These are the safest hotels during the COVID-19 crisis

safest hotels during covid-19

If you’re thinking of traveling during the second wave of the coronavirus outbreak, you might be wondering: Is there a list of the safest hotels during the COVID-19 crisis?

There is. The Safe Travel Barometer, a startup that ranks travel companies based on their cleaning and sanitation practices, shared the list exclusively with me. It’s a handy guide for anyone interested in staying somewhere that takes safety seriously.

Why is a list of the safest hotels for coronavirus so important? Because too many hotels have said too little about their sanitation efforts. They’ve either published a vaguely worded press release, meant to soothe worried guests but short on specifics, or they’ve said nothing substantive other than, “We’ll do better.”

But the most alarming result of the Safe Travel Barometer research is that there just isn’t a lot of information on hotel safety out there. Many properties have said little or nothing about their cleaning practices. That should be troubling to every guest, but also something worth remembering. It’s not the hotels on this list that you should worry about — it’s the ones that are not on this list.

How to tell if your hotel is safe during the COVID-19 crisis

There are a few ways to tell if your hotel is safe:

  • The hotel publishes detailed and specific information about its cleaning efforts. For example, it doesn’t just say it cleans public areas; it tells you how often. And it won’t just tell you that it removed certain amenities after the outbreak. Instead, the hotel names the thing it removed (like the breakfast buffet).
  • It also has adjusted its change and refund policies to allow guests to cancel at the last minute in case of a future outbreak. A hotel that puts guests’ health before profits is far likelier to take sanitation seriously.

Of course, some hotels go above and beyond, which is something else to look for. For example, after the housekeeping staff at the Beverly Hilton services a room, they bring in an ultraviolet light to sanitize even more deeply, says hospitality expert Anthony Melchiorri.

“If you have questions or would like to know more about the exact safety measures put in place to protect your health, call the hotel where you plan to stay and ask them what to expect,” he says.

Here are the safest hotels for coronavirus in America

For hotels, the Safe Travel Barometer considered 13 parameters, including on-site and staff initiatives. The company assigned a weight to each initiative variable based on their importance and relevance. They include COVID-19 safety protocols, traveler convenience, service excellence, and traveler experience.

Here’s a list of the ten safest hotels for COVID-19:

Choice Hotels

Why? Budget hotel chain Choice, which owns Econo Lodge and Rodeway Inn, has introduced its Commitment to Clean program. It builds on the chain’s “longstanding cleanliness protocols” in response to the pandemic, including standards related to deep cleaning, disinfecting, hygiene, and social distancing.

What to expect: Required face coverings, enhanced cleaning, personal hand sanitizers in every room.

What not to expect: Thermal screening, a contact tracing app, daily housekeeping.

Domio

Why? Domio, which operates apartment hotels in Chicago, Miami and New Orleans, cleans and sanitizes every property after each guest checks out, following a thorough 100-point checklist. “We clean and disinfect all hard surfaces and high touch areas using products approved by public health authorities to help fight the coronavirus,” it says.

What to expect: A new “digital screening process” for all future guests is being implemented to keep its properties COVID-free.

What not to expect: Thermal screening, a contact tracing app, daily housekeeping.

Extended Stay America

Why? Its Stay Confident program is one of the most comprehensive in the travel industry. There’s a 10-point cleaning process with well-known cleaners, new training for employees, and strict social distancing measures. The company is sanitizing public areas frequently, and its employees are taking additional measures to protect guests, according to the company.

What to expect: Required face masks, hand sanitizers, lots more cleaning.

What not to expect: Thermal screening, a contact tracing app.

G6 Hospitality

Why? G6 Hospitality, the parent company of Motel 6 and Studio 6 brands, has introduced the [email protected] program to ensure that guests feel confident about staying at its hotels. Among the steps: More frequent cleaning and heavy disinfection of high-touch public surfaces, hand sanitizer stations in the lobby and the use of EPA-approved antiviral disinfectants to sanitize the most commonly touched areas of guest rooms.

What to expect: An “unwavering commitment” to cleanliness, including required face masks and frequent cleanings.

