Hilton Outlines New Hotel Cleaning Standards

Filed Under: Hilton, Hotels

While we’ll hopefully all return to traveling soon(ish), I think it’s safe to say travel won’t ever be the same. Even if there’s such a thing as a post-COVID-19 era, I think many of us have a new appreciation for hygiene after all of this, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

New Hilton CleanStay initiative

Today Hilton has unveiled the basics of “CleanStay,” the term for their new elevated hygiene practices, from check-in to check-out. They’re developing this with RB (the maker of Lysol) and Mayo Clinic, and this should be implemented globally by June 2020.

Hilton CleanStay builds on Hilton’s existing housekeeping and hygiene practices, with upgraded protocols and hospital-grade cleaning products. As it’s described, the goal of CleanStay is to provide guests with assurance and peace of mind when they stay at Hilton’s 6,100+ hotels and 18 brands.

What will be changing at Hiltons?

The full details of the program are still in development, but hotel brand standards under consideration include:

  • Hilton CleanStay Room Seal: Add an extra measure of assurance by placing a room seal on doors to indicate to guests that their room has not been accessed since being thoroughly cleaned.
  • 10 High-Touch, Deep Clean Areas: Extra disinfection of the most frequently touched guests room areas – light switches, door handles, TV remotes, thermostats and more.
  • De-clutter Paper Amenities: Remove pen, paper and guest directory; supplement with digital or available upon request.
  • Focus on Fitness Centers: Improved guidelines for disinfecting the hotel Fitness Center, possibly closing for cleaning multiple times daily and limiting the number of guests allowed in at one time.
  • Clean and Clean Again: Increase the frequency of cleaning public areas.
  • Guest-Accessible Disinfecting Wipes: Provide stations at primary entrances and key high traffic areas, for instance, a station to allow guests to wipe the elevator button before pressing.
  • Contactless Check-In: Hilton will double-down on its award-winning Digital Key technology for guests who desire to have a contactless arrival experience. Guests can check-in, choose their room, access their room with a digital room key and check-out using their mobile devices through the Hilton Honors mobile app at participating hotels. Hilton will continue to expand its Digital Key capabilities to common doors and access points throughout the hotels.
  • Innovative Disinfection Technologies: Hilton is exploring the addition of new technologies, like electrostatic sprayers – which use an electrostatically charged disinfecting mist – and ultraviolet light to sanitize surfaces and objects.

Here’s an infographic from Hilton about the 10 high-touch areas in the room that will be deep cleaned:

Bottom line

I expect all major hotel groups to change their cleaning protocols, and this will likely be permanent.

I’m a fan of most of these developments. For example, more frequent cleanings of gyms and other public areas seems long overdue. I also like having disinfecting wipes in public areas. Meanwhile some may miss that paper, pen, and guess directory you’ll find in a room.

What updated hotel cleaning standards are most important to you when you get back to traveling?

  1. Standards only matter if they’re followed and I don’t have a ton of confidence that hotels will actually do this. I’ll feel safer camping this summer, honestly.

  2. Since I’m living in a Hilton property right now I’ll be curious to see if I notice a change anytime soon. Right now they’re not even allowed to come into our rooms during our stay, only at checkout. So while they give me fresh linens, I’ve had to change my own sheets and clean the bathroom myself. I’m not currently due to be living here as of June 1 but if the remodeling on my house takes longer I might be.

  3. Shouldn’t this be always the norm? The 10 high touch points cleaning is nothing less than I would expect of any hotel even before the COVID-19.

  4. Brand standards are rarely followed in certain countries (e.g. China), and unless they’re paying for more housekeeper hours, or else it just means cut back in cleaning other areas.

