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Here’s Marriott’s plan to fight coronavirus at its hotels

April 21, 2020
5 min read
Here’s Marriott’s plan to fight coronavirus at its hotels
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The world's largest hotel chain has shared the details of its approach for strengthening the cleanliness standards at its hotels as it prepares for a gradual reopening of many countries in the Western world.

Just yesterday, TPG predicted that hotel chains would have to begin publicly stating what steps they'll take to combat the spread of the virus at their hotels to assuage the fears of potential guests who are hesitant to return to hotels where hundreds of people stay, and where each room has dozens of touchpoints, like faucets and TV remotes, that could act as spreaders of disease.

(Photo by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy)

Related: How hotels can assure cleanliness after coronavirus

Now, Marriott has become the first of the major hotel chains to communicate specific steps it will take to better prepare its hotels to fight against the spread of the novel coronavirus. It has established the Marriott Global Cleanliness Council, which is, according to a company press release, "focused on developing the next level of global hospitality cleanliness standards, norms and behaviors that are designed to minimize risk and enhance safety for consumers and Marriott associates alike."

Led by Marriott's Chief Global Officer, Global Operations Ray Bennett, the council includes experts both within the chain and outside of it across the entire industry, including housekeeping, engineering, food safety, occupational health and associate well-being. Mr. Bennett says that "Through the council and scientific advice of experts, [Marriott is] taking a thoughtful approach to set an even higher bar of cleanliness and [developing] new guest interaction protocols."

In addition to establishing this new council to guide and oversee the company's approach as a whole, individual hotels will take specific actions to combat the spread of the disease.

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As predicted, hotels will lean on technology to help fight back against the spread of germs. Marriott has said that it will use electrostatic sprayers to sanitize various areas of the hotels. These will be used primarily to disinfect larger spaces like guest rooms, lobbies, gyms and other public areas, and use high-grade disinfectants recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) to combat known pathogens. Additionally, UV light technology is being tested to disinfect things like room keys and other items that are shared between staff and guests and among staff members.

(Photo courtesy of Marriott)

Marriott's also going to make changes to several customer-facing aspects of a hotel stay. Guest rooms will see the addition of disinfectant wipes for personal use, and surfaces in rooms and public spaces will be cleaned more often with hospital-grade solutions.

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Hotel lobbies will see signage reminding guests to maintain social distancing, and furniture could be rearranged or removed to better comply with CDC and WHO guidelines. The chain is considering the addition of partitions between guests and front-desk agents -- and reminding guests that they can check-in on their phones at more than 3,000 properties -- as well as working with its partners to supply staff with masks and gloves. And, guests will notice hand sanitization stations at the entrances, front desks, elevators, gyms and meeting spaces.

(Photo by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy)

Finally, Marriott's changing food-safety protocols that include enhancing its sanitation guidelines and changing its guidelines for room service and rethinking buffets. On the in-room dining front, guests will be able to order through the Marriott app and have food delivered in special packaging and without contact.

Bottom line

Marriott recognizes that even if populations are given an all-clear to emerge from lockdown and begin traveling again, it's going to be a slow return to hotels, given the myriad ways through which this disease can spread.

By establishing a new corporate philosophy toward cleanliness and safety, along with implementing several consumer-facing changes, Marriott has taken the first -- and very important -- step to convince guests that its hotels will be safe to stay in, even if the experience won't be "normal" for quite some time.

Featured image by AFP via Getty Images

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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees