Guest Satisfaction: Perceptions of Cleanliness

Guest Satisfaction Guest Satisfaction
Deniz Headshot
Marketing Director
May 15, 2018

It’s easy to quickly form perceptions about a hotel’s cleanliness based on what you see, smell, feel, taste and hear. Studies show that among all the problems experienced by guests, unclean rooms have the greatest negative impact on satisfaction. It’s important for organizations to understand not only where and what to clean, but how to clean.

Expecting cleanliness

Surveys among hotel guests have demonstrated that guests frequently use and are influenced by hotel review websites and recommendations from friends and family. And cleanliness is highlighted as one of the most important elements influencing hotel recommendations, in addition to value for the money, quality of service, pleasant atmosphere, location and brand.

Guests tend to expect higher standards of cleanliness from internationally known hospitality brands. Yet, cleanliness expectations do not correlate to the price of the room. Guests expect a clean room whether they paid $100 or $500 for their room.


Priority areas and deal breakers

Hotel staff should understand which areas are the most significant when it comes to guest satisfaction and properties should have solutions in place so that complaints can be avoided or minimized. Areas within the hotel property can be categorized into four distinct tiers: deal breakers, critical, important and incidental.


Deal breakers

  • Guest room bathroom
  • Guest room sleeping/sitting area



  • Public toilets/washrooms
  • Hotel restaurant



  • Lobby
  • Public areas



  • Hotel exterior
  • Hotel grounds


Incidental does not mean unimportant or that it will not affect the overall satisfaction of the guest. Considering that there are many historic buildings which have been converted into hotels, guests tend not to always judge a book by its cover.

To achieve consistent standards across all of your hotel’s rooms, and even across multiple properties, a well-defined procedure and work flow must be followed by the housekeeping staff. Zero tolerance areas must be identified and cleaning procedures must be tailored to make sure these areas are always sparkling and never missed during cleaning.

Regular cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting are essential for providing a five-star guest experience and protecting your brand. Understanding the impact of cleanliness, priority areas and how to clean will keep both leisure and business travelers returning.