It may seem hard to imagine a time when life returns to normal, to a time when you’ll get on an airplane, take a vacation and check into a beautiful hotel. But businesses around the world are already preparing for just that time and the new way of life that’s going to come with it. Yesterday, Marriott International announced its plans to heighten cleanliness standards and modify their overall approach to hospitality to reflect the changing times and to meet the new challenges that the coronavirus has presented.

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As part of their multi-pronged approach to addressing the current global COVID-19 pandemic, Marriott has established the Marriott Global Cleanliness Council to develop a plan for the future of the hotel’s business, from cleaning to guest relations, with a focus on minimizing risk to guests and staff alike and to create a safe and clean environment for all.

“Marriott has a long tradition of emphasizing cleanliness in our care of guest rooms and in the public spaces of our hotels,” says Ray Bennett, Chief Global Officer, Global Operations, Marriott International and who is chairing the Council. “Through the council and scientific advice of experts, we are taking a thoughtful approach to set an even higher bar of cleanliness and develop new guest interaction protocols. The Marriott Global Cleanliness Council is focused on more than just disinfection across the hotel, we are providing a holistic approach designed to take care of our guests and associates.”

The changes to come utilize advanced technologies. For instance, electrostatic sprayers with hospital-grade disinfectants will be used to sanitize surfaces throughout the hotel. This technology uses the highest class of disinfectant recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The sprayers will be used to target large areas like guest rooms, lobbies and gyms, and ultraviolet light technology is being tested to sanitize room keys for guests and other devices shared by hotel employees.

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Other changes, which will be rolled out over the next few months in hotels across the Marriott portfolio include:

Increased cleanliness of high-touch surfaces
High-touch surfaces in public spaces will be thoroughly cleaned with hospital-grade disinfectants and will be cleaned more frequently. The same will apply to all surfaces in guest rooms and disinfecting wipes will be available in all rooms for guests’ personal use.

Minimizing direct contact
To minimize the risk of coronavirus or any virus spreading, Marriott’s hotel lobbies will now feature signage reminding guest to maintain social distancing protocols and in some cases, lobby furniture will be removed or rearranged to help facilitate social distancing. Front desk partitions, hand sanitizing stations and masks and gloves for associates as needed are some of the other changes you can expect to see. And at 3,200 Marriott properties, you can check-in, access your room and make special requests all from your phone, for a contact-free experience.

Safe food preparation and service training
When it comes to food safety, all Marriott’s staff will have to follow enhanced sanitation guidelines and there will be modifications made to in-room dining procedures and buffets. You can also order room service (which will be specially packaged) completely contact-free.

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There’s no doubt that there are uncertain times ahead but when you’re ready to travel again, it’s comforting to know that important precautions are being taken at Marriott hotels around the world and I’m sure many other hotels will follow their lead.

Natalie DiScala
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