Marriott CEO Supports “Hygiene Theater” Concept, And I Tend To Agree

Filed Under: Hotels, Marriott

Skift has the story of some interesting comments made by Marriott CEO Arne Sorneson in favor of “hygiene theater,” and I’m not sure I disagree with him.

Marriott CEO supports “hygiene theater”

For the travel industry to recover in any sort of a substantial way, more needs to be done to make travel safe across the board, and people also have to feel like traveling is safe. Along those lines, Marriott’s CEO has commented on the use of temperature checks, and the general benefits of a “hygiene theater.” As he explained:

“A temperature check is a very dubious tool for IDing those who have the virus. Nevertheless, that temperature check is hygiene theater, if you will. It’s communicating to folks we care about what you feel and want you to stop and think about if you’re having any symptoms, and we also want to communicate to you that you’re now entering a place in which we’ve got protocols in place to protect you and others in the environment.”

Sorenson compares this to Swiss cheese:

“Somebody explained this like Swiss cheese: If you’ve got one slice of Swiss cheese, you’ve got holes and can get through it. But if you’ve got four or five slices of Swiss cheese stacked next to each other. Put it all together, it makes a substantive difference in safety, a provably reduced risk of the spread of the virus, and collectively engaged in a theater that tells us or reminds us all to be careful. By being careful, we’ve further reduced the real risk associated with it.”

When we think of “theater” in the context of travel, “security theater” at TSA checkpoints is probably the first thing that comes to mind:

  • It’s imperative to safety that we take off our shoes and remove our laptops and liquids from our bags, unless we have TSA Pre-Check?
  • We can’t take more than 100ml of liquids in one container, but we can take two containers of the same thing with 100ml each?
  • This is what the TSA is focused on, while studies have shown that the TSA misses a vast majority of weapons brought through checkpoints?

The focus should be on actual hygiene…

It goes without saying that focusing on actual hygiene and best practices in a substantial way and living up to promises needs to be the top priority:

  • Hotel rooms and public areas need to be cleaned and disinfected better than ever before, in line with the practices that hotel groups are promising
  • If hotels require all staff to wear masks, then they need to make sure staff are not only wearing masks, but wearing them correctly, setting a good example for guests
  • If hotels require guests to wear masks, then they need to make sure this is being enforced as well

It doesn’t matter whether you agree with any of these policies or not. The point is that consumers make decisions based on promises made by companies, so they need to follow through on them.

…but “hygiene theater” is also needed

Arguably a majority of good hygiene practices at hotels happen in the background. That keeps guests safe, but does it make guests feel safe? No, probably not. And this gets at why hygiene theater is (maybe unfortunately?) necessary.

It’s always interesting to hear impressions from people who have traveled during the pandemic, and whether they felt safe or not. Everyone has an opinion, but what is it actually based on? Most of us aren’t going into rooms with hygiene test kits or conducting undercover experiments, but rather we make assumptions based on what’s visible to us.

To give a couple of examples:

  • Is it actually important for the front desk associate to wear a face mask if they’re behind a plexiglass shield and six feet from a colleague? No, but it sets a good example, and if you see staff not wearing masks (or not wearing them correctly), you wonder where else corners are being cut.
  • Is it actually important for hotels to constantly remind us that our rooms have been sanitized? No, but if we’re not reminded then we may forget that cleaning protocols have been enhanced.

If I’m being perfectly honest, what makes me feel “safe” in a hotel is:

  • Seeing all employees wearing face masks, and wearing them correctly
  • Finding the room is visibly clean, and that there are no obvious oversights
  • Seeing cleaning actually happening in public spaces, like elevator buttons being sanitized, pens at reception being disinfected between uses, etc.
  • Policies in place that follow best practices; for example, if there’s a gym and it’s open, there should be a limit to how many people can use it, and there needs to be a mechanism in place to enforce that

The above is largely theater, but the reality is that it’s all we can go off. The key is that there needs to actually be good practices to support it. In other words, if I check into a room and the door is sealed with a special sticker saying the room has been “cleaned and sealed for my protection,” and then I find the room isn’t actually clean, the hotel has lost all credibility as far as I’m concerned.

