HRS, a global corporate lodging platform, and SGS, an inspection, verification, testing and certification company, introduced a new cleanliness-focused program for the hotel industry today. The Clean & Safe Protocol provides corporations and hoteliers with a well-defined standard at a time when property hygiene is the leading factor as corporations plan to send business travelers back on the road. Hotels earning the designation as a safe property gain access to a new label for use in HRS procurement and booking channels, their own corporate website, and on-property displays at entrances, lobbies and in-room marketing. HRS will display this label on its proprietary desktop, mobile and agent booking solutions, as well as corporate online booking engines (OBEs) such as Concur and Cytric.
HRS is a global provider of hotel procurement services, managing hotel negotiations for more than one-third of the Fortune 500. In a May survey of its corporate customers, 86 percent of companies reported that they will only engage with hotels that have implemented revised specific COVID-19 hygiene measures.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the dramatic pause in business travel, cleaning and safety standards for travelers have become the most important deciding factor for corporations using the downturn to recalibrate hotel programs for the balance of 2020 and 2021. As countries loosen travel restrictions and domestic business travel gains momentum, a hotel’s ability to showcase its enhanced hygiene protocol is crucial for gaining more business guests and better long-term relationships with preferred corporate clients. Hotels can use the Clean & Safe Protocol not only to convey their enhanced hygiene practices, but also to make booking easier for business travelers, as the labels enable them to compare inspected hotels before making a selection.
The Clean & Safe Protocol
The Clean & Safe Protocol is based on a comprehensive catalogue of measures that includes recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as guidelines for meetings and groups as defined by the Research Institute for Exhibition and Live-Communication (RIFEL). Measures include:
- Improved hygiene services in public areas, guest and meeting rooms
- Extended infection prevention measures
- Guaranteed minimum distances
- Implementation of revised training programs for employees and suppliers
- Regular control and monitoring, and
- Other measures that illustrate consistent, recurring practices that enhance safety
Many hotels worldwide have already enhanced their hygiene measures to address the new reality, with chains leading the way. HRS and SGS are committed to helping all hotels – multi-national chains, regional groups, and independent properties – ensure their cleanliness and distancing investments pay off via accurate representation in procurement and shopping channels. By conveying each hotel’s enhanced practices, business travelers and hotel program leaders will quickly gain confidence as they look ahead to re-launching travel activities. By incorporating internal processes and employee security, the Clean & Safe Protocol also demonstrates the hotel’s focus on both employees and guests.
Defining a New Hospitality Hygiene Standard – For All Hotels – Suitable for a Pandemic
The Clean & Safe Protocol gives all hotels the opportunity to demonstrate their safe hygiene practices. As a first step, hotels can engage with HRS to fill out an online self-assessment form. Hotel groups can bundle forms for their affiliated properties. If the hotel fulfills the necessary requirements, it receives a "Clean & Safe Self Inspected" label on all HRS procurement and booking channels. These hotels can also use these channels to show the multiple steps they are taking to enhance cleanliness and on-property distancing.
Secondly, HRS and SGS offer hotels the opportunity to have new measures inspected and confirmed via remote digital inspection or onsite by an SGS inspector. Upon passing the inspection, the hotel receives the "Clean & Safe Expert Inspected" label, which is most relevant for corporate procurement leaders and travelers. This can be displayed on the hotel property and website. Hotels that have implemented their own measures and had them validated by an external audit partner will also receive the "Clean & Safe Expert Inspected" label directly with appropriate proof.
"COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the world of business travel. In times of pandemic and beyond, corporate travel managers are rigorously weighing their duty of care responsibilities and traveler safety as their colleagues get back on the road to see clients and sell to prospects," says Tobias Ragge, CEO of HRS. "Hoteliers around the world are investing significant amounts into new cleanliness procedures. We intend to make their efforts transparent, as this is needed to restore the sentiment of trust for business travelers and corporate buyers. SGS, a recognized provider in the field of corporate lodging with its leading inspection and auditing offerings and a truly global footprint, is an ideal partner on this important issue for our corporate customers, hotel partners and business travelers.”
"SGS' global leadership in the travel and hospitality industry has enabled our network of health and safety experts to develop a comprehensive and straightforward protocol in 100+ countries for reviewing hotel management procedures and disinfection status,” said Frankie Ng, CEO of SGS. "With HRS, we have a great strategic partner to advance our Next Normal Solutions in the business travel sector.”