As part of what it states as, ‘its continued dedication to lead the hospitality industry in customer care, Best Western International is rolling out its I Care Clean program throughout 2012 that will bring advanced cleaning technologies used in hospitals, such as UV wands and black lights, to the more than 2,100 Best Western hotels in North America.’
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As part of this I Care Clean program roll-out, housekeeping staff at Best Western hotels in North America will be empowered to exceed customer expectations in an entirely new way using the following tools to clean guest rooms and common areas:
* Ultra violet (UV) sterilisation wands are used to sterilise ‘high touch points’ in the hotel such as telephones, clocks, light switches, door handles, bathroom fixtures and common areas.
* UV inspection black lights are used as part of the housekeeper inspection process to detect any biological matter, food particles, and more, that the human eye cannot see.
* Clean remotes or wraps for the remote control device are designed specifically to make it easy to clean and disinfect before each guest stay.
* Pillow and blanket wraps are wrapped in 100 percent recyclable and biodegradable single use wraps to ensure guests know that these products have been cleaned just for them.
“A clean hotel is a basic expectation for guests and rightly so,” said Ron Pohl, Best Western senior vice president brand management and member services. “We are unlocking the potential of the housekeeping profession by providing new tools and training to help ensure customer satisfaction, loyalty and ultimately trust. We believe this program will help us do just that.”
Best Western originated this new cleaning initiative after partnering with innovation and design firm, IDEO, whose research identified a lack of consumer confidence regarding hotel cleanliness within the mid-scale hotel market. This was supported by additional research conducted by Booz and Company, which discovered that the importance of a clean and well-maintained hotel has become the number one priority for guests—surpassing customer service.
“Through our consumer research, we found that no one hotel chain in the midscale category was recognised by consumers as being cleaner than others,” noted Pohl. “This intrigued us, as we saw a real opportunity to lead the industry with advanced cleaning practices and recognised products. This program is our way of re-engineering housekeeping efforts to provide superior customer care to each and every one of our guests night in and night out.”
Prior to the comprehensive program roll-out in 2012, Best Western implemented a pilot program to test the new cleaning tools at select properties across North America. Guest satisfaction scores at properties trained to use the new tools increased substantially, including a 13.3 percent increase in ‘overall experience’, a 12 percent increase in ‘cleanliness of room’, and a 12.4 percent jump in ‘intent to recommend’.
In addition to implementing the cleaning program, Best Western is also exploring a collaborative service program for housekeeping to better serve its guests and their individual needs. Best Western-led research showed that its guests at times perceive housekeeping as an inconvenience during their stay. Given this, the brand is building a collaborative service process so guests can choose the time they want their room cleaned (morning or afternoon) and the level of service they would like performed.
“We’ve seen that thorough cleaning between stays and then putting customers in charge of their housekeeping options during their stays results in a higher level of guest satisfaction,” Pohl emphasised.