Getting back to Sorenson’s initial comments on temperature checks, that’s a touchy subject for many:

  • Temperature checks are far from a foolproof way to detect coronavirus
  • At the same time, people knowing they have to undergo temperature checks may make them think twice about going somewhere if they think they’re not feeling well
  • The “average” person probably feels like this is an appropriate precaution that shows effort on the part of a hotel
  • A big question is what actions are taken based on these checks — what happens if someone actually does have a high temperature?
  • Even if people don’t have coronavirus, there’s general value to knowing if people are sick, especially as we go into flu season; admittedly that opens a whole different can of worms

Personally I don’t have as strong of an opinion on temperature checks as others. Do I mind them as a small part of an overall approach to mitigating risk? Nope. Do I think they’re the solution to preventing people with coronavirus from traveling? Also nope.

Bottom line

The top priority for hotels needs to be actually keeping guests safe. But beyond that, how can hotels convince guests that traveling is safe? I do think it comes down to theater.

What makes this different than “security theater” at airports is that 9/11 happened over 19 years ago, and most people don’t board a plane worried about a terrorist attack. Meanwhile most people do worry about safety related to coronavirus when traveling right now.

Again, the focus needs to be on actually good practices, but beyond that it’s in the best interest of hotels to constantly remind us what they’re doing at every turn, so that we feel safe as well.

If you’ve traveled during the pandemic, what have your deciding factors been as to whether or not you felt safe?

  1. Hmm.

    How about:

    1. Marriott needs to get its hotel back to a standard of service. Internationally, many of its full-service and upscale properties have reopened club lounges, provide daily housekeeping (at least by request), etc. Domestically in North America, most of the same brands are providing less than a Fairfield Inn. That needs to change ASAP.

    2. Arne should stop virtue signaling in the United States and being all woke when he gives the communist Chinese regime a free pass.

  2. @FNT Delta Diamond

    1. You know theres a reason for that. Lots of countries oustide of NA have a much better handle on the virus. Also, chances are that if Marriott opened up lounges here they’ll see a bunch of people throwing tantrums about the restrictions.

    2. I’d wager that as of right now a large part of their revenue is coming from China/Asia

  3. Airlines faced a tough choice in April – there was a large group of scared people who were hard to win over and a much smaller group of people who would be happy to fly despite Covid. Airlines almost universally decided it’s better to try to appeal to the scared ones, either because they underestimated how many ready-to-fly people will be put off by all the meassures, or because they simply concluded there’s not enough of them. While it seems this was the right decission for US airlines (perhaps due to much more semi-essential non-business travel), it didn’t work well in Europe.

    Looking back at the summer season it seems that going for business-as-usual was the way to win tourists over. One of few destinations in Europe (and probably the world) that reported relatively successful summer season was Croatia and I’m convinced this was precisely because of their focus on providing as normal experience as possible. Tourists could actually have a good time being there. Spain on the other hand…. People are not going to waste their money to feel miserable on a beach.

    It’s time for airlines to rethink their strategy. There are plenty of people like myself who are ready to pour their money into airline industry again, but only when the experience will be worth the cost again. Compare the load factors of Swiss (mask-free until August) and Lufthansa in Q2 – LX performed much better. When we have introduced this nonsense mask requirement (even on domestic and intra-Scandinavian flights, where no one normally wears it) the booking rates have instantly dropped. The same was the case with mask requirement onboard Helsingor-Helsingborg ferry.

    Also please get familiar with these scientific studies proving that universal mask requirement is just a propaganda stunt with no real effects:

    1 J Xiao, E Shiu, et al. Nonpharmaceutical measures for pandemic influenza in non-healthcare settings – personal protective and environmental measures. Centers for Disease Control. 26(5); 2020 May.

    2 J Brainard, N Jones, et al. Facemasks and similar barriers to prevent respiratory illness such as COVID19: A rapid systematic review. MedRxiv. 2020 Apr 1.

    3 L Radonovich M Simberkoff, et al. N95 respirators vs medical masks for preventing influenza among health care personnel: a randomized clinic trial. JAMA. 2019 Sep 3. 322(9): 824-833.

