New cleaning protocols related to Covid-19 could cost the hotel industry up to $9 billion annually, according to a recent report from Hotel Asset Value Enhancement (hotelAVE), a leading hotel asset management company. The firm’s operational efficiency division (“Post Script”) linked the costs to increased cleaning of rooms and public spaces, new supply costs, and reopening expenses.
The average housekeeper will take an additional 507 minutes to clean check-out rooms to new standards. Hotels with an average length-of-stay (LOS) of under 1.9 nights will see an incremental increase in total payroll. (The average US hotel has 150 rooms, 66% occupancy, and 1.8 day LOS).
High-touch, non-porous surface such as door knobs, light switches, and remote controls will require added attention. The process to remove and launder terry and bedding will be different, and new processes will require the use of electrostatic equipment to spray soft goods and hard-to-clean areas.
The Post Script report estimates that public spaces will need as much as 50% more labor to clean. The firm recommends reducing the footprint of public areas and “transforming” complimentary breakfast buffets.
Hotels will see a projected 30% increase in cleaning supply costs, due to greater frequency of use and more expensive products. The report expects an additional $3.00 per occupied room for in-room personal sanitizers and PPE required for room cleaning. Post Script recommends reducing the amount of in-room terry and removing infrequently used items.
Hotels will also incur one-time reopening expenses. The average US hotel will have to budget approximately $30,000 for hand sanitizer stations, plexiglass barriers, new signage, floor markers for social distancing, and other products.
The report also notes that hotels will have to adapt to changing consumer expectations and behavior, with less frequent face-to-face interaction and more technology utilization. Such changes could take the form of mobile check-in and reduced bell staff usage.
“It is absolutely necessary for hotels to reimagine many fundamental standards and practices if they expect to address guest concerns and eventually recover profitably,” Michelle Russo, CEO of hotelAVE, said. “Rather than assuming that new cleaning and social distancing protocols require additional staff and operating costs, owners, asset managers and operational efficiency experts should quantify a customized solution for each hotel in order to install the necessary cleaning and sanitation protocols, mitigate additional costs and adapt to changing consumer behaviors.”