  5. Window Dressing words IMO
    Hilton has had systemic problems for years with housekeeping in North America
    My family member contracted scabies for a full service hotel in San Diego
    @ 300 dollars a night.
    We originally suspected bed bugs as they were bleeding
    However urgent care confirmed the issue wasn’t bed bugs at all
    The problem is if the room looks clean they don’t change towels sheets etc
    And I entered the room and it was spotless to the naked eye.
    However Scabies like the Virus can’t be seen
    At least Scabies wont kill you and there is cure with a prescription cream

    The green movement lowered housekeeping standards at all chains many years ago and saving money was the driver for hotels and not limited to outsourcing housekeeping to also trim costs
    Added to all that Hilton has thousands of properties that are privately owned and will never be able to live up to the standards that are really needed.Select properties may rise to the occasion but the lions share will be business as usual as it will be in any big chain
    And lol I am sure glad they are removing paper and pens from the rooms as that is the transmission route that had me up at night counting sheep fearful of getting the virus
    And that guest directory thank god its gone I was shaking every time I entered the room
    Great Saturday Night live materiel you cant make this stuff up!

  6. I doubt it will be cleaned as thoroughly as they say, it will add costs to already struggling hotels. I always use disinfectant wipes when I go to any hotel. I wipe down all the surfaces and the toilet. When I come home I wipe down everything before it get placed back in the house.

  7. Agreed with everyone…this should have been done long before. I am actually convinced that all of us get more issues with colds etc from hotels far more than we do on planes. I know this and cite it as undisputed fact because I am a stable genius and because I also stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

    Seriously though, this is fine but we all know that housekeeping is often maxed to the gills with workload and expectations for rooms per hour etc. And hotels LOVE cutting back on housekeeping any way they can and lowering the number of staff (I.e. “Go Green” and decline housekeeping!)

    So what would I do? “We are requiring that all properties increase the number of housekeepers by ratio per room. As well, that inspections will be made each day of all rooms by supervisors to assure that the new standards are being met.” Checks and balances.

    Trust me, they can afford it. Will they do it? Nah. This is all show.

  8. @Steve Merchant and Jeffrey: Agree. Cleaning like this at big chains like Hilton should have been done anyhow. The translation of their new release is really this: ‘We have rethought the failings in the past of not really doing thorough cleaning. We will try harder to help you from dying from COVID-19. Please stay with us soon.’

    That said, even IF – if – they follow through with the cleaning steps, it’s no guarantee that when someone carrying COVID-19 in the elevator, passing in the hallway, the lobby, the gym, the pool sneezes, coughes that ‘POW’! you don’t get infected from millions of aerosol droplets floating through the air – before they can be sucked in by any HEPA filter system.

    Happy travels, amigos.

  9. The only thing these announcements are going to do is make us all realize how things weren’t being cleaned before that we all assumed were, so best case scenario they will meet the standard we already assumed they had, worst case is they will continue to not hold housekeepers accountable and this limited change won’t happen at all.

  10. I have to admit that as I see more and more numbers, I can see why people are against continuing the lock down. While the death rate from confirmed cases seems high, it is all of the unconfirmed/asymptomatic cases out there that they are now starting to find/estimate with antibody tests that show much lower numbers.

    From what I can see, for anyone under 60 it is less than 1 in 1000 (.1%) fatality rate and for people under 40, it is extremely low. And even at 80+ it is under 10%. If you look at actuary tables for a 60 yr old man, he has a 1.1% chance of dying before the virus. And an 80 yr old has a 5.8% chance of dying.

    I certainly would prefer not to see hospitals overcrowded, and medical people overworked but the fear may be greater than it needs to be. And I absolutely could not say enough terrible things about Donnie-boy and his lack of intelligence, but maybe it is time to move on and see what happens next.

  11. We all know that. You are arriving late at the hotel, take a shower and want to go to bed. And then you find long black hairs in it while you are blonde yourself! Let´s face it. Hotels dont even bother to put on fresh bed linen will not do any of this, and we all know it. If I had to guess I would say probably 50% of hotels change linen only once in a while and I am not talking about road side motels here.

  12. @rich And the death rate of people when hospitals actually get overwhelmed, did you check that out genius? (Hint: Look at the worst hit period in northern Italy and China)

  13. I am so tired of people saying that travel (and a lot of other things) will NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN!!! Give me a break! I pretty much quit reading the second an article makes that obnoxious claim. Humans have lived with infectious diseases throughout existence and somehow people manage to live normal lives despite all this “grave danger” all around us every day. People will probably be a little sensitive for a couple years but I think the amount of people who will be afraid of COVID and sickness in general FOREVER will be a very small number. I for one fully intend to travel like normal later this year if the places I want to go are open for business.

