A crisis can completely change consumer thinking. Which should change brands' thinking.
Right now, I suspect many people can't even imagine what it'll be like to stay in a hotel again.
They can barely conceive what it'll be like to hug family and friends.
Some in the hospitality business, though, are already preparing for a time when people will begin to venture out.
Last week, for example, Hilton Hotels tried to make a little PR impact. Not by announcing an attractive new property. Nor even to make some sort of enticing offer to draw minds into a happy hotel future. Instead, it announced: Hilton is defining a new standard of hotel cleanliness. It's an area that's certainly bothered customers in the past. There's evidence some hotels don't even wash sheets between customers, for example. There's worse, too. However, with coronavirus enveloping the world, Hilton has taken an excellent, proactive step into encouraging people its hotels will now truly be clean. It's partnering with RB, maker of Lysol and Dettol, and the Mayo Clinic to create Hilton CleanStay with Lysol protection. Said the hotel chain: The initiative will create a focus on cleanliness that will be visible to guests throughout their entire stay -- in their guest rooms, restaurants, fitness rooms, and in other public spaces. Imagine, now, that one of the most important -- if not the most important -- criteria for booking a hotel will be how clean it is and whether that cleanliness is visible. In the past, I suspect many customers assumed all hotels should be clean, and the more they pay, the cleaner the hotel. In our coming Future World, however, we'll be scrutinizing not only visually but factually to see what steps hotels have taken. Customers will likely become not dissimilar to those who seek every product and process of a service to be green. Now, they'll be grading and choosing on the basis of clean. Which feels a little sad. Research company Euromonitor International last week predicted that the crisis will lead to customers making new demands of brands. They'll want them to stop selling their products and start declaring themselves on issues of public health. Hilton seems to understand this. One of its significant new declarations is: 10 High-Touch, Deep Clean Areas: Extra disinfection of the most frequently touched guest room areas -- light switches, door handles, TV remotes, thermostats, and more. The chain also says it may close its fitness centers multiple times a day and limit the number of guests allowed at one time, simply to achieve the new level of clean. Of course, some customers will wish this had always been the case, but now we're going to be supremely cautious when it comes to cleanliness. We're different now, and brands have to understand and anticipate that. Just imagine the lengths to which some hotel brands will now go in an attempt to prove that their clean is better than another chain's clean. As well as introducing new thinking and new science, it'll surely create a whole new vocabulary.
The original was written by Chris Matyszczyk and posted on May 2, 2020. It can be found here: