There’s a lot to think about and consider before making the decision to travel. Common, and understandable, travel fears in 2020 surround hotel cleaning procedures.  Travel anxiety is high, as are travel concerns, whether you must travel for business, or simply want to get out of town for vacation.  Let’s take a closer look at the top United States hotel chains, and what their cleaning procedures are.


Travel Fears:  How Clean is My Hotel Room


Chalk it up to investigative reporting, but I bet most of us have seen at least one news story revealing how dirty hotel rooms can be.  I never thought a black light could be so terror inducing.

But now, travel fears regarding hotel cleanliness are at an all time high, and that’s 100% understandable.

The Travel Industry is facing unprecedented and very difficult challenges in how they woo customers back.  From airlines, to restaurants to hotels, the key messaging is:  how are spaces being kept clean and disinfected.

Many major hotel chains in the United States have adopted their own branded terminology for their procedures, and have added lengthy pages to their web sites detailing every step of their cleaning policies and procedures.  I have summarized several chains for you, with links to their specific web site pages so you can read more on your own.  Here we go:


a bed side table lamp in a hotel room


Hilton Clean Stay


  • Housekeeping room protocol begins with removal of all used items from the room such as bedding and towels. Next, the team performs a full clean of the room and bathroom including vacuuming the carpet, mopping floors and wiping down all surfaces with hospital-grade cleaners. Then, using trusted products from Lysol*, they do an additional disinfecting step for several surfaces in the room, including: all switches and electronic controls, handles and knobs, major bathroom surfaces and the remote control.

  • After the room is thoroughly cleaned, the towels are replaced and the bed made with freshly laundered linens. Finally, the housekeeping inspector verifies the room meets the CleanStay standards and places the Hilton CleanStay Room Seal with Lysol* protection over the door.
  • In public areas, guests will find disinfecting stations with wipes and hand sanitizer available. Additionally, both public and Team Member areas are cleaned at scheduled intervals, including hourly maintenance of high-touch areas like elevators and bathrooms.


Marriott Global Cleanliness Council


  • Marriott recently announced the creation of the Marriott Global Cleanliness Council – consisting of in-house and outside experts in food and water safety, hygiene and infection prevention, and hotel operations. Together, the council members will work to develop a new generation of global hospitality cleanliness standards, norms and behaviors for Marriott’s more than 7,300 properties around the globe. The new standards will be designed to minimize risk and enhance safety for the company’s guests and the 750,000 people worldwide who wear the Marriott name badge.
  • Surface Areas: In public spaces, the company has added to its already rigorous cleaning protocols, requiring that surfaces are treated with hospital-grade disinfectants and that this cleaning is done with increased frequency. In guest rooms, Marriott has added to its detailed cleaning practices, requiring all surfaces to be thoroughly cleaned with hospital-grade disinfectants. The company will also be placing disinfecting wipes in each room for guests’ personal use.
  • Guest Contact: To help alleviate the risk of COVID-19 transmission through person-to-person contact, Marriott will be using signage in its lobbies to remind guests to maintain social distancing protocols and will remove or re-arrange furniture to allow more space for distancing. The company is planning to add partitions at front desks to provide an extra level of precaution for its guests and associates and is working with supply chain partners to make masks and gloves available to associates. You’ll see more hand sanitizing stations around Marriott’s hotels – near the entrances and front desks, elevator banks and fitness and meeting spaces.
  • In addition, in more than 3,200 of the company’s hotels, guests can choose to use their phones to check in, access their rooms, make special requests and order room service that will be specially packaged and delivered right to the door without contact. These “touchless” services can all be done quickly via Marriott’s mobile app.


Best Western Hotels and Resorts We Care Clean Program


  • We Care Clean program addresses everything from guest room and common area cleanliness, to streamlined processes that minimize contact between guests and associates while maintaining the customer service you expect from a Best Western-branded hotel.
  • Front Desk and Lobby:  New protocols will minimize guest contact with personnel through a streamlined check-in and check-out process such as the use of Best Western’s Mobile Concierge platform.  Social distancing measures will be implemented, wellness best practices signs will be prominently posted, and all lobby brochures, magazines and papers will be removed.  Enhanced sanitization procedures will be in place at the front desk, in the lobby and across guest touch points throughout the hotel with disinfecting taking place regularly.  Sanitizing stations or wipes will be available throughout hotels.
  • Guest Room and Housekeeping:  Enhanced and thorough cleaning protocols will be implemented in guest rooms. If possible, guest rooms will not be entered for 24 to 72 hours after check-out, at which time the room, linens and all touch points, for example, faucets, door handles, light switches, thermostats, clocks and hangers will be cleaned with chemicals. Unnecessary items will be removed from guest rooms, such as decorative pillows, bed scarves, paper notepads and pens.  For guest and employee safety and well-being, daily housekeeping service will be by request.


Wyndham Hotels and Resorts


  • The Count On Us Program puts safety first with elevated cleanliness standards, an expanded relationship with Ecolab for EPA-approved disinfectants, and more.  Throughout your stay, you’ll observe more frequent cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch areas like lobbies and elevators, as well as enhanced social distancing measures in public spaces. Plus, over the coming weeks, you’ll be offered disinfecting wipes with your key card at check-in and complimentary travel-size hand sanitizer for each room at our U.S. and Canada hotels. Both are subject to product availability.


Hyatt Hotels


  • GBAC STARTM cleanliness and training accreditation process through the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) at all Hyatt hotels
  • Trained Hygiene & Wellbeing Leader or team at all locations, responsible for their hotel adhering to new operational protocols and training
  • Cross-functional panel of trusted medical and industry advisors—including experts from Cleveland Clinic—to help fine-tune safety protocols and consider various aspects of the entire hotel experience.
  • Additional measures are being taken in an effort to ensure your safety, such as touch-free options, more frequent sanitization with hospital-grade disinfectants, and exploring and testing the use of electrostatic sprayers.
    • Sanitizer stations prominently placed throughout hotels
    • More frequent cleaning of public spaces and guest room surfaces
    • Enhanced food safety and hygiene protocols
    • Wellness and temperature checks, according to local guidance
    • Removal of certain high-touch items from guest rooms
    • Elevator spacing and revised maximum capacity guidelines—elevators, fitness centers and more
    • Mobile check-in and checkout





  • The IHG Way of Clean already includes deep cleaning with hospital-grade disinfectants, and guests can expect to see evolved procedures throughout the hotel, which may include:
  • Reception: Reduced contact at check-in, touchless transactions, front desk screens, sanitizer stations, sanitized key-cards, paperless check-out.
  • Guest Room: Reduction of in-room furnishings/high-touch items, new laundry protocols, use of electrostatic technology (at select hotels) and the addition of in-room IHG Clean Promise cards with cleaning procedures
  • Public Spaces and Facilities: Additional deep cleaning of high touch surfaces, social distancing, guidance to implement ‘last cleaned’ charts, and best practices for pools, fitness centers and lounges


In 2020, it’s increasingly important to manage your travel expectations, and do your own research, if you have travel fears related to hotel cleanliness.  Certainly, hotels have every reason and incentive to help relieve your travel fears, by going above and beyond in ensuring their properties are as clean and sanitary as possible!

I applaud their efforts, and hope for the entire travel industry to see as fast as a “return to normal” as possible!


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