Tell us about your organisation
Hilton is a leading global hospitality company with a portfolio of 18 brands comprising more than 6,200 properties with more than 983,000 rooms, in 118 countries and territories. Dedicated to fulfilling its mission to be the world’s most hospitable company, Hilton has welcomed more than 3 billion guests in its 100-year history, earned a top spot on the 2019 World’s Best Workplaces list, and was named the 2019 Global Industry Leader on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices.
What challenges were you trying to address?
The hospitality industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. With travel restrictions in place across the world, hotels in many countries temporarily suspended operations or reduced their services. We knew that although our guests would be eager to travel again when it was possible to do so, their expectations would be very different to before the pandemic.
Cleanliness and hygiene are now without a doubt amongst the most important factors in decision-making for travellers. Our research showed that three of the top four actions a hotel can take to make guests currently feel safe relate to additional cleaning measures. Governments across the world also introduced varying standards and safety measures which must be adhered to, so making some changes to our operations was necessary in order to comply with local regulations around the world.
We knew that providing visual reassurance to our guests that it is safe to travel and stay in our hotels would be crucial. We also knew that people would be most likely to choose brands that they trust, so ensuring a consistent experience across all our hotels would also be vital to delivering on our guests’ expectations.
What goals or outcomes did Hilton want to achieve?
- The health and wellbeing of our guests and team members remains our top priority – and we launched Hilton CleanStay to ensure our hotels remain a safe environment for all
- Hilton CleanStay builds upon the already high standards of housekeeping and hygiene at Hilton properties worldwide and a focus on cleanliness is visible to guests throughout their entire stay experience – guest rooms, restaurants, fitness rooms and other public spaces.
The health and wellbeing of our teams and guests always comes first – and introducing Hilton CleanStay has been crucial to ensuring that. The programme helps our guests feel confident about travelling, because they know that every Hilton property globally has implemented the same set of stringent measures. Likewise, our team members feel comfortable about being at work because they know that the programme is as much about protecting them as about protecting our guests.— John Rogers, Senior Vice President, Brands and Central Operations, EMEA, Hilton
What was your solution?
To reassure travellers and help them to feel more confident about travelling again, we launched Hilton CleanStay, our new programme to deliver an industry-leading standard of cleanliness and disinfection at all our hotels globally. CleanStay is Hilton’s new industry-defining standard of cleanliness and disinfection in properties around the world. Our elevated processes and team member training have been developed with RB, maker of Lysol and Dettol, to help guests enjoy an even cleaner and safer stay from check-in to check-out. As the hospitality industry evolves to address travellers’ changing expectations – especially in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic – Hilton CleanStay is the latest evolution of our commitment to providing the peace of mind and confidence our guests need to travel freely, while protecting our team members.
The programme includes a number of different elements, all designed to ensure greater levels of hygiene and cleanliness throughout every step of the guest journey, including:
- Online: Even before they travel, guests will find a new landing page on our website, which will detail what they can expect during their stay. In addition, property websites will be updated to indicate that the new cleaning protocols and procedures have been implemented
- The Lobby: Guests can check-in, choose their room, unlock their door with a Digital Key and check-out using their mobile devices through the free Hilton Honors mobile app. This option is available at more than 4,700 participating Hilton properties worldwide for guests who book direct via the Honors app or online. For guests who prefer a traditional check-in, social distancing measures will be in place directing guests on how to move through the in-person check-in and check-out process in a safe way
- The Guest Room: A Hilton CleanStay room seal is placed on the door upon being thoroughly cleaned. The room will have extra disinfection of the most frequently touched guests room areas – light switches, door handles, TV remotes, thermostats and more
- Housekeeping Service: Guest rooms will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between guests. Housekeeping service during a guest stay will be based upon guest preference, recognising that some guests may not want staff entering their room. Additional amenities such as linens and toiletries will be available upon request, delivered in protective packaging and placed at the guest room door
- The Public Spaces: There will be increased frequency of cleaning public areas. For instance, fitness centres may be closed for cleaning multiple times daily. Equipment will be properly adjusted and placed to enable physical distancing, and the number of guests in the centre may be limited. Pool and pool areas will be cleaned frequently throughout the day, and physical distancing measures will be in place. Stations with hand sanitiser and disinfecting wipes will be available throughout the property at primary entrances and in key high traffic areas
- Food and Beverage: In hotel restaurants, tables and chairs will be spaced to ensure proper social distancing. Biodegradable, disposable dishes/utensils will be available upon request. During breakfast, restaurants will offer a range of options including grab & go, pre-plated covered items, à la carte and assisted service. When ordering room service where it is provided, guests will experience contactless delivery, with orders placed outside their guestroom door
- Meetings & Events: Hilton EventReady with CleanStay sets a new standard for meetings and events at Hilton. This programme delivers cleanliness, flexibility, safe and socially responsible solutions, along with creative food and beverage, the latest technology and sustainable practices. With a dedicated focus on health and wellness, the event experience from planning to execution is backed by Hilton’s world-class hospitality with responsive service from dedicated team members.
How did you roll out your approach?
Given the rapidly changing situation since the pandemic first emerged, we moved to develop and launch a solution as quickly as possible. We first launched the programme in mid-June, and it was rolled out in all our hotels by mid-July.
We partnered with RB to develop new processes and training for our hotels. Knowing that cleanliness and hygiene are a top priority for travellers, the programme was launched globally and rolled out to all hotels across the world within a matter of weeks. We introduced a series of new brand standards to ensure guests are reassured that they will receive a consistent experience across all our hotels globally. We are providing team members with equipment, enhanced training on both overall health and wellness for themselves and new operational standards for cleaning guest areas, all designed to protect their well-being while continuing to deliver unmatched Hilton hospitality.
What have the results been?
Feedback from guests about the experience has been very positive – with many guests telling us that Hilton CleanStay has made them feel more confident about travelling.
The room was spotlessly clean, and the adaptation measures taken to both demonstrate this and keep it that way were a real reassurance (the ‘hygiene seal’ sticker on the door is a particularly good idea). All public areas were likewise clean, and whenever I needed to interact with the staff, they were hugely helpful. As this was the first time my wife and I had stayed outside of our home since lockdown, their efforts to reassure us that we were completely safe were hugely appreciated, and it contributed to a very relaxing stay. A genuine 10/10 to them all, and I’d certainly recommend anyone stay with them/Hilton off the back of my experience.— Hampton by Hilton Glasgow Central
What advice would you give to other businesses looking to do something similar?
Closely monitor customer sentiment to ensure you have a clear idea of how your customers feel at the moment and how you can help to reassure them. Additionally, develop a global programme that provides consistency across your portfolio to ensure the guest experience is the same everywhere.