Cleanliness has proven to be the top priority for those booking holidays this summer, even when staycationing within the UK. 70% of customers who have booked accommodation within the UK this summer have researched a venue’s cleanliness, and, in particular, other customer reviews on its cleanliness, before booking, compared to just 40% before the pandemic.
This came to fruition in a study of 2,000 adults as part of a research project undertaken by P&G Professional, the ‘away-from-home’ division of major home and health corporation Procter & Gamble. Despite the fact that 52% of adults polled said that they were desperate to have a summer holiday this year, 50% said that they have put off booking anything because of concerns over the hygiene and cleanliness of hotels and Bed and Breakfasts.
It seems that as a nation we are torn between catching some summer rays and relaxing away from home, for most of us for the first time in over a year, and worrying about feeling potentially unsafe and laying our trust in terms of hygiene in the hands of others. This is undoubtedly the result of increased knowledge about germs and hygiene because of COVID-19 and the sharing of scientific knowledge in order to keep us safe. But this knowledge, it seems, will last much longer than coronavirus and mean that many of us will have much higher standards of cleanliness in general, not just in terms of COVID-19.
P&G’s research showed that 78% of hotel guests believe cleanliness is the number one factor affecting their choice of where to stay. Crucially, the research also showed that in the post-pandemic world, 35% of people admit that they would be put off by a hotel or accommodation venue if they couldn’t see any visible cleaning taking place. Interestingly, 22% of holiday-makers also said that they are more likely to book a hotel if they know that it uses cleaning brands and materials that they trust. One in five customers even said that they would pack their own cleaning products to give a room a once over clean before they unpack to ensure it is up to their standard of cleanliness.
When breaking down the results of the survey, those asked also revealed their specific gripes about hotel cleanliness and what they would look for first when judging the cleanliness of a room. Interestingly, these gripes and worries were not coronavirus-specific, but more general observations about visible stains and smells. According to the study dirty bedsheets are likely to make 71% of guests walk out, closely followed by a dirty bathroom at 69%, a bad-smelling room at 65% and stained carpets at 39%. This transpires that, a quarter of holiday-makers would make a decision and be put off in under a minute of walking into a hotel room or any accommodation if the cleanliness was not up to standard.
In fact, it seems that the pandemic has had significant and, it potentially, long-lasting effects on public standards and judgements of cleanliness. Cleanliness has, of course always been an important factor in booking accommodation when on holiday, but this research does suggest that our hygiene-sensors have been heightened as a result of a pandemic. This, inevitably, means that hotels and venues will have two work three times as hard to make sure their cleaning standards are up to scratch if they want to impress and retain customers.
In order to support independent hotels, guest-houses and Bed and Breakfasts, P&G have teamed up with legendary hotelier Marco Pierre White to help holidaymakers enjoy a safe and clean staycation this summer. These venues can display a ‘CleanPLUS’ experience sticker within their accommodation and across their website, to demonstrate their gold standard in hygiene and that everywhere is cleaned to the highest level using known and trusted brands. This is an easy and effective way of reassuring customers that this a a safe place to stay and, particularly somewhere that puts their cleanliness standards, and the opinion of their guests, as their top priority.