A new U.S. survey released by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) indicates that face mask requirements and a suspension of daily housekeeping services are among the top priorities for travelers when it comes to feeling comfortable with a hotel stay.
According to the AHLA, 87% and 85% of more 2,000 Americans polled reported that they're in favor of requiring face masks for hotel employees and hotel guests, respectively, validating recent moves by Marriott, InterContinental Hotels Group and Hyatt, among other hospitality groups, to make face coverings mandatory in indoor public areas portfoliowide.
More than 700 of the 2,000-plus individuals polled were categorized as "frequent travelers," typically traveling five or more nights per year.
Additionally, 86% of those surveyed said suspending daily housekeeping would increase their comfort levels, with nearly 60% of respondents also asserting that they would not be comfortable with housekeeping staff entering their room without advance permission.
The suspension of daily housekeeping has emerged as a hot-button issue in recent months, with local lawmakers, union leaders and hotel trade groups at odds over a post-pandemic trend toward suspending daily room cleanings or providing them only upon request.
Hospitality unions have come out in favor of daily housekeeping mandates recently enacted in markets like San Francisco and Las Vegas, claiming that such protocols are ultimately safer from a hygiene perspective. The World Health Organization has also recommended against suspending daily room cleanings.
Hotel trade groups, however, have pushed back against such requirements, arguing that daily cleanings are risky because they increase potential interactions between staff and guests, and that costs related to frequent housekeeping protocols are prohibitively high.
During Hilton Worldwide's Q2 earnings call on Aug. 6, Hilton CEO Chris Nassetta reported that the majority of Hilton guests are currently opting not to receive daily housekeeping services.
Other hotel health and safety efforts that survey respondents said bolstered their comfort levels included the use of technology to reduce contact (85%), transparent barriers in areas like the front desk (82%) and signage related to hand washing, social distancing or PPE requirements or guidelines (80%).