Cleanliness is now a top priority for holidaymakers enjoying a staycation in the UK this summer, with 70 per cent researching comments on a venue’s hygiene before booking, compared to 40 per cent pre-pandemic.
With the UK experiencing a staycation boom while Brits choose to holiday closer to home as lockdown restrictions gradually continue to ease, a study of 2,000 adults revealed cleanliness is at the forefront of holidaymakers’ minds.
The study, commissioned by P&G Professional, the away-from-home division of Procter and Gamble, also revealed that in a post-Covid world, more than a third (35 per cent) admit they would be put off if there was no visible cleaning taking place.
Further illustrating the increased importance of hotel hygiene to Brits post-Covid, a quarter of travellers would be put off within ‘seconds’ if cleanliness was not up to scratch — with dirty bedsheets, a grimy bathroom and bad smells being the top gripes.
Three quarters said they would leave a hotel or B&B if they found dirty bedsheets waiting for them while 71 per cent would walk out if the bathroom was not clean. Others would abandon their trip if they encountered stained carpets (39 per cent), rude staff (52 per cent) and loud noises (38 per cent).
It also emerged that despite more than a quarter being desperate to book a holiday after nearly 18 months of travel restrictions, half of adults will be put off making a booking if they didn’t feel confident in the hotel’s hygiene. Twenty-two per cent are more likely to book if they know that staff are using cleaning brands they trust.
And one in five (20 per cent) will even pack their own cleaning products to give a room a once over before they unpack to ensure it is up to scratch.
Greg Elmore, from P&G Professional, said: “After the last year, hygiene has become a huge priority for us all – especially when we are away from our own homes.
“We are all really looking forward to getting back to holidays and breaks from our home, but we want the reassurance that we will be safe and staying somewhere clean. Even before Covid, there are things which would put us off a hotel or B&B accommodation, and this is becoming something we are more conscious of now.”
To help support B&Bs, guest-houses and hotels, P&G Professional has partnered with legendary hotelier and restaurateur Marco Pierre White to help holidaymakers enjoy a ‘Safecation’ across the UK this summer.
The owner of The Rudloe Arms, a hotel set in 14 acres of Wiltshire countryside, is encouraging people to check for the CleanPLUS Experience before booking their break. This stamp of approval from P&G Professional’s trusted household name brands – Fairy Professional, Flash Professional and now NEW Microban 24 Professional – serves as a mark of assurance for guests.
Against the backdrop of the study’s findings, White has opened the doors of his hotel to conduct an experiment to find out just how often people touch the same areas over and over. Luckily, hoteliers can provide guests with long-lasting protection from bacteria with new Microban 24, a disinfectant which not only initially kills 99.9% of bacteria and select viruses including Covid-19 virus and flu virus, but also continues to kill bacteria only for up to 24 hours, even after multiple touches.
Marco Pierre White said: “I’m not surprised this research shows 50 per cent have been put off booking a break due to cleanliness concerns. As all in the hospitality industry will know, the health and safety of our guests is of the utmost importance. Following a challenging time, it’s fantastic to be able to welcome guests back and reassure customers with the CleanPLUS Experience – a gold standard of excellence when it comes to cleanliness.”
The study also found that more than six in 10 adults named a fresh smelling bedroom as the top priority when it comes to travel accommodation. This was followed by fresh smelling bed linen (61 per cent), an immaculate bathroom (57 per cent) and no stray hairs in the room (49 per cent). These were more important than value for money (44 per cent), the view from the window (32 per cent) and the size of the room (31 per cent).
Nearly a third (32 per cent) would even be prepared to pay more for a hotel or B&B if it meant they knew it would be cleaned to the highest standards. If they were to walk into a dirty hotel room, 44 per cent would feel angry while 32 per cent would feel anxious. But 43 per cent went as far as to say they would feel revolted and 32 per cent would feel stressed. And 81 per cent felt that if a lobby of a hotel was dirty or smelly, they would assume the room would also be unclean.
The study, carried out via OnePoll, also found that while 24 per cent already have a break arranged for this year, 36 per cent are waiting for lockdown measures to ease before booking a holiday.
In the current climate though, 27 per cent are now likely to look for cleanliness information before booking a hotel of B&B. And 39 per cent will pay more attention to cleanliness and hygiene standards now, post-Covid.
In response to the study’s findings, P&G Professional is encouraging business owners to try the CleanPLUS Experience. Independent hotels, guest-houses and B&Bs can both physically and digitally display the CleanPLUS Experience sticker as a gold standard in hygiene, reassuring customers that an establishment has been cleaned to the highest levels using known and trusted brands.
Elmore added: “The last 18 months have made a lot of people think more about cleanliness and hygiene, which can only be a good thing – particularly when staying away from home.
“These statistics show that 22 per cent are more likely to book a B&B or hotel if they know staff are using cleaning brands they trust.
“Customers want to see how businesses are managing cleanliness, and it is critical that this is communicated clearly to the public.”