News report

Spas collaborate with medical institutions

A growing number of industry operators are striking up allegiances with medical bodies to develop enhanced cleanliness and health standards following COVID-19


As spas look to develop themselves as places of safe-touch, operators are joining forces with hospitals and medical research institutes to develop cleanliness certifications, to reinforce a sense of trust and confidence in returning consumers.

One of the first off the mark was Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, which announced a collaboration with global healthcare and research leader Johns Hopkins Medicine in early May, to develop an enhanced health and safety programme called Lead with Care.

The programme will see Four Seasons’ 100-plus spas roll out modified treatments to reduce interaction with and proximity to guests, run wet areas and relaxation spaces with occupancy limits, implement social distancing regulations and operate with regular disinfection of all facilities, especially wet areas and pools.

More generally, Four Seasons hotels will also feature on-property hygiene officers, enhance sanitation procedures and provide staff with access to a response team where senior infectious disease specialists from Johns Hopkins will offer on-demand response and guidance to COVID-19 situations.

“This new programme is about offering genuine care and the highest levels of service, enhancing procedures to protect our guests, residents and employees, while also ensuring that they feel safe and reassured,” says John Davison, Four Seasons president and CEO. “Lead With Care is a continuation of Four Seasons’ high standards, building upon the strong foundation of trust and confidence that we have established through decades of experience.”

Similarly, IHG Hotels and Resorts – which owns Six Senses Hotels, Resorts and Spas as well as InterContinental properties – has revealed a tie-up with American medical and research centre, The Cleveland Clinic; Ecolab, a global leader in water, hygiene and infection prevention solutions; and cleaning and hygiene technology company Diversey.

Together they’ve launched IHG Clean Promise, to strengthen and evolve its hygiene measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19, as well as support the wellbeing of guests and colleagues.

Montage International, owner of five luxury US resorts with major Spa Montage facilities, has also partnered up with digital health and primary care organisation, One Medical, to provide 24/7 virtual care services to Montage guests via a 30-day membership to One Medical’s app.

The memberships will allow guests to get in touch with a One Medical provider within minutes over on-demand video chat or secure messaging during their stay or upon their return home. The team will be available to remotely triage symptoms, including COVID-19 related concerns, and provide a recommended care plan for guests’ concerns or condition.

In addition, Marriott International – which has 550 hotel spas across brands such as Ritz-Carlton, Renaissance, St Regis, Le Méridian, Westin and W – has also worked with Ecolab, to launch a Global Cleanliness Council to develop the next level of hospitality cleanliness standards, norms and behaviours designed to enhance safety for Marriott consumers and staff alike.

Marriott International’s Kenneth Ryan, VP of global operations: spa, fitness and online retail, recently spoke out about the importance of strict hygiene procedures during the reopening phase. “It’s likely from what we’re hearing around the world that the first customers coming through your door are going to be a minority and they’re going to be a little more relaxed,” he says.

“We need to be very careful that we’re steadfast for the long haul in the procedures and policies we put in place because it’s the customers that come after those carefree guests that are going to be checking your hygiene and cleaning protocols and procedures. Stay steadfast with whatever procedures you put in place and continue them for the long haul. You have to make sure that every customer feels comfortable and safe.”

In a post-COVID-19 landscape, public demonstrations like the aforementioned operators have taken, that show that hygiene is being taken seriously, will ultimately underpin the future and potential success of businesses because steps to tackle hygiene will reassure clients it is safe to visit again.

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