The Sustainable Path to Clean Hospitality—During COVID and in the Future

2020 put physical cleanliness front and center for hotels. But in the long run, environmentally clean hospitality is just as important. Here’s how they can go hand-in-hand.

In 2020, “clean” hospitality is all anyone can talk about: how do hotels sanitize common areas and rooms effectively? What changes need to be made to housekeeping protocols? And though most hotels around the world have reopened for business, they’re not done making changes. This year’s Cyber HITEC schedule reflects the acute interest from hoteliers, with a dedicated session called “COVID Response: Best Practices in Cleaning” and several others that plan to cover the topic as part of their talk as well.

Even before germs were the top priority, a different type of clean hospitality has been steadily growing in importance: environmentally clean hospitality. And while that’s been put on the back burner for many properties and brands, it remains a top priority for the next 5-10 years. Nearly 70% of American voters rank climate change as an important issue in the upcoming 2020 election. Over the past few years, it’s been one of the fastest-growing issues and topics in countries across the world, and the momentum shows no signs of slowing.

It comes as no surprise, then, that sustainability expert and architect John Picard is the keynote speaker at Cyber HITEC, sharing his vision for a cleaner, more technologically innovative hospitality industry. As hotels scramble to shift their plans for both the near and long-term future, it’s worth considering how to achieve both the COVID cleaning upgrades now becoming a necessity for the industry and the environmental standards that loom on the horizon—and where efforts and investment in both types of clean hospitality may be able to overlap. Here are a few ways hotels can achieve both:

Eliminating plastic keycards

The hoteliers that have maintained traditional entry processes and keycards since reopening are now learning that guests are even less likely to return keys than they were before, contributing to rising costs they just can’t afford. And when guests do return keys, it puts staff at risk to sanitize them and wastes valuable time that could be better used serving guests.

With safety concerns at an all-time high and every touchpoint under scrutiny, many hotels are turning to contactless solutions like mobile check-in and mobile key to keep guests and staff separated and lower chances for COVID transmission. The results? Lower costs. Safer entry and exit. And a greener, more sustainable approach to operations.

Removing paper from the property

Printed compendiums and paper collateral come with a few significant challenges: first, they’re often out-of-date. To keep them current, they must be reprinted on a regular basis. But second, they’re difficult to sanitize—even more so than high-touch surfaces like elevator buttons or the front desk—with cleaning supplies likely to either be ineffective or damage the paper.

Meanwhile, constant reprints have significant environmental impact when added up over time. Removing paper from the property and replacing it with digital alternatives that can be easily wiped down or accessed by guests on their own devices is a win-win.

In a time of tight hotel budgets, it’s important for every strategy and investment to serve multiple purposes, and contribute towards future-proofing efforts at the same time. That’s why it’s important to recognize the synergy between clean and green strategies and tools—and maximize their potential throughout your property.

Interested in learning more about clean, environmentally friendly hospitality? Explore the Cyber HITEC virtual exhibit halls with complimentary access from INTELITY. Sign up for free access to the event now!

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