Anthony Melchiorri: Here Are The Safest Hotels During The COVID-19 Crisis

Christopher Elliott

If you’re thinking of traveling during the second wave of the coronavirus outbreak, you might be wondering: Is there a list of the safest hotels during the COVID-19 crisis?

There is. The Safe Travel Barometer, a startup that ranks travel companies based on their cleaning and sanitation practices, released the list exclusively to FORBES. It’s a handy guide for anyone interested in staying somewhere that takes safety seriously.

Why is a list of the safest hotels for coronavirus so important? Because too many hotels have said too little about their sanitation efforts. They’ve either published a vaguely worded press release, meant to soothe worried guests but short on specifics, or they’ve said nothing substantive other than, “We’ll do better.”

But the most alarming result of the Safe Travel Barometer research is that there just isn’t a lot of information on hotel safety out there. Many properties have said little or nothing about their cleaning practices. That should be troubling to every guest, but also something worth remembering. It’s not the hotels on this list that you should worry about — it’s the ones that are not on this list.

How to tell if your hotel is safe during the COVID-19 crisis

There are a few ways to tell if your hotel is safe:

  • The hotel publishes detailed and specific information about its cleaning efforts. For example, it doesn’t just say it cleans public areas; it tells you how often. And it won’t just tell you that it removed certain amenities after the outbreak. Instead, the hotel names the thing it removed (like the breakfast buffet).
  • It participates in the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s (AHLA) Safe Stay initiative, a partnership between the lodging industry and leading scientists, physicians and public health experts in epidemiology and infectious disease. My FORBES colleague Lea Lane covered Safe Stay when it was introduced.
  • It also has adjusted its change and refund policies to allow guests to cancel at the last minute in case of a future outbreak. A hotel that puts guests’ health before profits is far likelier to take sanitation seriously.

Of course, some hotels go above and beyond, which is something else to look for. For example, after the housekeeping staff at the Beverly Hilton services a room, they bring in an ultraviolet light to sanitize even more deeply, says hospitality expert Anthony Melchiorri.

“If you have questions or would like to know more about the exact safety measures put in place to protect your health, call the hotel where you plan to stay and ask them what to expect,” he says.

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