The 2012 General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology presented a 2012 study on hotel cleanliness. The study commented: “as the public becomes increasingly concerned with public health, hotel room cleanliness and sanitation are becoming consideration factors for consumers when selecting a hotel room.”
That statement was accurate and relevant almost a decade ago. However, it is a hundred times more applicable now in the COVID-19 era.
One of the hotel cleanliness study findings was that housekeepers only spend an average of 30 minutes cleaning each room. Not surprisingly, in those cases covered by the study, the rooms may have looked clean. However, in reality, they were far from being acceptably sanitized.
Another recent study on the travel logistics website travelmath found that hotel rooms are dirtier than airplanes or schools.
For many vacationers, the idea of a relaxing break includes a nice soak in the tub, sipping a glass of wine. However, others may have heard of studies on hotel cleanliness. As a result, those guests might prefer not to bathe in a hotel tub at all.
Safe Step is the leading hospitality commercial bathtub refinishing company and will keep your bathtub looking fresh and new. Contact Safe Step for your quote on any hotel and resort refinishing project.
In this article, we will discuss the general question, how important is hotel cleanliness? And the specific question, are hotel bathtubs clean? You can pick up some pointers about addressing customers’ legitimate hygiene concerns, particularly in connection with COVID-19.
So let’s address that question, how important is hotel cleanliness? As a hotel owner, how can you show that cleanliness is important to you?
How Important is Hotel Cleanliness?
At the outset of the article, we mentioned that cleanliness concerns have always been an important consideration for hotel guests. Notably, most negative reviews of hotels center on a room’s lack of cleanliness.
However, a recent survey by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) shows that it’s now an even greater priority for travelers. This is no surprise, given the current anxiety-ridden pandemic climate.
Travelers were given nine options and asked to pick their top priority. Naturally, cleanliness was the absolute top priority in choosing their next hotel stay. The national survey was conducted from August 11th to the 13th, 2020, from a sample of 2,200 frequent travelers.
Hoteliers are tasked with conveying confidence that it is safe to stay at their hotel. Guests may want to travel but need to feel safe to do so.
The survey lists improvements to health and sanitation protocol at U.S. hotels to encourage potential guests to return. The most popular desired improvements include:
- Face coverings for employees and guests
- Suspension of daily housekeeping of rooms
- Using technology to reduce direct contact
Hoteliers can look to AHLA’s “Safe Stay Guest Checklist” and Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention recommendations. These guidelines already advise that the following procedures be implemented:
- Face coverings
- Social distancing
- Offering contactless options (at check-in and for payments)
- Daily room cleaning only if needed
Other measures that would decrease your guests’ anxiety, according to the survey, are:
- Adding transparent barriers at front desks etc.
- Signs encouraging hand washing
- Temporarily closing certain amenities
- Floor markings to encourage social distancing
Travelers were asked if they would feel comfortable staying in a hotel that implemented the AHLA’s Safe Stay initiatives. Eight out of ten travelers said that they would feel comfortable in those circumstances.
From the survey, it is quite clear that cleanliness is a top priority concern for today’s travelers. So then the question arises, how clean are hotel bathtubs? (Spoiler: not very).
Are Hotel Bathtubs Clean?
We have seen that generally speaking, the standard of cleanliness in a hotel room is not particularly high. Therefore, there certainly doesn’t seem to be much hope for hotel bathrooms or hotel bathtubs in particular.
Having said that, hotel bathtubs aren’t thought to be high transmitters of illnesses. A microbe in a hotel bathtub is far less likely to make you sick than from shaking someone’s hand.
Others would side with microbiologist Philip M. Tierno. He says that there is “a nearly undetectable layer of bacteria that sticks to tubs and other surfaces.” Cleaning staff can only remove that layer with difficulty and meticulous cleaning.
How is that possible? That same 2012 study found that hotel housekeepers’ cleaning supplies contained a very high number of germs. Clearly, hotel rooms may not be as meticulously cleaned as we thought.
According to Travel + Leisure Family magazine, whirlpool tubs are definitely to be avoided. Senior Consulting Editor Orwell says, “never, ever, ever use the whirlpool function in a hotel.”
“In one study, 100 percent of water samples taken from whirlpool tubs tested positive for agents that can cause rashes, urinary tract infections, or pneumonia,” Travel + Leisure writes. “The pipes of the whirlpool, rather than the tub itself, are where the germs hide.”
COVID-19 remains a threat and a concern for your guests. As a hotel owner, it is obvious that you must do all you can to prioritize hotel cleanliness. For example, you certainly cannot afford to have a bathtub that looks anything but shiny and clean-looking.
Having your hotel bathtub professionally refinished or resurfaced can transform a tub that looks dirty despite thorough cleaning. It is not necessary to replace the tub to have a bathtub that looks brand new.
A professional reglaze of your tub is low cost and low stress and will last several years. This period can be even longer with proper cleaning, care, and maintenance. The result is spectacular and will go a long way toward easing your guests’ fears about hygiene and cleanliness.
While your cleaning staff may be adhering to higher standards, appearances matter to your guests. Therefore, tubs must look clean and fresh to put your guests’ minds at ease. Safe Step is the leading hospitality commercial bathtub refinishing company and will keep your bathtub looking fresh and new.
Contact Safe Step for your quote on any hotel and resort refinishing project.