    4 J Jacobs, S Ohde, et al. Use of surgical face masks to reduce the incidence of the common cold among health care workers in Japan: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Infect Control. 2009 Jun; 37(5): 417-419.

    5 M Viola, B Peterson, et al. Face coverings, aerosol dispersion and mitigation of virus transmission risk.,
    6 H Jung, J Kim, et al. Comparison of filtration efficiency and pressure drop in anti-yellow sand masks, quarantine masks, medical masks, general masks, and handkerchiefs. Aerosol Air Qual Res. 2013 Jun. 14:991-1002.

    7 C MacIntyre, H Seale, et al. A cluster randomized trial of cloth masks compared with medical masks in healthcare workers. BMJ Open. 2015; 5(4)
    8 N Shimasaki, A Okaue, et al. Comparison of the filter efficiency of medical nonwoven fabrics against three different microbe aerosols. Biocontrol Sci. 2018; 23(2). 61-69.

    9 T Tunevall. Postoperative wound infections and surgical face masks: A controlled study. World J Surg. 1991 May; 15: 383-387.

    10 N Orr. Is a mask necessary in the operating theatre? Ann Royal Coll Surg Eng 1981: 63: 390-392.

    11 N Mitchell, S Hunt. Surgical face masks in modern operating rooms – a costly and unnecessary ritual? J Hosp Infection. 18(3); 1991 Jul 1. 239-242.

    12 C DaZhou, P Sivathondan, et al. Unmasking the surgeons: the evidence base behind the use of facemasks in surgery. JR Soc Med. 2015 Jun; 108(6): 223-228.

    13 L Brosseau, M Sietsema. Commentary: Masks for all for Covid-19 not based on sound data. U Minn Ctr Inf Dis Res Pol. 2020 Apr 1.
    14 S Rengasamy, B Eimer, et al. Simple respiratory protection – evaluation of the filtration performance of cloth masks and common fabric materials against 20-1000 nm size particles. Ann Occup Hyg. 2010 Oct; 54(7): 789-798.

    15 S Bae, M Kim, et al. Effectiveness of surgical and cotton masks in blocking SARS-CoV-2: A controlled comparison in 4 patients. Ann Int Med. 2020 Apr 6.
    16 W Kellogg. An experimental study of the efficacy of gauze face masks. Am J Pub Health. 1920. 34-42.

    17 M Klompas, C Morris, et al. Universal masking in hospitals in the Covid-19 era. N Eng J Med. 2020; 382 e63.

    18 E Person, C Lemercier et al. Effect of a surgical mask on six minute walking distance. Rev Mal Respir. 2018 Mar; 35(3):264-268.

    19 B Chandrasekaran, S Fernandes. Exercise with facemask; are we handling a devil’s sword – a physiological hypothesis. Med Hypothese. 2020 Jun 22. 144:110002.

    20 P Shuang Ye Tong, A Sugam Kale, et al. Respiratory consequences of N95-type mask usage in pregnant healthcare workers – A controlled clinical study. Antimicrob Resist Infect Control. 2015 Nov 16; 4:48.

    21 T Kao, K Huang, et al. The physiological impact of wearing an N95 mask during hemodialysis as a precaution against SARS in patients with end-stage renal disease. J Formos Med Assoc. 2004 Aug; 103(8):624-628.

    22 F Blachere, W Lindsley et al. Assessment of influenza virus exposure and recovery from contaminated surgical masks and N95 respirators. J Viro Methods. 2018 Oct; 260:98-106.

    23 A Rule, O Apau, et al. Healthcare personnel exposure in an emergency department during influenza season. PLoS One. 2018 Aug 31; 13(8): e0203223.
    24 A Chughtai, S Stelzer-Braid, et al. Contamination by respiratory viruses on our surface of medical masks used by hospital healthcare workers. BMC Infect Dis. 2019 Jun 3; 19(1): 491.

