The COVID-19 pandemic has turned travel upside down, and the hotel industry has been forced to cope with a constantly changing landscape of traveler expectations. From new cancellation policies to
The COVID-19 pandemic has turned travel upside down, and the hotel industry has been forced to cope with a constantly changing landscape of traveler expectations. From new cancellation policies to improved cleaning and social distancing procedures, major hotel brands have scrambled to adapt to the new reality.
But which hotel brands have adapted best? Which have offered the most customer-friendly policies and been willing to sacrifice bottom-line concerns for the sake of guest safety?
To find out, we performed a comprehensive ‘grading’ of eight major hotel brands, looking at the policies they currently have in place as well as the evolution of these policies throughout the early stages of the pandemic.
Note: These hotel brands have introduced new cleaning and sterilization policies, often in partnership with health care providers. Since we are not experts in this area, we did not attempt to compare these policies. We instead focused on policies such as mask enforcement that can be compared directly.
Winners and LosersOverall: Hyatt (Grade: A)Runners-up: Radisson, Hilton and Marriott (Grade: A-)
To determine the final grade, we compared two major categories:
Flexible change and cancellation policies, including current and past policies for both existing and new bookings.Health and social distancing policies, over six criteria including mask enforcement, social distancing in common areas and low-contact check-in procedures.
We gave each brand a grade in each category (see below for more details), then averaged these two grades.
As you can see, the disparity between the ‘flexibility’ and ‘health’ grades from some programs was huge. Best Western, for example, scored a B+ for its health policies, but an abysmal D for its flexible booking policies.
Hyatt took top overall marks thanks to its consistent customer-first policies across many categories and dates. Hilton, Marriott, and Radisson also performed consistently, but not uniformly.
On the other end of the spectrum, Choice and Wyndham disappointed across all criteria we considered.
Note: These rankings are current as of July 24, 2020, and do not reflect any changes since.
Health and social distancingWinner: Hyatt (Grade: A)Runners-up: Best Western, IHG and Marriott (Grade: B+)
We compared each program across six criteria, based on the official policies stated on the hotel websites:
Social distancing: Specific policies that ensure appropriate social distance between guests in common areas.Rooms blocked: Policies that ensure that guest rooms are not accessed for a specific number of days between reservations or after cleaning by staff.Low contact check-in/out: Features such as mobile…