What not to expect: Thermal screening, a contact tracing app.

Hilton

Why? Hilton’s CleanStay program tries to “define a new standard” in cleanliness. “Our promise to you is to deliver the same level of reliable and friendly service you’d expect from Hilton, but with the added confidence of industry-leading hygiene practices created to keep you safe,” it says. There’s a partnership with Lysol and Dettol, more rigorous cleaning of guest rooms and public areas, and each room comes with a “CleanStay Room Seal” signifying it’s been sanitized.

What to expect: Thermal screenings, face mask requirements, available hand sanitizers.

What not to expect: A contact tracing app.

Hyatt Hotels Corporation

Why? Hyatt’s Global Care & Cleanliness features a cleanliness and training accreditation process at all hotels through the Global Biorisk Advisory Council. The company is adding new training for employees and has put together a panel of medical and industry advisors, including experts from Cleveland Clinic, to help fine-tune safety protocols.

What to expect: Sanitizer stations prominently placed throughout hotels, guest temperature checks at some locations.

What not to expect: A contact tracing app and “certain” high-touch items from guest rooms.

Las Vegas Sands

Why? It’s taking a few extra steps to protect guests from COVID-19, making it one of the safest hotels in America. Among them: hiring a team of certified emergency medical technicians to be on call 24 hours a day. In case of a suspected case of COVID-19 at the resort, they’ll direct a guest to an appropriate medical facility. Restaurant tables, slot machines and other physical layouts have been arranged to ensure social distancing. If you have COVID-19, the hotel will remove your room from service and perform a specific cleaning protocol by a licensed third-party expert.

What to expect: Thermal cameras, required face masks, and hand sanitizers.

What not to expect: Crowds.

Omni Hotels & Resorts

Why? Its new COVID protocols include cleaning and disinfecting hard surfaces and frequently touched items in guest rooms and throughout each hotel’s public spaces. Omni offers all guests hand sanitizer stations at front desks, on meeting room levels and in restaurants. “We are also ensuring our associates have disposable wipes with them at all times to clean commonly used surfaces like elevator buttons,” the company says. Not to be outdone in its COVID-fighting efforts, it closed ten properties — one of them permanently.

What to expect: Required face masks, hand sanitizers, lots more cleaning.

What not to expect: Thermal screening, a contact tracing app.

Trump Hotels

Why? The hotel chain has implemented new sanitation standards for its properties. They include requiring associates to wear face coverings and gloves, where appropriate; a socially distanced check-in; touchless guest directory menus and increased frequency of cleaning and disinfecting public areas.

What to expect: Required face masks, hand sanitizers, lots more cleaning.

What not to expect: Thermal screening, a contact tracing app.

Red Roof Inn

Why? Red Roof RediClean is another comprehensive cleaning and sanitation program. It includes additional sanitation of high-touch points in common areas up to four times per day. The cleaning list is quite detailed — everything from cleaning elevators to trash carts and public restrooms. Red Roof also promotes better sanitation in cooperation with the Asian American Hotel Owner Association and as active members of the AHLA Safe Stay Advisory Council.

What to expect: Required face masks, hand sanitizers, lots more cleaning.

What not to expect: Thermal screening, a contact tracing app.

Can you rely on this list of the safest hotels?

There’s a lot of concern about the safety of travel as COVID-19 cases spike, and rightfully so. No list of the safest hotels during the COVID-19 crisis is perfect, so don’t let this one override your common sense. If you check in and find the staff not wearing masks or crowds gathering, that’s not a good sign, according to Elliott Horner, principal scientist of UL’s Built Environment division. And if the hotel doesn’t want to talk about its cleaning efforts or offer details on which cleaners it’s using, that could be a warning.

“It’s important for a hotel to clearly emphasize efforts and attention to cleaning and hygiene,” he says.

If it doesn’t, you might be better off making a U-turn — and finding another hotel.

Posted in Smart Consumer Tagged , , ,

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can’t. He’s the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes weekly columns for King Features Syndicate, USA Today, and the Washington Post. If you have a consumer problem you can’t solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter.

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