    25 L Zhiqing, C Yongyun, et al. J Orthop Translat. 2018 Jun 27; 14:57-62.
    26 A Beder, U Buyukkocak, et al. Preliminary report on surgical mask induced deoxygenation during major surgery. Neurocirugia. 2008; 19: 121-126.

    27 D Lukashev, B Klebanov, et al. Cutting edge: Hypoxia-inducible factor 1-alpha and its activation-inducible short isoform negatively regulate functions of CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes. J Immunol. 2006 Oct 15; 177(8) 4962-4965.

    28 A Sant, A McMichael. Revealing the role of CD4+ T-cells in viral immunity. J Exper Med. 2012 Jun 30; 209(8):1391-1395.

  4. I’d prefer to start seeing less pointless theater and not more. Instead of upscaling hygiene theater, we should be downscaling security theater and eliminating the wasteful and corrupt TSA.

    Hotels and airlines should be investing in air filtration and purification, rather than wasting time, effort, and money on surface sanitizing practices that do nothing to slow or stop the spread of an airbone pathogen.

    The Atlantic actually for once did a fairly thorough job of researching and communicating the danger of misdirected hygiene theater:

  5. I’d like to see more investment in touchless tech and policies. Less door handles, push buttons, pens, etc.

    I’d also like more/better access to public bathrooms and hand sanitizer.

    If staff can respect my six foot bubble, or wear a mask properly when they can’t, I’ll respect the business.

    If I see staff wipe their nose and then carry on without washing, I will not respect the business.

    I don’t need a business to spend all their time wiping down everything in sight and giving everyone a medical exam before they enter. I just need to see that they understand that there is a pandemic and will respect me enough to stand back, minimize contact and wash their hands regularly.

  6. Masks are complete theater, but they work because they remind people to keep distance and practice better hygiene. I dont mind having to wear one on a plane or anytime im in public, its a small sacrifice to make, and i will vote to try to end having to wear one but for now i have no problem with mask or hygiene theater because its working in the US.

  7. The stupidity of this country – making masks an issues.

    Masks are proven effective – cherry pick all the questionable and disproven studies you want. Masks work. End of story. They also have the positive side effect of when you see someone flaunting their non-mask wearing idiocy, you know to stay away from them, because you know they aren’t taking the virus seriously.

    Temperature checks are pointless and need to stop. I’ve been turned away from service at places after walking there in the sun, resulting in slightly higher temperature. They don’t catch asymptomatic people and they do “catch” people that aren’t a risk.

  8. Theater is everywhere. Look at the NFL. It fined several coaches hundreds of thousands of dollars because they were nor wearing masks on the sidelines of the game. At the same time dozens of players were socializing on the bench without any masks and that was OK. And the coaches spend time with all players on the locker room, practices, etc.. Oh and BTW, every single person that is allowed on the field has to be tested negative for COVID. Thus, that is a perfect example of a theater just to show on TV.

  9. @Bob – I’m not American. I live in Europe and am surprised that in the USA you tend to make such fuss about the masks, including banning non-masked passengers. Here nothing like that happens, SK flight attendants are told not to enforce any mask rules onboard. Same in case of LX and B2, even LH is very lenient in practice. And guess what – Sweden, Finland, Estonia and Belarus – the most anti-mask countries have the best results. There’s not any “second wave” in these countries. Masks are very dangerous, as they create a false sense of security and cause people to spread the virus even more.

  10. This is ok for now, but I’m concerned about the long term impact. We’re still dealing nearly 20 years later with the security theater brought on by 9/11, despite the fact that the terrorists complied with all security protocols at the time and carried the box cutters through security.

    I’m worried that we’ll still have this hysteria long after COVID is under control, with all of the awkward and pointless rules that go along with it, not to mention all of the plastic and waste from disposable and protected everything. I can appreciate wanting to signal that Marriott takes safety seriously, but not to the point that it instills a false sense of security for measures that don’t actually work and may stick around forever only in the name of optics.

  11. Johan, you’ve cited a number of articles that are not relevant to COVID-19 as a pathogen, but primarily in the operating theater, and influenza. The few COVID articles that you did cite are in the early months of the pandemic. As the understanding of the novel virus expanded, there is sufficient evidence to show that PROPER use of a mask is effective in prevention of transmission, particularly since evidence is emerging of droplet/aerosol transmission.

