Best Western Hotels & Resorts (BWHR) was the first hotel brand to set a high level of cleanliness with the roll out the I Care Clean program in 2012. The program was developed through a partnership with innovation and design firm, IDEO, and required its hotels to focus on guest high touch items and areas with standards such as usage of ultraviolet sterilization wands and TV remotes that can be disinfected. At the onslaught of the global COVID-19 pandemic, BWHR immediately rolled out enhanced cleaning protocols and breakfast standards. Recognizing that travelers are now more concerned than ever about cleanliness, BWHR is launching the We Care CleanSM program, which ensures an even higher level of cleaning standards and operational best practices at its properties. Based upon guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Health Canada, We Care Clean addresses everything from guest room and common area cleanliness, to streamlined processes that minimize contact between guests and associates while maintaining industry-leading customer service. The program will be updated regularly based upon the latest standards and recommendations by governmental agencies and industry groups.
“The We Care Clean program is the latest example of our commitment to our guests and associates,” said David Kong, President and Chief Executive Officer for BWHR. “We have always been an industry leader in our reputation for providing clean, well-maintained accommodations for travelers and we recognize that hygiene and cleanliness have never been more important. With the We Care Clean program, we are proud to provide a safe and clean home away from home for our guests when the time comes to travel again.”
The We Care Clean program expands upon the I Care Clean standards and the enhanced cleaning protocol already in place, and includes the implementation of measures to improve safety – such as the installation of social distancing floor decals and front desk partitions – as well as the enforcement of heightened and comprehensive cleanliness standards on an ongoing basis across five key areas:
- Front Desk and Lobby:
- New protocols will minimize guest contact with personnel through a streamlined check-in and check-out process such as the use of Best Western’s Mobile Concierge platform.
- Social distancing measures will be implemented, wellness best practices signs will be prominently posted, and all lobby brochures, magazines and papers will be removed.
- Enhanced sanitization procedures will be in place at the front desk, in the lobby and across guest touch points throughout the hotel with disinfecting taking place regularly.
- Sanitizing stations or wipes will be available throughout hotels.
- Guest Room and Housekeeping:
- Unnecessary items will be removed from guest rooms, such as decorative pillows, bed scarves, paper notepads and pens.
- Housekeeping offerings will be modified for stay-over guests, including the elimination of a full cleaning service unless specifically requested by guests.
- Enhanced and thorough cleaning protocols will be implemented in guest rooms. Guest rooms will not be entered for 24 to 72 hours after check-out, at which time the room, linens and all touch points, for example, faucets, door handles, light switches, thermostats, clocks and hangers will be cleaned with chemicals aimed at killing COVID-19.
- Temporary Breakfast Offerings: While recognizing the importance of a quality breakfast, offerings have been adapted to prioritize the health and safety of guests, including:
- Breakfast offerings that comply with local regulations, with breakfast rooms closed where required to avoid unnecessary guest congregation.
- Enhanced ‘Grab & Go’ offerings will be implemented in most hotels providing guests with pre-packaged food and beverage options.
- Hotels may opt to provide a “served” or pre-plated breakfast to minimize guest contact with food, beverages and surfaces, and cross contamination.
- Public Amenities:
- When allowed to open, public amenities such as fitness centers, swimming pools and meeting rooms will be cleaned on closely monitored schedules with disinfecting chemicals. Each evening, these areas may also be sanitized with the use of electrostatic fogging, ozone generators or ultraviolet devices.
- Hand sanitizer or wipes will be provided for guests and employees in all public areas.
- Hotel Employees and Staff Requirements:
- Hotel employees will follow strict guidelines, including utilizing Personal Protective Equipment, frequent and stringent hand-washing protocols, and housekeepers/laundry staff will wear both gloves and a mask.
- Employee workstations will be cleaned and disinfected after every shift.
- Employees will be empowered to stay home if unwell, communicate their potential exposure to COVID-19 with management, and will be fully educated on how to maintain a safe and clean home.
“We Care Clean elevates our existing cleaning practices and protocols to a new level,” adds Ron Pohl, Senior Vice President and Chief Operations Officer for BWHR. “Protecting guests and employees is our highest priority and today that is most often achieved through a tremendous focus on cleaning practices. Travelers can rest easy knowing that We Care Clean is the new standard for hotel cleanliness. We are putting the safety and wellbeing of guests and employees first.”
This announcement is the latest example of BWHR’s commitment to supporting its hoteliers, guests and communities during the COVID-19 health crisis. BWHR was the first hotel company to offer a relief package to its hoteliers to help ease the financial burden during this challenging time. BWHR was also the first in the industry to extend loyalty status to its BWR members whose travel plans have been greatly impacted by travel restrictions and cancellations resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Just this month, BWHR also launched a support package to lend a helping hand to front line workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.