Hotel bosses have called for a united approach to hygiene standards on a webinar today that included the chief executives of InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), Radisson Hotel Group and BWH Hotel Group.
Speaking on a panel session as part of the In Sync virtual event, president and chief executive of Radisson Hotel Group Federico J González said the whole sector should have a common reference point for hygiene standards.
He said: "Giving the consumer a common reference is one of the things that if the industry fails at doing it, we will pay for it. Stars mean nothing to today's consumers because every different region has classified this in a different way… [they need] a reference they truly understand."
InterContinental Hotels Group's (IHG) Keith Barr said that while customers "inherently have a trust in the big brands", even global brands will "have to do more" and emphasised the importance of visual cues such as social distancing markers.
David Kong of BWH Hotel Group agreed that cleanliness will become "the most important element of why someone would pick a hotel".
He added that, while some cleaning costs will be offset as rooms will not necessarily be serviced every day during a guest's stay as guests are likely to want more privacy, this is unlikely to offset the cost of taking 50%-100% longer to thoroughly clean a room between stays and for equipment such as electrostatic sprayers.
Barr suggested that the cost of such cleaning equipment could be brought down for hotels if the industry banded together on procurement, adding that guests need to feel safe across the whole customer journey.
He said: "If they don't think the airplane is safe to come on, they won't go to the hotel… We have to work together to make the travel journey safe".