    Proper hygiene measures are very important. Hand washing, for an appropriate amount of time with high frequency. Being aware of your surroundings and not crowding with people. Washing your hands BEFORE removing your mask so that your contaminated hands may not touch your face. Proper sanitation of household and frequently touched points at businesses etc. Honestly, if we were to maintain standard practices for a consistent period of time, we would get this under control. We just have too many people who want to live a “normal” life during a pandemic, which is reckless at best. In the US, we’ve had so many super spreader events, where people who didn’t attend crowded events have died due to the choices of others. I like to think of it this way: do you NEED to do _____? Or do you WANT to? Consider the lives of those who you will put in harm’s way. It’s not just yourself and your immediate contacts, its the grocery workers, those who stock shelves, drive Ubers, man gas stations, cook food at restaurants, the ground staff at an airport, TSA, gate check crew, pilots, cabin crew, fellow passengers, etc. These are the individuals you should consider.

    Wearing a mask can be uncomfortable, I’ll admit it. But everyone, please think of it this way: if you are anti mask, and are right, there’s no harm done to you by wearing a mask (plenty of evidence on that too), and if you’re wrong, you’ll have still protected your fellow human beings. That’s all that’s being asked here…be empathetic and caring about others. High probability of benefit with near nonexistent harm.

    The sooner we can just be kind and look out for one another, the sooner we can eliminate this pandemic.

    Oh and those who may wonder about my own authority to discuss this stuff, I have a PhD, masters and fellowship in Epidemiology.

    Here are some additional citations:


  12. Johan, we have higher rates than most of Europe. Any yes, a lot of Europe has done well because of other measures taken. Here in the US there is a high rate of obesity and other chronic health conditions that change the population makeup. What may have worked in some parts of Europe, won’t work in the US due to other compounding factors.

    Also, airlines faced another problem: the end of in-person business travel. Here in the US business travel is one of the prime reasons for travel. Don’t look to governments to give accurate reads of the risk, look at large companies, most have suspended or curtailed travel and office work. Why? Because they can see the risk. The entire nature of work is changing here and Its going to be a bit of a shock for us all, airlines included.

    I do agree that masks make you think its more ok, and I worry that as we haven’t been into winter yet, that a second wave will come in November/December when people try to congregate indoors more.

    Masks though are shown to have a positive effect on your viral outcome and help slow the spread. In a country where we have a hard time thinking about others, we have to be forced. People travel sick all the time here and cancelling work for illness is often not done. We have a different mindset and I think you need to put yourself in an American’s shoes to fully see why things are the way they are here. Look at the string of incidents where COVID-19 positive people flew in March. That would, and probably will happen. If a mask keeps them from spewing even a portion of viral particles, then great.

    Also, Sweden, Belarus, and Estonia have how many people per square mile? Its apples to oranges and you can’t apply those lessons in much less dense countries. China probably is the only country with comparable results and they had to do a full strict lockdown and require masks.

    All the anti-masking stuff reminds me of the Glavset trolls you see supporting the president on Facebook. Get your ducks in a row and stop the false equivalencies.

  13. All of the evidence is pointing to this thing being airborne (which the CDC finally admitted until being politically pressured to flip-flop), meaning that plexiglass, 6 foot rules, etc. don’t work any better than they would for measles.

    What works? Ventilation, masks and limiting exposure to other people. The problem is that hotels, with their energy efficient designs, recirculate air, and they attract large numbers of people. They’re one of the least safe places to be and
    putting up plexiglass everywhere and bottles of hand sanitizer out won’t fix this.

    The entire response to this virus has been about what we wish would be convenient versus doing the hard work to contain it. And that’s why the US is basically a plague ship right now, and our passports are useless. Everything the government is doing is about trying to force us to get sick as quickly as possible, but for some reason the population isn’t going along with just accepting they need to die for the economy and is staying home. Go figure.

