Cleanliness of guest bedrooms and bathrooms is critical
Hotels and leisure facilities rightly recognise that regular cleaning helps to create a great guest experience by maintaining and enhancing room appearance. But they might not realise the impact on their business goes much further and even continues after the guests have left. The significance on new business, repeat bookings, reputation and ratings has been revealed by research published earlier this year by Hotel School The Hague in conjunction with Sealed Air's Diversey business.
The survey, conducted by interview with almost 700 recent hotel guests in five major European countries, including the UK, reveals that cleanliness is the most important factor affecting guests' recommendations and ratings and that just a few critical areas have the biggest impact. The research also shows that most people now make decisions on where to stay using online rating sites and leave bad online reviews or tell their friends if they encounter poor conditions. This could be bad news for operators who neglect or under perform on their room care.
Most people in the hospitality industry understand that first impressions still count for a lot. During the research 29% of guests said that bedroom cleanliness was the most important factor when forming an opinion and a further 18% said it was the bathroom. Not surprisingly these are the areas that guests cannot avoid during their stay so it follows that keeping them clean, fresh and hygienic will have the biggest effect on customer perceptions.
This would be interesting enough but further analysis reveals what guests always expect to be right. In bedrooms the three most important factors were clean linen, no evidence of previous guests and absence of bad smells or odours. In bathrooms, over three quarters said cleanliness of the toilet seat and pan was a factor and almost half said it was the most important. These are all basic tasks and none of them is difficult to achieve with the right cleaning products, effective processes and well-trained staff. Concentrating on just these tasks alone could have a far great impact on a business than any other part of its operation.
Hotel and leisure operators now need to be concerned more than ever about what guests do after their stay. Personal recommendations have always been important, and still are, but the massive growth in online booking and review sites in the past couple of years means that guests can now share their experiences with many more people, and much more quickly, than ever before. The survey hints at some of the far-reaching implications that this could have on the hospitality industry.
Almost 70% of those questioned said cleanliness and hygiene was the most important factor when making recommendations to friends and colleagues. Two thirds had stayed in a hotel that was not clean although for the majority this had not happened often. Of these, 82% had told family and friends about their experience, 75% were put off returning and 72% recommended family and friends should not stay there.
If guests are willing to tell friends and family about their experiences they are also keen to hear what others have to say when planning a trip. The majority said they used online review sites or recommendations from friends and colleagues when choosing where to stay. In total, 46% said review sites were the most important source of information and a further 28% cited personal recommendations as the biggest influence.
The significance for hotels and other leisure facilities is clear. Neglect cleanliness and hygiene at the very real risk of receiving a bad review and low rating. Given that many visitors to online sites are more likely to book with hotels and restaurants with higher ratings, and particularly those appearing on the first page, the business impact should be evident.
One potentially surprising aspect of the research is that a poor online rating or review may be the first that a hotel hears about a problem. Around one third of guests who experience poor cleanliness never complain and broadly half only complain occasionally, according to the research. Fewer than one in ten claimed to complain consistently whenever they found a problem. This is because many are reluctant to cause a fuss or unable to find someone from housekeeping. Hotels that focus on the key areas in the bedroom and bathroom will reduce the risk of guests finding reasons to complain.
The full research provides a complete view of the importance hotel guests place on hygiene, from the building exterior to the cleanliness of the glass in the bathroom. It has enabled Hotel School The Hague and Sealed Air's Diversey business to make evidence-based recommendations which help hotels to increase guest satisfaction, retention and ratings. The objective is enhanced reputation and a loyal customer base.
The results echo those of research into restaurant appearance conducted by Sealed Air's Diversey business a few years ago. This showed that 37% of people who enter a dirty restaurant leave immediately and a further 23% order but leave before completing their meal. Almost two thirds said they would never go back.
This latest research reaffirms the connection between cleanliness, hygiene and customer behaviour and shows that focusing on just a few key areas has major implications for guest recommendations. With products such as our Room Care range, Diversey offers everything housekeepers need to introduce simpler, superior and sustainable cleaning that makes a real difference.
Further information on 0800 525525 or at www.diversey.com
This press release was supplied by DiverseyCatererandhotelkeeper.com supplier profile - Diversey