DIV12/18: Hotel Research Endorses Hygiene Link To Reviews & Recommendations (19 July 2012)

Issue Date: 19 July 2012
Ref: DIV12/18

Bedrooms and bathrooms were the most critical areas for guests when forming their opinions about hotel cleanliness.

Cleanliness of guest bedrooms and bathrooms is critical

Almost seventy percent of hotel guests said that cleanliness and hygiene was the most important factor when making recommendations to friends and colleagues, according to research completed across Europe by Hotel School The Hague in conjunction with Sealed Air’s Diversey business. The research also shows that most people now make their decisions on where to stay using online rating sites and leave bad online reviews or tell their friends if they encounter poor conditions. The cleanliness and appearance of bedrooms and bathrooms were the most critical areas for guests when forming their opinions.

“This research confirms our understanding of the critical areas to keep clean and the specific tasks that are vital to making that all-important first impression to guests,” says Lill Kleven, Global Hospitality Sector Marketing Lead for Sealed Air’s Diversey business. “Bedrooms and bathrooms are critical to guest perceptions and by keeping these areas clean, fresh and hygienic hotels can go some way towards improving their reputations and building a loyal customer base.”

The research was completed during 2011 by interview with almost 700 people in five major EU countries – the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy. Almost 70% of those interviewed put cleanliness as the biggest factor affecting their recommendations followed some way behind by value for money. Bedrooms and bathrooms were critical areas when guests form a first impression of a hotel. Overall, 29% said bedroom cleanliness was most important and a further 18% said it was the bathroom. The welcome by the staff was the third biggest influence. Cleanliness was more important to women and leisure guests.

Guests were also asked about which aspects of cleanliness they expected the hotel to always get right in bedrooms and bathrooms. In bedrooms the three most important factors were clean linen, no evidence of previous guests and absence of bad smells or odours. In bathrooms, over three quarters said cleanliness of the toilet seat and pan was a factor and almost half said it was the most important. Products from Diversey’s Room Care range are available for these and other tasks where they give superior and sustainable cleaning performance.

The majority said they used online review sites or recommendations from friends and colleagues when choosing where to stay. In total, 46% said review sites were the most important source of information and a further 28% cited personal recommendations as the biggest influence. This suggests that hotels which neglect cleaning in key areas risk poor reviews which will affect repeat and new bookings.

The research also investigated interviewees’ own experiences and what they did as a result. Two thirds had stayed in a hotel that was not clean although for the vast majority this had not happened often. However, 82% had told family and friends about their experience, 75% were put off returning and 72% recommended family and friends should not stay there.

The full research provides a complete view of the importance hotel guests place on hygiene, from the building exterior to the cleanliness of the glass in the bathroom. It has enabled Hotel School The Hague and Sealed Air’s Diversey business to make evidence-based recommendations to hotels that help increase guest satisfaction, retention and guest recommendations. The results echo those of research into restaurant appearance conducted by Sealed Air’s Diversey business a few years ago. This showed that 37% of people who enter a dirty restaurant leave immediately and a further 23% order but leave before completing their meal. Almost two thirds said they would never go back.

“This latest reaffirms our belief in the connection between cleanliness, hygiene and customer behaviour and shows that focusing on just a few key areas has major implications for guest recommendations,” says Lill Kleven. “With products such as our Room Care range we offer everything housekeepers need to introduce simpler, superior and sustainable cleaning that really does make a difference.”

Note to Editors: Hotelschool The Hague (www.hotelschool.nl): Hotelschool The Hague, was founded in 1929 and has two campuses, one in The Hague and one in Amsterdam. The School ranks amongst the leading institutes worldwide offering degrees (Bachelor and Master) in Hospitality Management and is well known for its excellent research centre. Graduates of Hotelschool The Hague occupy top positions in the hospitality industry all over the world. In 2002, in collaboration with ‘The Leading Hotels of the World’ Hotelschool, Hotelschool The Hague set up the association ‘The Leading Hotel Schools of the World’.