Earlier this week, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) introduced new health and safety protocols in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dubbed ‘Safe Stay’, this industry-wide initiative is designed to prepare the country’s hotels for the potential flood of guests and employees once the sector gets back into gear.

The premise behind Safe Stay and its accompanying guidelines is admirable, and, if followed, should ensure the health and safety of hotel guests and employees becomes a top priority for all operators.

Where did Safe Stay come from?

Safe Stay was developed with guidance from an Advisory Council that comprises leaders from the hotel industry. They worked closely with public health experts to develop a set of practices that enable hotels to protect people against the coronavirus.

For an industry that’s already focused intently on cleanliness, Safe Stay aims to drive higher levels of transparency, thanks to recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

“Safe Stay was developed specifically to ensure enhanced safety for hotels guests and employees. While hotels have always employed demanding cleaning standards, this new initiative will ensure greater transparency and confidence throughout the entire hotel experience,” explains Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA. “The industry’s enhanced hotel cleaning practices, social interactions, and workplace protocols will continue to evolve to meet the new health and safety challenges and expectations presented by COVID-19.”

What do the new guidelines include?

The Safe Stay guidelines are likely to change over time and will be largely dependent on advice given by the CDC and other public health authorities.

The current guidance focuses on:

  • employee and guest health;
  • the responsibilities of hotel employees;
  • social distancing; and
  • recommendations for cleaning products and protocols.

Those behind the new initiative are conscious that the hotel industry has long maintained high standards for cleaning and health and safety. These guidelines are therefore intended to strengthen best practices, rather than replace them entirely.

More importantly, with guest expectation for cleanliness and COVID-19 measures likely to increase after the lockdown restrictions are released, Safe Stay’s guidance will become a key focus for hoteliers across the United States.

We’re all in this together

The hotel industry was arguably one of the first sectors to be hit most significantly by COVID-19, but the launch of Safe Stay is another indication of how it must adapt in the wake of the pandemic.

Rogers neatly summed up the industry approach we’ve seen so far. “We have collectively stepped up to serve their communities during this public health crisis,” he said. “Thousands of hotels across the country, more than half of those small businesses, are working tirelessly during this uncertain time to support their employees, healthcare workers and first responders. When the time is right, hotels will be ready to safely and eagerly welcome back America’s traveling public.”

I want to find out more

The new hotel cleaning standards and Safe Stay initiative are likely to continue to grow in importance as 2020 progresses. To find out more, click the links below.

Read the full AHLA press release

Access the full guidelines


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