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Hotel hygiene ‘critical’ to avoid negative online reviews

By Luke Nicholls , 20-Jul-2012
Last updated on 20-Jul-2012 at 16:18 GMT2012-07-20T16:18:50Z

Almost seventy per cent of hotel guests believe cleanliness and hygiene to be the most important factor when making recommendations about a hotel to friends and colleagues, a survey has found.

The Hague hotel school found that the cleanliness and appearance of bedrooms and bathrooms in hotels across Europe were the most critical areas for guests when forming their opinions and leaving bad reviews online.

“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, which helped compile the survey.

“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.”

Overall, 29 per cent said bedroom cleanliness was most important and a further 18 per cent said it was the bathroom. The welcome by the staff was the third biggest influence.

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.

The Hotel Inspector

When it came to a guests decision about where to stay, 46 per cent said review sites were the most important source of information and a further 28 per cent cited personal recommendations as the biggest influence.

The news follows a recent interview with hotelier Alex Polizzi. Ahead of the ninth series of her Channel 5 TV show The Hotel Inspector, Polizzi told BigHospitlaity that hotel owners at venues she’s visits are continuing to make the same mistakes around cleanliness and service.

The survey results also echo those of research into restaurant appearance conducted by Sealed Air’s Diversey business a few years ago. That survey showed that 37 per cent of people who enter a dirty restaurant leave immediately and a further 23 per cent 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,” added Kleven.