Are you ready to travel once stay-at-home orders are lifted in your region? A recent survey of over 30,000 Americans suggests that:

  • 46% of Americans will travel immediately after orders are lifted;
  • 19% will wait two to six months;
  • 18% have no plans to travel;
  • 52% of those planning to travel prefer domestic trips (possibly road trips); and
  • 53% trust the travel and hospitality industry will follow safety protocols.

As for the reasons people will travel:

  • 42% want to reconnect with their loved ones;
  • 40% will travel for leisure; and
  • 8% will travel for work.

Even though it is still far too early to claim that the coronavirus pandemic is over, a number of states have already loosened lockdown rules, allowing certain businesses to reopen. Travel and hospitality companies are getting ready to welcome guests.

Hotel chains and Airbnb introduce enhanced cleanliness measures

Hilton Hotels, for example, have worked with Lysol and the Mayo Clinic to “redefine” the hygiene standards in hotels. The program called Hilton CleanStay will roll out in the brand’s 6,100 properties by June. The new measures include:

  • A room seal on the door, indicating the room has not been accessed after a thorough cleaning.
  • Performing deep, extra disinfection cleaning in 10 high-touchpoint areas inside a guest room.
  • Replacing pen, paper, and the guest directory with digital supplements, or making them available upon request.
  • Improving the guidelines for disinfecting the hotel’s fitness center.
  • Increasing the frequency of cleaning in the public areas.
  • Providing guests disinfecting wipes in high-traffic areas.
  • Expanding the mobile-app keyless option from guestrooms to other common areas inside a hotel.
  • Exploring new technologies, such as electrostatic sprayers and ultraviolet light to sanitize surfaces and objects.

Likewise, Marriott launched the Global Cleanliness Council, which will develop enhanced health and safety guidelines for its 7,300 properties. Other hotel chainexamples include Hyatt’s Global Care & Cleanliness Commitment and Accor’s New Cleanliness Label.

In the vacation rental sector, Airbnb is expected to debut new cleaning guidelines for hosts. TurnKey has released some coronavirus cleaning tips.

Restaurants shift focus to delivery and pickup services, along with other new features

Some restaurants managed to remain open by focusing on delivery and curbside pickup services under stay-at-home orders. Others began selling meal kits or even groceries in their establishments.

Starting from this month, restaurants in 12 states, such as Georgia, Florida, and Texas, are allowed to reopen their dining rooms, although not every restaurant is ready to do so. Moreover, new restrictions are likely to limit the number of patrons and party size.

McDonald’s, for instance, has not yet announced any plans to reopen the dining rooms, but the restaurant chain is now testing a new concept that is designed to combat COVID-19 spread. The trial location is in Arnhem, Netherlands, with the following new enhanced sanitation features:

  • Hand sanitizers at the entrance
  • Hand washing stations inside the restaurant
  • Designated waiting spots at 1.5 meters apart
  • Meal trolleys for table service, allowing customers to pick up the food from the trolley on their own

Airlines introduce new cleaning programs and add new restrictions on air travel

Delta introduced its Delta Clean program. Beginning in early May, all Delta aircraft will go through the fogging sanitation procedure before every flight in Delta’s network. The same procedure had been put in place for Delta’s international flights since February.

American Airlines announced enhanced cleaning procedures, which are similar to Delta’s. All aircraft will be cleaned more thoroughly and more often. The airline also plans to distribute sanitizing wipes/gels and face masks to travelers. All flight attendants are required to wear masks on flights.

Additionally, United, American, Delta, JetBlue, and Frontier have already required or will require all travelers to wear a mask to cover up their mouth and nose during flights. Other airlines, however, have not implemented such a change. Some airlines are also avoiding assigning people to sit next to one another and have ceased in-flight beverage service.

The Hong Kong airport recently debut a first-in-the-world, full-body disinfection booth, first of its kind in the world. After a temperature check, passengers will get into a full-body disinfection booth, where they will stay for 40 seconds. Inside the booth, an antimicrobial coating can kill any viruses and/or bacteria found on clothing and body. The airport also uses robots with air and ultraviolet light sterilizers to clean the public areas.

Are you feeling confident about the new enhanced sanitation measures taken by the travel and hospitality industry? If not, what else can be done? When will you be ready to travel again?