  14. I’ve been thoroughly cleaning my hotel rooms for years (antiseptic wipe on switches, converter, surfaces, door knobs, etc. – then I tell them not to come into my room for the duration of my stay) and I always bring or buy cleaning supplies and thoroughly clean the bathroom from top to bottom. So none of this really affects me. The only thing that would benefit me would be that blankets and comforters are laundered for every new guest.

  15. @rich I know exactly what you are saying, and I agree that I do not think fondly of our current president. But many of these antibody studies that have already been done to predict the total number of infected people has been eye-opening. A lot of these studies have uncovered potentially massive amounts of cases that have gone undetected because a huge chunk have zero symptoms or are so mild that they never thought to seek out testing or medical treatment. A lot of their estimates have resulted in an overall fatality rate of 0.10%. Hardly a number that justifies locking down the whole world.

  16. Totally agree with all. The US Hiltons will never comply especially the lower end brands. You would need to watch a video of the room being cleaned to have any confidence. I was traveling throughout Mexico by road until the beginning of April – we chose small mom and pop hotels in most cases – personally I am even more concerned at the big chain hotels where the rooms share a central AC system and the windows cannot even be opened. In Tuxtla Gutierrez we had considered using points at the Holiday Inn but the guy at reception was very sick and looked half dead – we ran out of there and stayed in a rural hotel with no guests apart from the owner’s family. It will be a long time before I stay in a large hotel with zero fresh air.

  17. I have been a Director of Housekeeping at Hilton properties for 5 years now and these are not new standards by any means. The only new practice is the taping of the door after the guest room is cleaned and inspected and placing sanitizing wipes in public areas. I’m hoping all other properties are reading this and saying “we do this already”!

  18. “De-clutter Paper Amenities”

    That’s just using the Wuhan virus as an excuse to cut costs. Like hotels that eliminated toiletries, even though all health studies show dispensers are unsafe. Especially in a pandemic when coronavirus can live on the surface for 3 days.

  19. The question is, what will Hilton do if the room isn’t up to this standard? Without a guarantee, there is no incentive, especially on the less expensive properties. That said, I am thrilled Hilton is eliminating all the paper in the room which I found annoying. Are they eliminating all the extra bedding as well?

  20. @MikeL1986 Please go away with that uninformed garbage. The danger is an OVERWHELMED health care system, where death rate %s are in the double digit (like northern Italy and Wuhan, during the peak). Not only that, but people who have serious symptoms, but don’t die, will likely have life long permanent damage to their lungs.

  21. The reaction from the usual suspects is now quite predictable and irritating!

    Here we have a hospitality company going out of its way to try to increase consumer confidence following the most devastating global health problem of the century, and what we have are people complaining that this should have been the norm to start with, which is total bullshit. Why would a for-profit company have been expected to dump a lot of cash doing extra cleaning, before there was not an obvious threat and **hotel rooms were typically much cleaner than many travelers’ own dwellings**?!

  22. Here’s the reality: There will be good that comes out of this regarding the overall cleanliness of hotels and public areas. I spend a lot of nights in them each year and many were not up to where I’d hope or expect. It will cost more, though. Look at flying after 9-11. We got better security (well, in theory), but we also pay a tax on every segment now. Those increased costs will almost certainly be passed down.

  23. @David the death rate according to KNOWN cases is very high, especially in those locales. A lot of the antibody studies in our country are showing that the true number of infections could be exponentially higher than the known cases (which anyone will tell you and is what has been assumed all along since we’ve only tested people who are visibly sick and people who are asymptomatic or barely sick can’t get tested). So you take the current death count and compare it to a number of cases that is much higher than the current known amount and you get a much lower fatality rate. It isn’t uninformed at all, it is basic math. That is what the studies have found. Nobody knows the death rate overall because nobody knows the true number of infections but it certainly will not end up being double digit%.

