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Does hotel cleanliness correlate with surfaces guests contact?

Haeik Park (Purdue University, Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA)
Sheryl Fried Kline (University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware, USA)
Jooho Kim (James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA)
Barbara Almanza (Purdue University, Lafayette, Indiana, USA)
Jing Ma (University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware, USA)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 10 July 2019

Issue publication date: 4 September 2019




This study aims to strengthen implications about hotel cleaning outcomes by comparing guests’ perception of the amount of contact they have with cleanliness of hotel surfaces.


This study used two data-collection methods, a survey and an adenosine triphosphate (ATP) test. Data were collected from recent hotel guests using Amazon Mechanical Turk. Guests were asked to identify hotel surfaces that they touch most frequently. Actual hotel cleanliness was measured using empirical data collected with ATP meters. The two data sets were used to compare guests’ perceptions about the amount of contact they have with actual cleanliness measurements of those hotel surfaces.


This study found that amount of guest contact was related to cleanliness of surfaces in guestrooms. Significant differences were found in guest perception between high- and low-touch areas and between guestrooms and hotel public areas. More high-touch areas and higher ATP readings were found in guestrooms than in hotel public areas.


To the best of the authors’ knowledge this study is the first to compare guest contact with hotel surfaces to a scientific measure of hotel cleanliness. In addition, this study is unique because it assesses guest contact and cleanliness of public areas to provide a holistic view of hotel-cleaning needs. The study offers industry empirically based results from guest perception and scientifically based data that can be used to improve hotel housekeeping programs.



Park, H., Kline, S.F., Kim, J., Almanza, B. and Ma, J. (2019), "Does hotel cleanliness correlate with surfaces guests contact?", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 31 No. 7, pp. 2933-2950.



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