Remember the days when “customer service” was the keyword in the hospitality industry? Hotels, casinos, and restaurants spent days training staff on the many intricacies involved in ensuring their brand and business was noted for going the extra mile. Now, that same staff is learning the intricacies of hygiene. Making small changes such as replacing air dryers with paper hand towel solutions can make a big difference.
The Seattle Times reported the sad statistic that, at the end of 2020, U.S. hotels neared 1 billion in unsold rooms. That number accounts for approximately $46 billion in lost revenue. As COVID-19 restrictions and social distancing measures begin lifting, hotels and casinos are left to determine how they can attract the consumers that are slowly emerging from lockdown.
Increasing Sanitation Practices
A recent survey revealed that improvement in the sanitation practices at hotels would have a considerable impact on their customers’ comfort level. These practices included face coverings for employees, suspending daily housekeeping, using technology to reduce contact, adding transparent barriers, and signage for washing hands.
In an attempt to increase sanitation practices, some hotels have replaced paper towels with air dryers. Unfortunately, this misguided, though good-intention act, is not recommended by scientists nor appreciated by guests. Did you know that *33% of hospitality users surveyed in North America feel unsafe when entering a restroom with air dryers and *70% of hospitality respondents surveyed agree with the statement “I wish more facilities offered paper hand towels as an alternative to air dryers”.
Let’s look at what the latest reports tell us.
Studies Promote Paper Hand Towels
A study reported in Harvard Health Publishing found that hand dryers in public restrooms draw in bacteria from the air that then falls onto the hands of guests using the dryers.
When Petri dishes were set in bathrooms without the use of hand dryers, one colony of bacteria, at the most, grew on the dishes. When Petri dishes were exposed to air from a hand dryer, up to 254 colonies emerged.
The report concluded that the most hygienic way to wash your hands is using paper hand towels.
Scientific data also reports that jet air dryers can spread up to 10 times more germs in the environment. A study conducted by U.K.-based researchers revealed that paper hand towels were more effective than hand air dryers for removing viruses left behind after hands are washed.
Bacteriophages, a virus that kills bacteria, were applied to participants’ hands before being dried by paper towels or a jet air dryer. Not only did more remain on the hands that used air dryers, but the participant’s clothing also held five times more virus and surfaces carried ten times more. This means that not only can the virus be transferred by the person’s hands, but the jet air dry also increases contamination by blowing the virus around. The researchers’ conclusion, “Paper towels should be the preferred way to dry hands after washing and so reduce the risk of contamination and spread.”
One of the keys to the importance of using paper towels lies in the increased risk of transmitting bacteria when hands are not dried entirely before leaving a restroom. One study found that wet hands can spread up to 1000 times more bacteria than dry hands. Unfortunately, *62% of air dry users say they stop using the device before their hands are completely dry because it takes too long to complete.
Yet another study sprayed participants’ hands with a harmless strain of E.coli. After washing and then drying with either an air dryer or paper towels, researchers determined that dryers removed only 23% of the bacteria while paper towels wiped out *71%. They concluded that the friction caused by drying with paper towels dislodged bacteria from the skin’s surface.
Customers Request Paper Towels
Science has spoken, but what about your guests and their comfort level? According to an international study conducted by United Minds in cooperation with CINT, *70% of respondents wished more facilities offered paper hand towels as an alternative to air dryers, and 75% use these same paper towels to avoid touching other surfaces in the restroom. Surprisingly, *33% said they felt unsafe entering a restroom equipped with air dryers.
The most notable statistic was this: *41% of respondents said they were less likely to go to places that did not offer paper hand towels as a drying alternative. This means that over one-third of consumers may not return if a business does not offer paper towels for hand drying.
Some brands note the increased difficulty in maintaining clean facilities when using paper towels, or the ongoing need to keep them stocked. Checking and refilling put extra pressure and demands on busy staff.
The answer to this issue is the Tork PeakServe® continuous hand towel dispenser. This high-capacity, touch-free hand towel solution is fast and easy to refill and top up, freeing up staff for other activities. Watch this video to see how simple it is to refill.
It’s clear that the pandemic has brought hygiene to the forefront of consumers’ minds. It’s also clear that switching from air dryers to paper towels should be a part of your hygiene procedures. This one simple act can help your guests feel safer and reduce the risk of germ spread.
Hand Towel Solutions
Thankfully, there’s an easy solution. Help your guests feel safer by using Tork PeakServe® Continuous hand towel systems. It’s a hygienic, fast-dispensing, touch-free system that uses 50% compressed bundles to offer the highest capacity on the market, ensuring that hand towels are always available to your guests.
2020 April Survey conducted by United Minds in cooperation with CINT using web-panels. The survey covered the US, with a total of 1012 respondents