  24. @Mike I am well aware of the difference between mortality rate and case fatality rate. The issue with your assumption is you think the number is constant, when all evidences suggest that mortality rate will climb by more than a factor of 10 when hospitals are overwhelmed, and ventilators and other resources are not available. Not to mention overwhelmed hospitals mean patient who have life threatening, non-COVID related conditions will see higher mortality rates as well.

    These are all well established facts corroborated by epidemiologist and doctors, or do you know better?

  25. Their “award-winning Digital Key” is a good idea but needs much more work on implementation. In theory as a Gold or Diamond you should still be upgraded, but almost never happens in my experience, vs good upgrade rate when using the reception-based check-in. Also some hotels have secure access restrictions on the lift – again should work in theory but in practice, not so much. I’ve often had to go to the desk to get a physical key just to use the lift. Sort these two issues and I’ll be more of a fan!

  26. Bring back the Individual soap/shampoo bottles. Shared use is disgusting and will be a massive virus vector.

  27. Lol Hiltons based in the US are mostly shitholes that are cleaned by overworked Mexican women. They were always dirty and literally nothing will change.

  28. @ MikeL1986 — Careful with those antibody studies; the statistics and methodology are unfortunately not sound.

  29. @Lea I thought Hilton had shut down their properties. How and why are you in a Hilton if you don’t mind sharing I am curious?

    I agree with you Ben. Post-COVID might not be so bad with management and staff taking cleanliness very very seriously which will be a good thing.

  30. I have to agree with DCS on this one. What has anyone else done? Marriott has nothing about cleaning on their Covid-19 page, and neither does Hyatt.

    I am a Hyatt fan myself, but I’m not blind – this is a really smart move. Improvement is what we need right now… and exactly how clean is your hotel chain or AirBnB? 😛

  31. What needs to be addressed, in addition to cleaning measures, is the matter of buffet service. All too often we see in airport and hotel lounges filthy millennials hovering at the buffet, eating hand to mouth , then using the same fingers to get more. Too arrogant, thoughtless , slovenly to get some food, put it on a plate, return to a table and consume it there. Going forward , it is hoped that these vile creatures ( 90 % of them are Caucasian men) will be kicked out.

  32. @DCS: “The reaction from the usual suspects is now quite predictable and irritating!”

    Likewise, the reaction from DCS when Hilton does anything, no matter how insignificant – that is, praising them endlessly and insulting anyone who finds otherwise – is also quite predictable, but more pathetic than irritating.

  33. @Andrew

    I also find the Western habit of wearing outside shoes inside the house extremely disgusting. Especially when they then let their kids play on the floor.

  34. @dominic

    Flying is not safer today than it was before 9/11 because of the TSA and/or added security yet we pay more for it. I wonder what additional fees, govt and/or private industry we will be stuck with after this ends.
    Flying is safer because of passenger awareness. Prior to 9/11 hijacked flight were simply rerouted. There was a very small possibility of dying so passengers were not willing to risk their lives trying to overpower the hijackers. In today’s world there a very few passengers who would not try to overpower.
    I suspect hotel guests will now take their own precautions regardless of what the hotel is doing. As an example we carried a spray bottle of alcohol on our last trip and liberally doused door knobs, toilet faucets, remotes, light switches, etc.

  35. @David genius that you claim to be. Hospitals were not overwhelmed in U.S. and the goal of curve flattening was achieved. As for spikes of death rates when hospitals are overwhelmed…well, my genius friend, that’s true for ALL maladies. Duh. That’s nothing to do with the Wuhan corona virus specifically.

    @Tiffany please quote or link evidence to your claim about antibody testing, thank you.

  36. Actually, @Mike, what I pointed out in my comment had little to do with the post being about Hilton. The “problem” is so pervasive that @ Lucky felt compelled to do a post on it:


    Dear Frequent Flyers: Please Stop Whining
    April 15, 2020 by Ben (Lucky) 127

    “[F]or example, we’ve seen airlines and hotel loyalty programs extend status by 12 months and introduce other initiatives to take care of members. In most cases I’d say the solutions from airlines and hotels are about the “best case scenario” in terms of what we can expect.

    Nonetheless, with every single one of these announcements I’ve written about, I’ve seen some people complaining about how it’s “not fair,” because it doesn’t exactly bring them the most personal benefit.

