What Your Guests Are Saying About Hotel Cleanliness

Is hotel cleanliness still a primary concern for travelers after three pandemic years? Here are a few strategies to help hoteliers keep cleanliness standards high. 

In May 2023, the World Health Organization declared that COVID-19 is no longer a public health emergency of international concern and should be treated as an ongoing health issue. 

For travelers, cleanliness has played a tremendous role even before the pandemic. In this article, we explore whether hotel cleanliness is still a primary concern for travelers after three pandemic years.  The short answer is: yes. And we offer a few strategies for hoteliers to avoid lower scores by keeping cleanliness standards high. 

How Cleanliness Impacts Your Hotel’s Guest Satisfaction and Bookings

Cleanliness plays a vital role in guest satisfaction. When guests enter a clean and well-maintained hotel, it creates a positive impression and contributes to their overall experience. Clean rooms, fresh linens, spotless bathrooms, and well-maintained public areas enhance guest comfort, making them more likely to have a pleasant stay, leave positive reviews, and book another stay. 

In today’s digital age, online reviews significantly influence a hotel’s reputation and success. Cleanliness is one of the most commonly mentioned aspects in guest reviews. Negative feedback about cleanliness issues can severely impact a hotel’s online reputation, discouraging potential bookings and damaging its reputation.

Cleanliness Is By Far The Most Relevant Information For Travelers. 87 Consider Cleanliness The Most Important Topic When Reading Reviews
Cleanliness is by far the most relevant information for travelers. 87% consider cleanliness the most important topic when reading reviews.

A Look at the Evolution of Impact Scores

Impact Scores leverage all review data for hotels, and fill in the gaps between what people say and how that impacts the scores they give. With the help of semantic analysis, we extract relevant data from all reviews. Then we can estimate the impact that, for example, room maintenance had on a performance score in a particular period. These scores reflect different semantic categories (Service, WiFi, Parking, Location, etc.)

Impact Scores are split into negative and positive categories. For each category, we show how many points you can lose or gain from your performance score. We looked at the evolution of three specific Cleanliness categories that were most likely to impact a hotel’s performance score negatively. Here’s what we found: 

#1 Global: Cleanliness Negative Impact Decreases, Still Makes A Huge Difference for the Performance Score

Globally, the cleanliness categories most likely to bring lower scores for hotels throughout 2021-2023 were: Bathroom Cleanliness, Room Cleanliness, and Dining Area Cleanliness.  

For all three categories, the highest negative impact was recorded in Q1 2021 – when most of the world was still closed and figuring out how to reopen the borders while maintaining high health & safety standards.  

Global Bottom Three Cleanliness Impact Scores Evolution Q1 2021 Q1 2023
Between 2021 and 2023, Bathroom, Room, and Dining Area were the most impactful Cleanliness subcategories globally.

Room and Dining Area Cleanliness registered the lowest impact in Q1 2023 – when most regions, including China, had already reopened and managed COVID-19 as an ongoing health issue. Bathroom Cleanliness recorded the lowest value in Q3 2022, slowly climbing in Q4 2022.

Changes In Bottom Three Hotel Cleanliness Impact Scores 1
Bathroom Cleanliness has a significantly reduced negative impact on performance score in Q1 2023 than in Q1 2021. 

Although all categories got slightly closer to positive values, cleanliness remains one of the most influential factors that can make or break your performance score.

#2 EMEA: No Significant Changes, Cleanliness Still Important for Travelers

Emea Bottom Three Hotel Cleanliness Impact Scores Evolution Q1 2021 Q1 2023
Between 2021 and 2023, Bathroom, Room, and Dining Area were the most impactful Cleanliness subcategories for the EMEA region.

Unlike global cleanliness impacts, EMEA doesn’t record significant changes in how cleanliness influences scores. There is a slight decrease compared to 2021, when all three categories registered the highest negative value in Q1. The lowest negative value for Bathroom and Room Cleanliness was in Q3 2021 and for Dining Area in Q2 2022.  

Compared to the global values, EMEA is among the region where cleanliness has the least negative impact on the performance score. 

Emea Changes In Bottom Three Hotel Cleanliness Impact Scores
Dining Area Cleanliness has a reduced negative impact on the performance score compared to Q1 2021. Bathroom Cleanliness registered the lowest improvement.

#3 APAC: Cleanliness More Likely to Bring Lower Scores Than in 2021

APAC was the last region to relax COVID-19-related measures, with China opening its borders only at the end of Q4 2022. Compared to EMEA and global impacts, we see the lowest negative values for these categories in Q1 2021 (Bathroom Cleanliness), Q3 2021 (Room Cleanliness). The only category following a similar pattern with the global trend is Dining Area Cleanliness, which had the most negligible negative impact in Q1 2023. 

There was one quarter when Dining Area didn’t enter the bottom three impacts. In Q2 2022, its place was taken by Pool Cleanliness. 

Bottom Three Hotel Cleanliness Impact Scores Evolution In Apac Q1 2021 Q1 2023
Between 2021 and 2023, Bathroom, Room, and Dining Area were the most impactful Cleanliness subcategories for the APAC region.

If you’re an APAC hotelier, pay extra attention to Room & Bathroom Cleanliness – both of these categories are now more likely to bring lower scores than in 2021.

Apac Changes In Bottom Three Hotel Cleanliness Impact Scores
You could lose an extra 2.5 points from the performance score for Room Cleanliness at the beginning of 2023 compared to 2021. Conversely, Dining Area Cleanliness now has a significantly smaller negative impact. 

