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Neglected toilet facilities are sending reputations down the drain

The latest results from the washroom survey commissioned by UK laminate manufacturer, Formica Group, revealed that over half (55 per cent) of Brits rate the cleanliness of public toilets across the UK as adequate or worse.

Overall two-thirds of Brits agree that the cleanliness of a bathroom would be likely to influence their perception of the quality in other areas of the establishment, for example, the food served or the cleanliness of the bedrooms in a hotel.

When it comes to public washroom ratings men and women have reasonably equal standards of cleanliness. Fifty-seven per cent of women reported that they have visited a public bathroom which was so bad it put them off revisiting the venue compared to 53 per cent of men. One respondent commented: “if the toilets are not clean personally it raises my concerns about the cleanliness of the entire establishment and its staff.” More than two-thirds of women (76 per cent) agree and say if they were to see the toilets were inadequate before eating or drinking they would leave the venue. Sixty-seven per cent of men agree, highlighting the extent of the importance of an overarching impression of cleanliness, dip below this and the company runs the risk of tarnishing their reputation.

The results also show that Brits rated train toilets as being the most unpleasant to use, with over half (53 per cent) admitting they would be reluctant to use them. This is followed by nightclubs (25 per cent), motorway services (22 per cent), pubs (21 per cent) and fast-food restaurants (21 per cent).

When asked why those surveyed would be reluctant to use train toilets common answers included, that respondents perceive trains to be dirty. Additional thoughts included that toilets can’t be monitored or cleaned properly on long journeys, making them more susceptible to mess, nasty smells and lacking toilet paper and soap.

Regionally East Anglia was the area that was impacted most by the style of the bathroom with 48 per cent of respondents revealing that the overall bathroom aesthetic would impact how comfortable they felt using the facilities. Wales, on the other hand, were less concerned with only 34 per cent of people revealing the décor would impact their opinion of the establishment.

When asked if the décor in public washrooms affects their perception of how the bathroom smells over half (57 per cent) agreed it did have an effect. Brits are least impressed by neon colours (3 per cent) and earthy tones (9 per cent) when it comes to bathroom decor. Paler colour palettes including whites and creams (39 per cent) and cool colours including blues, greens and grey (18 per cent) give the greatest impression of cleanliness.

The results highlight that public washrooms enable consumers to instantly form an overall impression of an establishment’s level of cleanliness. Indicating that hospitality businesses should focus heavily on upscaling and ensuring their toilets are always fully maintained to achieve that all-important ‘wow’ factor.


About Sarah OBeirne

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