    It doesn’t matter what program it is, that has been the case across the board. ”

    See? I will not hold my breath for an apology, but the “problem” in my comment was pointed out before, and it is not just limited to Hilton, making yet again plain what has been evident for more than two years and there is no indication that it’s ending: this Mike’s obsession with me.

    For the Nth time, please get lost and go troll someone else.

  37. This is just BS – “Clean and clean again?” what’s that? So they ever cleaned before if something needed cleaning again? Removing pen and paper? Sound like it benefits Hilton. This is just advertisement. What’s next? Remove sheets and the mattress to insure a sterile environment? These places are filthy Petri dishes. If they want to do this right they need to be forthcoming regarding what they use the clean with, how many rooms a housekeeper is responsible for, how long they will have to “clean” the space, stop those soap and shampoo dispensers which are filthy dirty (no word on that though). Contactless check in? Really? No-one is getting an upgrade. It’s a shame how we have slid to third world status.

  38. @Lucky
    “I think it’s safe to say travel won’t ever be the same”
    Dramatic much? How much housewives of Atlanta have you been watching?

  39. @MikeL1986

    “I am so tired of people saying that travel (and a lot of other things) will NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN!!!”

    I hope 1986 doesn’t mean you’re a Millennial, because you are making the whole generation look bad. Things are never the same, but you take it for granted.

    Travel (and a lot of other things) will NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN.
    1. I can book hotels and flights online instead of using a travel agent. NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN
    2. I use my phone for almost everything with the least is making a phone call. NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN
    3. I have three best helpers Siri, Alexa, Google. NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN
    4. I have rare baseball cards from my grandparents, they’re said to be worth millions. NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN
    5. I used to keep some quarters in my pocket in case I need to use a payphone. NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN
    6. you get it?

    Life is never same. You have to accept change and adapt. Living in the past won’t get you anywhere.

  40. @Tiffany – while the link you provided is worrying in the sense that this virus really is out of control, it also means that the death rate is 50-85x lower (i.e. <0.1%). Furthermore, it means that TONS of people have antibodies, which can be used for research and makes people immune to the virus for a while.

  41. Awww… does this mean that the “Sanitized for your Protection” paper strips across the toilets are coming back again?

    @David — Dr. Fauci himself said in the New England Journal of Medicine (March 20, 2020) that this pandemic* is no worse than a severe flu season and not the big mass casualty event they had (wrongly) feared it would be. I was always taught the CFR (Case Fatality Rate a.k.a. death rate) for seasonal influenza was 0.25%-0.20%. Studies from the US and UK seem to indicate that the CFR for COVID-19 may well be 0.1% to possibly 0.01%. As is typical with most pandemics, CFR numbers are artificially high initially as only symptomatic people presenting at hospitals are tested. As more of the general public is tested, we typically see the CFR going much lower.

    FWIW, the #1 ‘seasonal’ influenza in the USA this year is H1N1…also known as the 2009 Swine Flu. H1N1 was also responsible for the 1918 Spanish Flu as well. BUT you didn’t see people panicking over that today.

    *pandemic just means a disease that is found around the world and not in isolated regions. Crotch rot is a pandemic. Pandemic DOES NOT mean people running around in Tyvek suits like Hollywood has portrayed it. Ebola, despite its high fatality rate and scary pathology *is not* a pandemic.

  42. @Tiffany: One study of one small area doesn’t necessarily make good extrapolations, but there now have been studies in California, New York, Germany, and the UK, and all have been coming up with similar numbers.

  43. @AlexS Dr Fauci was the guy who told people there is no need for masks unless you’re sick, despite evidence to the contrary in all the Asian countries that were successful in limiting COVID spread. He’s the same guy who claimed COVID is asymptomatic, so I’m not sure why you’re quoting what his opinion as if it’s God”s decree. He has been wrong, repeatedly, about COVID 19.

  44. I am curious how this cleaning changes will look like in Hotels where housekeeping it outsourced.
    Everybody knows how cleaning company are cutting minutes everywhere and hotels are cooperating with them as they keep taking them instead of own staff
    Do you guys agree?