#4 US: Cleanliness Can Make or Break Your Performance Score

Historically, the US is known as the region with the lowest ratio of positive reviews. In 2022, 83% of all feedback was positive, while the percentage reached 92%-94% in the other regions. Guests are picky, and cleanliness in the US can make or break a hotel’s performance score. For example, the bottom two cleanliness impact scores exceed negative double digits across almost all quarters.

Bottom Three Hotel Cleanliness Impact Scores Evolution In The Us Q1 2021 Q1 2023
Between 2021 and 2023, Bathroom, Room, and Hotel were the most impactful Cleanliness subcategories for the US region.

There is a specific cleanliness factor for the US alone in the bottom three impacts: Hotel Cleanliness. Guests are paying more attention to how well-maintained and cleaned are the hotel building, amenities, and surroundings. The only quarter we didn’t see it in the bottom three was Q1 2021 – when Pool Cleanliness replaced it.  

Bathroom Cleanliness reached its maximum value in Q1 2021 and lowest in Q3 2021, with significant variations across the two years we analyzed. Room Cleanliness was steadier, with a double-digit value across all quarters. Hotel Cleanliness recorded variation, with its highest negative impact in Q3 2022.

Us Changes In Hotel Cleanliness Impact Scores Q1 2021 Q1 2023
Hotel Cleanliness is now more likely to impact a hotel negatively. You could lose, on average,  -1.3 points from your performance score.

As a US hotelier, cleanliness is super important to track and improve, as the impact it may have on your score is very high.  

#5 DACH: Cleanliness Impacts Getting Closer to Positive Values

DACH has registered the best improvements in the bottom three cleanliness impacts. Besides Dining Area, which only improved slightly, the other subcategories – Bathroom and Room Cleanliness – have significantly increased.

Bottom Three Hotel Cleanliness Impact Scores Evolution In The Dach Region Q1 2021 Q1 2023
Between 2021 and 2023, Bathroom, Room, and Dining Area were the most impactful Cleanliness subcategories for the DACH region.
Dach Changes In Bottom Three Hotel Cleanliness Impact Scores
DACH hoteliers are less likely to lose points for bathroom cleanliness, an impact that improved by +2.65 points in Q1 2023 compared to Q1 2021.

5 Ways Guest Reviews Will Help You Keep High Hotel Cleanliness Standards and Improve Your Score

Guest reviews play a significant role in maintaining high hotel cleanliness standards and improving hotel scores. Positive reviews contribute to a hotel’s reputation and attract more guests. If actively managed, negative reviews can turn detractors into promoters. Here are some ways guest reviews can help in achieving and sustaining cleanliness excellence:

#1 Collect Feedback

Encourage guests to provide feedback on cleanliness through various channels, such as live or post-stay surveys and online review platforms. Actively seek their opinions and experiences related to cleanliness, as this valuable input can help identify specific areas that need improvement.

Luca Finardi Gm E Area Vice President, Operations Ii @tysonsadlo
How Milan’s Best Hotel Asks for Feedback

“Each guest staying at our hotel can leave their email during check-in. This way, we can contact them via an automated email with a simple survey asking for feedback. At the end of the survey, the guest also has the option to publish their review on other platforms. […]

I encourage everyone to ask for feedback from their guests without fearing receiving negative comments. The reviews often include constructive insights. It is then necessary to respond to everyone, listen, and improve ourselves.”

#2 Respond to Your Guest Reviews

Respond promptly to guest reviews, particularly those addressing cleanliness concerns. Acknowledge the feedback and apologize for any inconvenience caused. Demonstrate a proactive approach by addressing the issues raised and providing appropriate solutions. It shows guests that their concerns are taken seriously and reflects a commitment to excellence in cleanliness.

All You Need to Know About Responding to Guest Reviews

Your complete guide to responding to positive, neutral, and negative guest reviews with examples, a template response structure, and helpful data.

A picture featuring 2 ladies looking at a screen laptop featuring the TrustYou Review Dashboard.

#3 Monitor & Analyze Guest Reviews

Utilize guest reviews as a real-time monitoring tool for cleanliness. Regularly track and analyze guest feedback to identify emerging cleanliness-related patterns or concerns. It will allow you to take immediate action and rectify any issues before they escalate.

Chroma Hospitality Improves Its Cleanlines Score
How Chroma Hospitality Improved Its Cleanliness Score

The portfolio’s Cleanliness sentiment score has rebounded substantially from COVID, with a 14-point increase between 2020 and 2021. There are continuous upward trends in subcategories, such as Room Cleanliness & Hotel Cleanliness

#4 Adopt a Mindset of Improvement

Guest reviews are a source of valuable insights. You can identify recurring cleanliness issues or areas that need improvement. Analyze patterns or trends in the feedback to understand common concerns and work towards rectifying them. Implementing necessary changes based on guest feedback ensures a continual improvement process.

Get An Overview Of How Your Guests Rate Hotel Cleanliness Using The Trustyous Guest Experience Platform
Get an overview of how your guests rate cleanliness using TrustYou’s Guest Experience Platform. You can see how the category changed over a predefined period, how often guests mention cleanliness in reviews, and whether they rate it as positive, negative, or neutral.

#5 Invest in Your Staff

Recognize and appreciate hotel staff who consistently receive positive reviews for cleanliness. Highlight their efforts and publicly acknowledge their contributions to maintaining high cleanliness standards. Recognizing exceptional performance motivates employees to sustain their efforts and encourages others to strive for excellence.

Guest reviews can reveal specific areas where staff might require additional training or education. Utilize feedback to identify knowledge gaps or areas for improvement among the cleaning staff. Tailor training programs to address these areas and ensure that employees are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to meet guests’ cleanliness expectations.

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