In the viral age, consumer confidence is fragile, which is why Accor has invested in a user-friendly hotel hygiene certification to validate its efforts to maintain meticulous levels of cleanliness.
Spearheading the trend for Accreditation Reassurance (a term coined by Globetrender in its recent report on Hotel Trends for the Viral Age), Richard Short, Vice President Health and Security, Accor Northern Europe, discusses how the hotel group’s ALLSAFE health and safety protocols protect guests’ wellbeing and peace of mind during their stay…
How have you responded to increased ‘germaphobia’ amongst hotel guests?
“In some respects all hotels are and have always been ‘germaphobic’. Hygiene is always a top priority whether it is the safety of the food we serve, the cleanliness of the rooms or the standards of our spas. Covid-19 added an unprecedented priority to ramp up our protocols in line with the worldwide emergency.
“We were the first hotel group to formalise this into a worldwide standard called ALLSAFE because we found that one in three travellers were asking for clearer health and sanitary labels in hotels, and one in five said they would pay more for a hotel that had a recognised cleanliness initiative.”
What is ALLSAFE?
“ALLSAFE is an accreditation label that has been verified by well-known external audit companies. It represents our elevated cleanliness and safety protocols and provides assurance that these standards have been met in our hotels all over the world. During the Covid-19 pandemic, ALLSAFE has been an additional proof of quality and security so that our visitors can relax, knowing we are doing all we can to return the world to normal.
“At every touchpoint along a guest’s journey, dedicated measures have been implemented to protect our planners, delegates, guests and employees. Our attention to detail in all the right areas means the romance of foreign travel can go on. Protecting the safety and wellbeing of everyone we welcome is at the heart of what we do. That’s why we keep and develop intensified hygiene and prevention measures to ensure our guests and our staff can continue to rely on
When and why did you launch it?
“High standards of hygiene and cleanliness have been delivered across all our brands, all over the world since the founding of our business. However, the pandemic has required us to reassure our guests. Since we elevated those standards even further (on many occasions even above the local regulations),
we launched ALLSAFE in April 2020 to highlight that we have the most stringent cleaning standards and operational procedures in the hospitality industry.
“What is more, Accor’s global cleanliness and prevention standards had been developed with and vetted by Bureau Veritas, a world leader in testing, inspections and certification. The ALLSAFE label communicates to guests when these standards have been met in our hotels. Even today, all Accor hotels must apply the global and regional standards and be validated by third-party experts to achieve the ALLSAFE label.”
What enhanced health and cleanliness measures do you provide under ALLSAFE?
“Where we have enhanced the cleaning is in frequency (every four hours in public areas), method (by specifically addressing touch points) and efficiency (having fewer things to clean helps so in some cases we are removing unnecessary furniture, reducing items in rooms and making paperwork digital). We also have continued with placing hand sanitiser in public areas.”
How do you deliver hospital-grade disinfection for rooms?
“We switched to a specific antiviral disinfectant. These are certified as antiviral under international standards and are effective against both bacteria – and viruses. The ‘hospital-grade’ element means that the certified antiviral disinfectants are effective against both ‘enveloped’ and ‘non- enveloped’ viruses. This is a bit technical but very important as not all viruses are destroyed by regular antibacterial disinfectants.”
What are your objectives for the initiative?
“Our goal is to provide reassurance to our guests. With our communication strategy ‘ALLSAFE – FEEL AT HOME, FEEL SAFE’ we are reaching out to our customers with clear message of what this initiative stands for: Quality of cleanliness in our hotels; Safety and Security – based on dedicated standards such as our welcome protocols; Trust – our standards being confirmed by external parties, well-known auditors such as Bureau Veritas, SGS, Clifton and NSF; and Support – based on our partnership with insurance provider AXA, we supply a range of free medical assistance for all guests staying in an Accor hotel.”
What are you offering in terms of room service and minibars under ALLSAFE?
“Room service was part of our business long before ALLSAFE. What’s more, following recent events, I can
say without any doubt that we are experts in it. As for minibars, we can’t stock them during the pandemic as other guests might handle the bottles and then put them back.”
What are your plans for rolling out the accreditation in 2022 and beyond?
“ALLSAFE has been a huge success not only in enhancing safety and hygiene but also as a beacon of confidence. It is now embedded into Accor and it is here to stay. We expect every hotel that carries an Accor brand to have the highest standards of hygiene and all hotels will have to demonstrate this.”
What role does contactless technology play in making travel safer for hotel guests?
“Contactless technology is being used more and more in the hospitality industry, however, as hoteliers, we need to find and achieve the right balance between offering seamless technology and maintaining the human aspect of our guest experience. During the pandemic, one of our security focuses has been based on available contactless solutions to limit the time guests spend in public areas.
“We’ve invited guests to use our ‘Online Check-in/Fast Check out’ programme that reduces queuing at reception desks. Our hotels are also using different digital means of contacting guests during their stay in order to provide them with extra services. In addition to this, in all our properties, we encourage guests to use contactless payment methods. Therefore, from a security aspect, it’s a big advantage, but we don’t want to miss the chance to personally greet our guests and make them feel welcome.”
What benefits for consumers does your strategic partnership with AXA provide? How does it support guests alongside ALLSAFE?
“Since July 2020, the AXA partnership has enabled Accor guests to benefit from the highest level of care thanks to the expert medical solutions of AXA Partners, AXA’s international entity specialised in assistance services, travel insurance and credit protection.
“First and foremost, Accor guests benefit from AXA’s most recent advances in telemedicine through free access to medical teleconsultations. Guests also get access to AXA’s extensive medical networks with tens of thousands of vetted health professionals. This allows Accor hotels to make the most relevant referrals should their guests need medical support or advice during their time at any of our 5,000-plus properties across 110 destinations.
“As Accor prepares for the post-Covid travel rebound, this unique medical service complements Accor’s overall global recovery plan and is included in the enhanced health and prevention protocols that it has put in place through the ALLSAFE cleanliness label, in anticipation of the progressive reopening of its hotels across the different regions.”