  45. I am curious how this cleaning changes will look like in Hotels where housekeeping it outsourced.
    Everybody knows how cleaning company are cutting minutes everywhere and hotels are cooperating with them as they keep taking them instead of own staff
    Do you guys agree?

  46. I’m surprised nobody picked up on the fact that RB is a new vendor for them. What I think most likely happened is that Hilton has a new master contract for the Lysol chemical system where they offered P&G or Ecolab before. They probably got some savings and used the opportunity to package it as a marketing message.

    As lots of people have mentioned frequent sanitizing of high-touch surfaces is just a basic housekeeping best practice. Everything else like app checkin and the door seal is just part of the marekting.

  47. We have been doing this way before the geniuses at Hilton came up with a massive corporate propaganda! Hotels that use PG products have been disinfecting rooms for years! All their products are disinfectants, hospital grade products. The Lysol thing is just a gimmick to force hotels to spend money were is not needed. I wonder how much kickbacks they are getting! The seal? WOW Hilton: these could easily be vandalize, so waste time going back and forward to check the rooms. Once a seal is broken you are pretty much telling everyone which rooms are occupied. Heaven for creeps! So are guest using keys to brake the seals? All I see is more money wasted fixing doors. You also rolled out this program without one single word to the hotels. Good One Hilton! Rolled out something just for the heck of it.

  48. Use your brains people. Most of this is normal practice. It’s a marketing scheme a Hilton is more likely getting kick backs from lysol. But for those of you freaking and complaining about cleaning standards. Then stay home! You can get bed bugs at a movie theater does that stop thousands of people from going? nope… You can get flesh eating bacteria on the beach but yet thousands of people flock to beaches evey year. Have you ever heard the horror stories of what is found in the water at waterparks? You will never be 100% safe if thats what you are looking for the stay home! Thats the only place you make sure the food you’re eating and the place your sleeping is to your standards.

  49. @DCS: “See? I will not hold my breath for an apology, but the “problem” in my comment was pointed out before, and it is not just limited to Hilton, making yet again plain what has been evident for more than two years and there is no indication that it’s ending: this Mike’s obsession with me.”

    More moving the goalposts and projection from DCS, as usual.

  50. In the DC Metro Area and Baltimore, especially in public space, resturants, and meeting spaces, Hiltons are known for being immaculate. Perhaps because it is the capital and they have the funds, but I have been staying at Hiltons in DC and Baltimore for 20’years and rarely encountered a problem.

  51. So many people living in a fantasy world on here. WOW ! most can’t spell and you intelligence level is lower than the average fifth grader. Thank God there are a few on here with common sense.Those of you that are dumb enough to believe the virus is no big deal, keep right on thinking so. The people who have been sick and in the hospital have said by the hundreds,you don’t want this shit. And many more aren’t saying anything because they are dead. I hope if you have loved ones at home you do nothing less than think of them and try to protect them as much as possible. USE common sense, I know for a fact that their are Hotels that require every item and every surface to be wiped down every time a guest checks out and ALL linens are changed out fresh and every surface was and still is thoroughly cleaned as policy– long before the virus came about.It is easy to walk into a room and quickly check the bed before climbing into it,bend down and look across a desk top and see if it is dust free and clean check headboards,backs of televisions for dust and the showers and tubs are clean,shiny and spot free. You say you travel a lot ? obviously you don’t know too much about clean or how to check for it. Poor dumb souls, who would stay and not call the desk for another room if it was as bad as you all say it is ? I have left with a refund when I get to a place some of you say you have. I have been compt free rooms for a week, (when I had two dirty rooms in one night.} at a competitor chain of choice for such. But, most of all better get better educated and cautious of the idiots around you and stay safe. There is No guarantee you will be one of the lucky survivors if you get the disease. This is NOT just the flu that doesn’t exist if you keep telling yourself that. And it’s not going to just go away because you refuse to believe. Do what you will just stay 6ft away from me or I will remind you, and only ONCE. I had a healthy 43 yearly loved one die in Colorado from being exposed in a grocery store because of the social distancing was looked down on there and they refused to believe as many of you it was no big deal. YEP ! They just refused to believer listen. Now for them nothing to worry about anymore.

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