Reassuring attendees that a meeting environment is virus-free will be an important issue when meeting venues and hotels reopen after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Marriott International is implementing in-house strategies to sanitize accommodations, and Associated Luxury Hotels International has a partnership with Delos, the wellness company, to implement safety measures to ensure guest safety. Hilton Hotels, in partnership with the Mayo Clinic, is following Marriott International’s lead by adopting infrared and electrostatically charged disinfecting mists and an increased emphasis on its Digital Key contactless check in.
Accor S.A., Europe’s largest hospitality company, has launched a partnership with Bureau Veritas, a testing and inspection company, to introduce third-party testing of its hygiene certification programs for each of its 4,800 hotels. Accor brands, including meeting hotel chains Fairmont, Sofitel, SLS, and Delano, will introduce sanitation standards for both accommodations and catering. Once each property has passed an inspection by Bureau Veritas, it will be awarded a certificate of safe hygiene. The operational guidelines for cleaning and staff training were developed in conjunction with epidemiologists and sanitation experts, and potential clients will be able to check if a property has been certified by going to the Bureau Veritas website.
In a statement announcing the initiative, Franck Gervais, CEO of Europe Accor, said, “As the European leader in hospitality, it is our duty to anticipate needs and respond to health and safety requirements by adhering to the highest standards. We are pleased to be pioneering this drive with Bureau Veritas and to extend it to all stakeholders.”
While the new policy is likely to reassure potential clients, the main goal is to provide proof to governments considering loosening lockdown restrictions that safety measures are in place and have been certified by an independent party. Accor has properties in 100 countries including the United States, where the certification program will be introduced after an initial roll-out in France. The operational guidelines will also be made available to any hotel, meeting venue, or restaurant looking for best practices or who would like to enroll in the certification program.