Before the arrival of COVID-19, housekeeping used to take place behind the scenes so as not to disturb guests and maintain an air of magic. Now, guests expect to see these tasks carried out in their presence. Cleanliness in shared spaces like fitness centers, restaurants and lobbies is just as important as cleanliness in guest rooms.
The Lasting Impact of Cleanliness
Prioritizing cleanliness has many benefits. The J.D. Power 2020 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index (NAGSI) Study found that meeting guest expectations for cleanliness has a major influence on their satisfaction. Cleanliness can also affect guests’ actions during their stays. A 2020 survey by The Harris Poll found that 39% of Americans say the level of cleanliness in a hotel they visit would impact how much time they spend in the hotel, and nearly a third (32%) confirm it would impact how much money they spend in the hotel.
Not only does cleanliness help keep guests happy during their stay, but it can also bolster guest satisfaction in hotels over the long term. More than half of Americans (53%) say the hotel’s cleanliness would impact their intent to book a future stay at the property while 40% say it’s a factor in their desire to recommend the hotel to friends, family or colleagues. Thus your property can impact the perceptions of an entire social circle just based on one guest’s experience. Delivering cleanliness is a must.
Ideas to Enhance Hotel Guest Experience
Consider the following strategies for showing guests that your property takes cleanliness seriously:
- Prevent soils from checking in. Many hotels rely on carpet to create an inviting and personalized aesthetic. Carpet in entry areas can quickly become dirtied by soils tracked in on shoes and luggage wheels and trollies. For these reasons, entrance matting can be a huge help for hotels. This is because it keeps soils from making their way onto floors. In turn, this upholds cleanliness and saves housekeeping staff time when they have a long list of other tasks to complete.
- Clean quickly without compromising results. Another method for keeping carpet looking consistently clean is to implement a low-moisture encapsulation system that uses machines and chemistry to effectively remove soils and stains. These machines are as easy to operate as vacuums and chemistry is formulated to address different types of stains like salt, vomit and red wine. Better yet, a low-moisture approach means that carpet is only wet for about 20-30 minutes as opposed to hours, thereby reducing disruption in busy areas like lobbies.
- Solicit support from concierge and front-desk employees. With most hotels short staffed, it is important for employees who work in lobbies to understand how to perform essential cleaning duties. Employees should regularly wipe down counters and be comfortable using handheld carpet spotting tools to quickly address spills that may have settled into carpet.
- Collect feedback from guests. Your property can demonstrate it is dedicated to continual improvement by seeking insights from guests on cleanliness. Automate the feedback process by building it into your digital check-out process or follow up via email several days after guests leave. Alternatively, you can include an incentive for guests to leave feedback during their stay, like a discount on a beverage in your lobby bar or café.
Letting your Lobby Speak for Itself
As a hotel owner or manager, you understand that first impressions are everything. Guests’ expectations regarding cleanliness, sustainability and service are higher than ever. Because travelers make their own observations that then inform their perceptions of a hotel or even a brand as a whole, it is important that they are greeted with cleanliness upon entering your property. Your lobby should be an inviting and spotless place to welcome guests and send them off once their trips are complete. As carpet is often installed in these entrance areas, it is necessary to have a carpet care strategy in place to ensure it always looks its best.