  14. @Johan did you read those articles? They do not say what you said they say. For instance, one is comparing N95 masks to medical masks in efficacy against the flu (saying they work equally) and another is comparing the way scientists test mask efficacy (some methods use a larger particle for testing which may make results less accurate for particular viruses). Those don’t mean masks don’t work. I hope others tried to wade through those scientific articles before agreeing with you or seeing them as validation for not wearing masks.

  15. Just remember – there are ~3% of scientists who don’t really think climate change/global warming is real…same ~3% probably keeps getting quoted in all these anti-mask “studies”

  16. @JBJ The population density is irrelevant, because anyways vast majority of Swedes and Belarusians live in large cities, i.e. Stockholm/Gothenburg + Minsk/Gomel/Hrodna, where density is quite high. In the countryside there’s almost no one.

    And speaking of masks – in Spain and France masks are mandatory everywhere. Why do these 2 countries have such big rises in covid cases (compared to maskless countries), if masks are actually effective?

    Furthermore, use of masks might lead to increased number of bacterial and viral infections – as shown by a research done by a Swiss consumer magazine:

  17. Is it important for the associate behind a glass shield to also wear a mask?

    Actually, yes. While the glass shield stops larger particles, the growing consensus amongst scientists is that COVID can be transmitted via aerosolized particles that hang in the air. This means that people who don’t wear masks could be expelling clouds of the virus, that are then spread around by poor air circulation and filtration. While larger droplets are affected by gravity, and have a short spread distance of approximately six feet (though more when coughing, singing, shouting, etc…), aerosolized particles can be transmitted very far, or simply hang around in the air for someone to inhale.

  18. I don’t get why people don’t see the anecdotal evidence and put two and two together. Forget the experts, just look at anecdotal stuff.

    Massive house parties, no social distancing and a few weeks later they trace a number of cases to that party.

    Cruise ships start sailing, COVID outbreaks onboard.

    Like, hello?!?! Social distancing and all the other measures have to be working, at least partially. It really, really, really boggles my mind that morons can’t see and accept this.

  19. People in Scandinavian countries have a high degree of trust for the government. Things don’t need to be mandated. Most people follow government recommendations because they trust it. It’s a completely different story in other European countries; and in the US, the government is highly distrusted. Scandinavian countries rely on the citizenry’s trust and their approach has been a herd immunity one more than anything else. Kids at school are being obsessively told to wash hands. My best friend’s kids, the poor kiddos have their hands all trashed because of all the hand washing, but you gotta do what you gotta do. In Sweden people were up in arms about elderly in care facilities who were dropping like flies.

  20. The correlation between the “masks are a total hoax and don’t work” people and the “QAnon is totally a thing! The Elite and Deep State is all about pedophilia and organ harvesting galore!” people is like .99

  21. @Terry: Actually, the difference is that Marriott manages a majority of its upscale branded properties internationally whereas the vast majority of branded properties in North America are managed by third-party operators or franchisees. That’s the problem –– and it was a problem before coronavirus in terms of consistent elite status benefit delivery. Think the breakfast benefit. Marriott focused on quantity at the expense of quality. It simply has too many third-party operators and franchisee-managed properties to take control and improve standards. This is the biggest downfall with licensing and franchising.

  22. Honestly I am tired of the theatre. I find it ridiculous for someone behind a glass partition having to wear a mask just for looks or to “set a good example.” I get your point on how it sets a higher standard but it also serves to drive home the heavy fear attitude that I have seen prevail.

    My observation is that this virus has probably weakened. I have now known a large number of college age people who have had Covid and all were through it in a matter of days. It was less than the flu for them. For the vulnerable, they should protect themselves and also make sure they follow the advice that Fauci gave to Jennifer Garner recently in an interview in which he said, “If you’re deficient in vitamin D, that does have an impact on your susceptibility to infection,” “I would not mind recommending, and I do it myself, taking vitamin D supplements.” He also mentioned that he takes vitamin C as well in the interview.

  23. I’m surprised that my comment was moderated out as there was nothing offensive in it but I will repeat the most important part in anyway as it may help someone. That is my intention when I comment, to help in one way or another. Please excuse the fact that it may seem off topic but I’m guessing that the more on-topic part was apparently a problem for the moderator for whatever reason.

