Road Tripping in 2020
Note: This post is sponsored by Ecolab.
This summer we’ve been in the car over 100 hours, traveling around the U.S. Southwest. Over three months we’ve stayed in 11 hotels, lodges and resorts and dined in at least 30 restaurants. And we’ve seen a wide range of pandemic-related cleaning and safety protocols.
Did we feel safe? Yes, or we wouldn’t have been traveling. We wore masks every time we were around other people, and all activities were outside. But when it came to our hotels and restaurants, there were only so many things we could see as guests.
Hotels and COVID-19
Throughout the summer, I tracked 11 elements of hotel and room cleanliness that I could see, and there was no one category where every hotel conducted its operations the same. Specifically:
- Nine hotels had hand sanitizer publicly available.
- Two hotels provided hand sanitizer in the room.
- One hotel didn’t have hand sanitizer available that we could see.
- Only one hotel provided masks for guests.
- Six hotels provided in-room written information on their COVID protocols.
- Seven hotels had public signage up, mostly concerning mask requirements.
- Five hotels had plexiglass at the front desks.
- At nine hotels the front desk staff were wearing masks. One hotel had a completely contactless check-in procedure, so we never saw employees. And at one hotel employees were not wearing masks.
- Eight hotels had in-room coffee available, but only four had pens and paper.
- Two hotels still conducted daily housekeeping, but most had temporarily suspended it.
But what about things like linens, toiletries and key cards? Were the hotels doing anything specific to assure cleanliness? I spoke with one General Manager who indicated that his hotel was only using new key cards, and that after check-out they were disposing of everything small in the room that a guest may have touched, including pens, paper, toiletries and unopened water bottles. At the other hotels, I have no idea what the procedure was. Could those water bottles in our room have been there for the previous guests? And should I be nervous about if they were? I had no idea.
Restaurants and COVID-19
Restaurants this summer were more consistent, with the vast majority encouraging dining outside and spacing tables at least six feet apart. Our server at one restaurant wasn’t wearing a mask, but all others were – although sometimes their masks were below their noses. When we could see into kitchens, it looked like around 80% of cooks were wearing masks. Virtually all restaurants had hand sanitizer available at the entrance, and one had it at the table. But we could only see so much from a guest perspective and honestly, I didn’t know what we should be looking for.
Introducing Ecolab Science Certified
Ecolab, for those who don’t know, is the global leader in water, hygiene and infection prevention solutions and services. Ecolab might not be well known to most consumers, but they’re right there, behind the scenes, advancing cleaner, safer practices that help hospitality and foodservice businesses meet a high standard of cleanliness so guests can feel safe and enjoy their experiences. And now they have their Ecolab Science Certified™ program for hotels and restaurants. If you see that a hotel, restaurant or other business displays the Ecolab Science Certified seal, it means:
- They’re using a program that features hospital disinfection products, known to be effective against coronavirus germs, to help reduce the risk of exposure on high-traffic surfaces.
- They’ve been provided science-based policies and procedures grounded in research from over 1,200 scientists, engineers and technical experts.
- They’re subject to periodic audits by Ecolab to confirm that these standards are being met.
How great is that? I’ve received a lot of questions from readers this summer about our travels, and many have focused on what we’re doing to further disinfect our room when we first arrive. At locations with the Ecolab Science Certified seal, we had confidence they were using science-backed products and protocols to clean our rooms and common spaces. We could relax and not worry about sanitizing everything upon arrival. And that’s good, because you’re supposed to relax when you’re on vacation!
Follow Ecolab on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to learn how they are using science to help advance cleaner, safer practices through science-backed products and protocols in the places you eat, stay and play.
This post is sponsored by Ecolab and fits in absolutely perfectly with our summer travels and what we were looking for in hotel cleanliness. All text, photos and research are mine. The photos I included aren’t meant to imply that specific properties are cleaner than others or vice versa.