How Clean Is A Minute Suites?
UPDATE: We are and have been one of the cleanest places in the airport. As of May 2020, we changed our cleaning agent to Oxivir, a powerful cleaner that is certified by the EPA to kill COVID-19 in 60 seconds or less. This was in an effort to sanitize our rooms faster, but also to keep them thoroughly disinfected. Your safety is our number one priority.
Whether you’re sleeping, working or just escaping the crowds in a Minute Suites, we want you to trust the space. That means knowing you’ll be safe from the many germs notorious in airline travel, whether in the plane or the terminal.
We’ve worked hard to make Minute Suites the cleanest part of an airport. Here’s how we did it:
The Need for Clean
Before the first Minute Suites opened in 2009, we hired a top-ranking firm out of Manhattan/London to do market research. In addition to research on raw demand appeal, price points and more, the firm revealed—unsurprisingly—that cleanliness was a HIGH priority for people.
We took that seriously.
First, we asked, what’s the cleanest place we could think of? Our founders are physicians and healthcare professionals, and they all said the same thing: there’s no cleaner place than an operating room.
So Director and Co-founder Dan Solomon got in touch with multiple hospitals and surgery centers to discuss their cleaning agents. Of course, they killed a lot of bacteria, but the “kill time” was 6-10 minutes. Since our customers would all be on a pretty tight timeline, we didn’t want them to have to wait that long for a room after a cleaning. We kept digging.
Before too long, we struck gold.
The Perfect Agent
Around that time, H1N1 was the major threat, and the agent we discovered had been proven effective with that virus. It actually wipes out 99.999% of all bacteria and viruses. Instead of simply masking odors, it attacks their source on a molecular level to completely eliminate them. And the kill time? Sixty seconds.
The more we learned, in fact, the more we liked it. This agent is used in hospitals, including intensive care units, and in prisons and on cruise lines—places where serious cleaning is demanded. It’s also completely safe for in-home use. (Research it for yourself; it’s called Vital Oxide.)
To verify its effectiveness with an outside source, we turned to the most senior role we could think of: an epidemiologist who worked for the City of Nashville. His job was to investigate patterns and causes of disease and injury in humans. And more importantly, to reduce the risk and occurrence of negative health outcomes by keeping everything clean, not just the OR.
He gave our agent a glowing stamp of approval.
Better yet, he told us we could do more than clean with it. We could also use it as a fogger, which is how he recommended hospitals handle their ICU units. The formula for this agent is a stabilized chlorine dioxide. Basically, the outer electron is stable, which means that unlike some agents (e.g. chlorine), it isn’t poisonous and won’t eat away at anything, including electrical equipment. Having an effective way to disinfect the light switches, TV remotes, thermostats and other high-touch areas in the room mattered. By fogging our rooms, we could disinfect every square inch.
We had finally found a way to make our rooms clean enough for surgery.
The Guest’s First Impression
Our next challenge, however, was determining the right protocol for our rooms. We weren’t performing surgeries; we were entertaining guests. So we put out a request for proposal for someone to put together a hospitality protocol and assist in recruiting, training and managing based on the specific needs of the hospitality industry.
We selected a co-op out of Maryland: Kelye Rouse Brown (now KRB Business Solutions). Kelye had worked for the corporation that owned Wyndham, with whom she had been responsible for quality assurance for hundreds of hotels and worked closely with housekeeping teams. She took a scientific approach to cleaning, too, which we liked.
We would use her recommended approach with our cleaning agent.
The process is best described as “top-down, hug-the-wall.” After all, dust falls. Starting at the top with a feather duster on the lightbulbs and ceilings—then continuing along each wall from ceiling to floor makes logical sense. Plus, hugging the wall ensures that 100% of the room gets covered, not just the bed. Which is important, for a variety of reasons. For one thing, guests bring luggage, which often leans against the wall. Not only can that leave unattractive scuff marks, but if it’s been pulled into airport bathroom stalls or stowed beneath airplane seats, the wall could be crawling with secret germs. Not okay.
So after each room has been thoroughly dusted, we spray the agent everywhere—including the day bed, the trundle, the pillows, the workstation, the light switch, you name it. Of course, we change the blankets and the pillows, which also have disposal covers as an added layer of protection. Finally, we vacuum. By then, the 60-second kill time has most certainly passed, and we’re ready for the next guest.
Perhaps it goes without saying (but we’re still saying it!), we use the same approach for the showers, covering every inch after every use.
And with a training system to ensure consistency, you can count on this level of preparation at every Minute Suites, no matter your location.
Cherry on Top
What we especially loved about Kelye’s take is the hospitality perspective. As she likes to say, “Our last look is the guest’s first.” Not something you need to think about in an operating room.
She met the initial need for clean and took it to the next level with delight factors. As a team, we had contests to decide on how to give each task a little flair. We did this for everyday tasks, like towel-folding, both to standardize the process and to push ourselves to make it great. We also added some “standard” touches, like making sure the tissue is folded into a point in every room. Not only are these nice for guests, but the delight factors signal to all of our staff—even during a shift change—that the room has been cleaned thoroughly.
From the perspective of preparing for our guests, we seek to cover all our bases. Our reception area is our curb appeal, so that needs to be clean, too: neat, shiny, free of clutter, deep-cleaned regularly. Every single detail should be attended to, including clean doorknobs and suite names.
From opening the door at check-in to taking a hot towel for one final refreshing moment at checkout, you really can rest easy at a Minute Suites. Your room doesn’t just look clean; it is.
Any other questions? Ask us anything! We’re here to do whatever it takes for you to relax during your next layover.