    In an interview with Jennifer Garner on instagram Live last week Anthony Fauci said the following when asked about immune boosting supplements.

    “If you are deficient in vitamin D, that does have an impact on your susceptibility to infection. So I would not mind recommending, and I do it myself taking vitamin D supplements.” He went on to say the following as well. “The other vitamin that people take is vitamin C because it’s a good antioxidant, so if people want to take a gram or so of vitamin C, that would be fine.”

  24. From all I’ve read masks are about 30% more effective than no mask at slowing spread. They are very far from perfect. Ok, fine…wear the mask in public for now.

    But besides that, WHO, CD and others reported months ago that surface transmission is very near zero. So all the wiping with clorox is nice but does nothing for c19 transmission. So, bring back the coffee makers, electric kettles, glassware, minibar f&b for crissakes!

  25. @SF:

    “Wearing a mask can be uncomfortable, I’ll admit it. But everyone, please think of it this way: if you are anti mask, and are right, there’s no harm done to you by wearing a mask (plenty of evidence on that too), and if you’re wrong, you’ll have still protected your fellow human beings. That’s all that’s being asked here…be empathetic and caring about others. High probability of benefit with near nonexistent harm. ”

    I don’t think you could have said this any more perfectly.

    Thank you!

  26. How is making the stay more miserable a good business strategy is beyond me. I’ll either choose a limited service property, or a property that actually offers some service. I will not pay full service rates for no service. Being in Europe, I find small local hotels the best choice these days – and I’m saying that as someone who has always preferred chain hotels. I still get stationary in my room, proper housekeeping and amenities.

    By the way, MikeSL999’s post is spot on. These meassures that are meant to make all the difference make very little difference in real life. Mask-less countries are among the best performing ones in Europe these days. Go figure.

  27. Also, if customer confidence is the problem, how is marketing hotels as an unsafe places that need almost war-like meassures a good idea? Shouldn’t hotels present themselves as a safe space?

  28. I am worried about if what they plan to do is actually useful or if it’s just for PR and marketing.

    1. They need to consider what their affiliated properties in some of the most affected areas of the world with the virus are doing and when. (e.g. virus is relatively contained in China now, but you can pinpoint a time before which is similar and learn what measure to be taken)

    2. If the procedures are not or over the top as compared to in these highly infected places, then it’s for PR and marketing.

    Related, how much of their practices really do something. One could argue that the TSA example is just something people need to deal with if they want to fly, but does me taking more liquids on the plane really make it safer? Does me taking off my shoes really check anything? Let’s face it, the US is one of the FEW countries where taking off one’s shoes is required. Even some other places only do it for US bound flights. Some international destinations also have a more detailed bag checking process for US bound flights.

    Ultimately I think it’s about if what they are doing is effective but also serving the customer. Some properties, for example, have alternative arrangements if the lounge is closed due to the virus, for example. And even in the most heavily affected places with the virus, very extreme measure such as plexi-glass were not implemented.

    The hotels have an advantage that they can learn from those properties within their network.

  29. Tough issue. For me personally I am taking my first trip since March next month and I crave a bit of normality. I will wear my mask abroad and be responsible by quarantining for 2 weeks when I get home. I wish however for the airlines and hotels kept the minimum number of restrictions and changes that they need to operate safely. I realize many people traveling may feel differently and be in a high risk category. A lot of those people may be traveling for emergencies or family visits they can’t miss. As a person in a low risk category, I follow all the rules but get annoyed when they are taken to the extreme. I am especially annoyed with Turkish airlines. I am only taking them because I have a credit from a flight they canceled in May (booked pre-covid), and I couldn’t easily get cash back. Two cold boxed lunches and drinks on demand aren’t acceptable for business class. If Lufthansa can figure out how to do it safely why can’t Turkish. I probably will actively avoid them in the future as I feel ripped of. Just like I will never book with Expedia again. Hours long hold time to use the credit and they are still blaming COVID as if the pandemic just started yesterday and they have not had over 6 months to improve.

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