In an effort to ensure their rooms are as clean as possible, Best Westerns across the country will be equipping their cleaning staff with black lights “to detect biological matter otherwise unseen by the human eye, and ultraviolet light wands to zap it,” USA TODAY reports.
Cleaning staff will even get disposable wraps to clean off television sets and remote controls.
Best Western is responding in part to a new study from Booz & Company that claims travelers are far more concerned with cleanliness than they are with customer service, style, and design.
“But it's also reacting to the times, in which hotels and supermarkets place hand sanitizer in visible places for germ-obsessed customers,” Barbara DeLollis writes for USA TODAY.
Because of concerns over e-coli, norovirus, and bird flu, people are much more cautious about cleanliness says Ron Pohl, a Best Western vice president.
"It used to be that you walked into a guest room and saw a stain on carpet, you'd think the room's dirty," Pohl says. "Today, guests don't see any stains, but they still question how clean the room is."
The hotel chain hopes to have its overhauled cleaning techniques in its 2,200 hotels in North America by the end of 2012. Today, about half the hotels have been updated, Pohl says.
“Best Western is ahead of the other hotel groups in its price range with its cleanliness approach,” says Bjorn Hanson, dean of New York University's hospitality school, adding that "it can have an effect on market share."
The program has already had a positive effect on customers, according to Best Western's internal measures.
“For hotels already using the wands, Pohl says, guest satisfaction for cleanliness of the room rose by 12 [percent] and for the overall experience, by 13 [percent],” USA Today reports.