NEW YORK—The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), the world’s leading certification body for healthy buildings, announced the establishment of the WELL Advisory for Hotels and Resorts to provide insights on the application of the WELL Health-Safety Rating for Facilities Operations and Management for hotels and resorts. The WELL Health-Safety Rating is an evidence-based, third-party verified rating focused on operational policies, maintenance protocols and emergency plans to address a post COVID-19 environment. IWBI will accept registrations for the WELL Health-Safety Rating from all building and facility typologies later this month.
Leveraging guidance on the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory disease developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Department of Health and Human Services pursuant to the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), leading academic and research institutions, best practices established by industry organizations, insights drawn from the IWBI COVID-19 Task Force, and core principles already established by IWBI’s WELL Building Standard, the WELL Health-Safety Rating provides a centralized source and governing body to validate efforts made by owners and operators through third-party document review and verification.
“Hotels and resorts are among the hardest hit by COVID-19,” said IWBI President Rachel Gutter. “The WELL Health-Safety Rating is a mark that signals to guests and employees that evidence-based protocols grounded in science have been both adopted and verified with third-party document review.”
Participation in the program will require submission of policies, protocols and plans for third-party document review and annual verification. Upon achieving the designation, IWBI will issue the property a WELL Health-Safety Rating seal. The WELL Health-Safety Rating draws on principles established by IWBI’s WELL Building Standard, the premier standard for healthy real estate, which has already surpassed 560 million square feet in registrations across 62 countries since inception. The WELL Building movement has been further amplified by over 11,000 WELL Accredited Professionals (APs) and registrants across the globe.
Third-Party Documentation Review
“The hospitality industry has taken great steps to establish guidelines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the centralization of best practices across many disciplines,” said Michael Dominguez, CEO of Association of Luxury Hotels International (ALHI). “This is an opportunity for property owners and operators to extend their work with third-party documentation review, which is a critical step in verifying the adoption of these practices.”
The IWBI COVID-19 Task Force, a group of nearly 600 public health experts, virologists, government officials, academics, business leaders, architects, designers, building scientists and real estate professionals, was established at the outset of the pandemic to develop Guidelines on Prevention and Preparedness, Resilience and Recovery in response to pathogen transmission concerns. Members of the task force include the 17th Surgeon General of the United States, Richard Carmona; former Robert Wood Johnson Foundation President and CEO Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey; distinguished professor at UCLA in the Fielding School of Public Health and the Geffen School of Medicine Dr. Jonathan Fielding; and Wang Yu, M.D., Ph.D., distinguished professor at Center for Healthy Cities, Institute for China Sustainable Urbanization, Tsinghua University, and former Director-General of Chinese Center for Disease Control & Prevention.
“The IWBI COVID-19 Task Force received tremendous input from all over the world,” said Dr. Carmona. “People are learning that buildings themselves can be powerful vehicles for protecting and improving public health. All of us individually have a responsibility to the collective whole to use every tool, including our buildings and our sense of community, to keep ourselves and those we care about safe.”
Initial members of the WELL Advisory for Hotels and Resorts include, among others:
Dr. Richard Carmona, 17th Surgeon General of the United States
Stacey Rizza, M.D., Professor of Medicine, Infectious Disease and President of the Mayo Clinic Staff, Rochester, Minn.
WELL Advisory Members:
Starwood Capital Group, Cody Bradshaw, Managing Director, Global Head of Hotel Asset Management
Aimbridge Hospitality, Elie Khoury, EVP, Operations
Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA), Rachel Humphrey, COO, Franchise Relations
Association of Luxury Hotels International (ALHI), Michael Dominguez, CEO
Benchmark Global Hospitality, Eric Gavin, Chief Sales Officer
Highgate, Sam Grabush, President, Hotel Operations
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Jeremy McCarthy, Group Director of Spa & Wellness
Montage International, Tina G. Necrason, Executive Vice President, Residential
Lowes Hotels & Co, Jenny Lucas, SVP Operations
Frasers Hospitality, Mark Chan, COO
Hersha Hospitality Trust, Matthew Lobach, Director, Sustainability
Diamond Rock, Tom Healy, CEO
Sage Hospitality Group, Daniel Del Olmo, President, Sage Hotel Management
Oxford Capital Group, LLC, John W. Rutledge, Founder, President & CEO
Premier Worldwide Marketing, Bill Linehan, CEO
Jani-King International, Eric Newburn, Director of Hospitality
Marcus Hotels & Resorts, Michael Evans, President
Hart Howerton, Tim McCarthy, AIA, Partner & Managing Principal
Hospitality Design Magazine and Emerald Design Group, Stacy Shoemaker Rauen, Editor-in-Chief & SVP
Kana Hotel Group, Alpesh Patel, Owner
Avison Young Hospitality, Andrew Broad, Principal
Caruso, Banyon Hutter, Senior Vice President, Security
The Sentry Companies, Mark Magarity, Chairman and CEO
Register interest in the WELL Health-Safety Rating here.