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Is your bottom line suffering from overlooked hygiene?

30 August 2018

New research on customers’ hospitality experiences commissioned by P&G Professional (the away-from-home division of Procter & Gamble [P&G]), shows hotels and restaurants could increase revenue if they improved their hygiene standards. 

Cleanliness, often overlooked by business owners in the flurry of keeping up with customer demands, is in fact of utmost importance in building repeat loyalty, according to the findings. Based on just one unclean area of a restaurant or hotel, 63% will question cleaning practices elsewhere and 22% would leave immediately based on a negative hygiene experience. Even if a customer had an overall great experience, 66% would not return if the establishment had unhygienic toilet facilities. A staggering 91% of the 2,000 customers questioned agree cleanliness is the mark of a good food or hospitality business. Indeed, hygiene is so important to customers that 85% agree a clean restaurant is just as important as food quality. 

While cleanliness is often relegated on the list of cash boosting priorities the P&G Professional Research, carried out by OnePoll, proves it should not be overlooked as it helps create a critical positive experience. First impressions are key to encouraging repeat business and it’s not surprising that the top three elements people first notice in a hospitality establishment relate to hygiene.

Top turn offs noticed by customers immediately when entering a hotel or restaurant: 

1.     Unpleasant / bad odour (56%)

2.     Dirty or sticky floors / carpets (27%)

3.     Stained, spotty or dirty dishes, glassware or cutlery (27%)

We all know how dirt can stick: social media can drive footfall in an establishment, but equally can have the opposite effect. Nearly 30% said they would give a hotel or restaurant a negative review due to poor cleanliness and word of mouth can be just as damaging with more than 4 out of 5 people (85%) likely to tell their friends and family about a poor hygiene experience. Bad news for businesses who aren’t paying attention to their cleanliness standards as over half of people (56%) say they normally choose where to eat based on a recommendation by a friend.

Jasmine Birtles, economics expert and business commentator, said: "The latest interest rate rise and increasing economic uncertainty mean we're all having to tighten our belts. Businesses have to work harder to prove they deserve guests' money than ever before. But its not always what's on the menu that sways us. Cleanliness and hygiene can make all the difference. Ensuring every area of an establishment, especially the washroom, is spotless helps build customer confidence and establish relationships meaning that guests are more likely to return. Investment in cleaning is an investment in business growth."

Greg Elmore, UK & Ireland country sales manager at P&G Professional, said: “It’s understandable that hoteliers and restauranteurs are most likely to have the food and service they provide on their minds. But it is important to ensure the basics like clean, hygienic facilities on the premises are maintained. P&G Professional is committed to helping businesses capture the value of clean and delivering the best customer experience possible. By developing innovative products and systems that are simple to use, P&G Professional can help streamline cleaning practices to get the job done right the first time.”

Establishments selecting the right cleaning products and brands was also found to be important. 66% of customers agree that knowing trusted brands are being used to clean a hotel or restaurant makes them feel confident. Favourite products by Flash, Fairy and Ariel are known for their high performing, reliable formulas. P&G Professional says that products such as Flash and Ariel can help leave recognisable scents associated with cleanliness and freshness to create a lasting impression in your establishment.