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There is no doubt that the world as we know it was irrevocably changed after the first quarter of 2020. Thousands of brick and mortar stores have filed for bankruptcy since quarantine went into effect, and they are joined by thousands of restaurants that were too slow to embrace the new world landscape of take-out and delivery. One of the industries that have been hit the hardest by the pandemic has been, without a doubt, the hospitality and tourism industry, which has hurt revenue streams for lodging, travel, and dining all around the globe. Millions of people were forced to cancel pre-booked trips, weddings, anniversaries, and family gatherings. 

Now that people are cautiously beginning to resume activities after months of social distancing, they are practising a guarded version of previous travel adventures. Regardless of the type of vacation or celebration that people are planning, one thing that all people have in common in today’s climate is a new type of wish list prioritizing sanitation and social distancing above more bourgeois preferences. Some hotel chains are going above and beyond to make sure that people can once again feel safe after leaving their homes.

At the top of the list are the hotel chains Hilton and Hyatt. Marriott and Radisson both earned high marks for their flexible booking policies. Not only have Hilton and Marriott made it their mission to allow flexibility regarding cancellations and booking alterations but they also insist on very specific and consistent policies regarding social distancing between guests in all common areas. This includes lobby, dining, and check-in and reception areas. In addition, housekeeping is given extra time to thoroughly clean rooms before the next arriving guest. This gap of several days is a safeguard against the virus for two reasons. On its own, research has shown that novel coronavirus remains viable between a few hours to a few days, depending on the surface. The time-lapse between guests, in addition to the recommended disinfectant used on dirty surfaces, acts as a two-punch attack on the virus between hotel check-ins.

In terms of sanitation and social distancing, there was a four-way tie for second place among Best Western, IHG, Marriott, and Choice hotel chains. Hilton and Hyatt still held strong positions in the lead by featuring a mobile check-in option and an express check-out so the potential of contact with staff is greatly reduced. When guests do come into contact with the members of staff, these hotels have an excellent record of maintaining proper mask usage among employees, and regular temperature checks every shift in order to screen potentially infected staff members. In addition to keeping an eye on staff, all guests are also required to wear masks in public areas, even in states where it is not a mandate. The training of proper health and sanitation practices is further enhanced by the presence of an on-site, trained health coordinator.