Your Questions. Answered.

Questions Addressed During Panel 3

In our third TCG Global Insights Panel, held on April 29th, many attendees asked questions directed at Jake Cefolia from United Airlines and Tammy Routh from Marriott International. They wanted to address each question and provide as many answers as possible. Below are those answers!



The Impact of COVID-19 on the Supplier Landscape

United Airlines Answers Your Questions

Every question asked during the TCG Global Insights Panel 3 that was directed at United Airlines is answered below. All answers are current as of May 5th, and subject to change without notice.

Jake Cefolia

Senior Vice President Worldwide Sales

United Airlines

1. How will United provide proof of cleanliness and products used?

  • Enhanced cabin sanitization — We have implemented electrostatic spraying into our cleaning procedures on all inbound long-haul international flights, and mainline overnight aircraft at our U.S. hubs. In June, all aircraft will have electrostatic spray on every one of our departures, in addition to disinfecting customer touch points and surfaces before every flight.
  • State-of-the-art circulation systems — All our mainline aircraft use a high-efficiency (HEPA) filter (like those found in hospitals) to circulate the air and removes up to 99.7% of airborne particles.
  • Reduced onboard contact — We are minimizing touchpoints by changing current food service and the temporary removal of onboard items.
  • Social distancing at the airport — At the airport, you will notice enhanced signage in both customer and employee spaces, including a 6 ft. tape rule at the ticket counters which allows for minimal contact between our agents and customers. We are also working to deploy sneeze guards at key interaction points including check-in counters and gate podiums.
  • Equipping employees to maintain clean environments — We are working to provide sanitizer and other supplies to employees to deliver a safe travel experience, implementing employee temperature checks and reducing close contact

2. What is the United Airlines position on masks?

In coordination with the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) — we were the first major U.S. carrier to require that all flight attendants wear a facial covering to help protect themselves and customers on board our aircraft. That mandate was expanded to include all employees on board and effective May 4, all travelers are required to wear a facial covering on board. We encourage customers to bring their own face coverings, but our customer service agents will be able to provide them if you don’t have one when you board our aircraft. Certain customers – such as those who have a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a face covering, those who cannot put on or remove a face covering themselves and small children – will not be required to wear one on board. This added protection aligns with current CDC guidelines and more information can be found here.


3. How will United Airlines prep clients for the “new ” experience? Prepping corporates is around direct travel but more important health wellbeing and safety onboard.  How will they social distance onboard?

We’re limiting seat selections in all cabins, so customers won’t be able to select seats next to each other or middle seats where available. We’re also alternating window and aisle seats when seats are in pairs. We are boarding fewer customers at a time to allow for more distance during the boarding process. Following pre-boarding (a process that will not change), we will board back-to-front by rows, but will space out customers to minimize crowding in the gate area and on the jet bridge. We are also implementing a temporary front-to-back deplaning process as customers exit the aircraft. Finally, we are processing Complimentary Premier Upgrades at the gate, in priority order.


4. Will United deny travelers based on testing or temperatures?

We are not conducting passenger health screening at this time.


5. Can Jake comment on international immigration entry experience once international flying ramps up? Testing? Specifically interested in UK-US.

We are in daily contact with governmental bodies regarding COVID-19 related issues, however are not in a position to comment at this time.


6. What does Jake see coming back first: leisure or corporate?

We are closely monitoring all travel segments, but at this time it’s too early to definitively tell.

Marriott International Answers Your Questions

Every question asked during the TCG Global Insights Panel 3 that was directed at Marriott is answered below. These answers are current as of May 13th, and subject to change without notice.

Tammy Routh

Senior Vice President, Global Sales Organization

Marriott International

1. How will Marriott provide proof of cleanliness and products used?  How long was the process?

Marriott will be using the highest classification of disinfectants recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) to treat known pathogens. We also partner with Ecolab, our decades long partner.


2. Will Marriott provide the audit trail of cleanliness?

Our Commitment to Cleanliness will be absorbed into our new operational protocol and therefore audited in the same way as our other operations. Marriott has a 92- year history of operational excellence; we are using our culture of rigorous training & standard operating procedures to execute these new processes and procedures.


3. Elevator high risk?  Front desk medium risk?

Marriott is taking a thoughtful approach to set an even higher bar of cleanliness in our guest rooms, public spaces, and meeting space. This is in addition to developing new guest interaction protocols throughout our hotels. One of the protocols is specifically addressing high traffic areas with new processes and increased cleaning frequencies. We are providing a holistic approach designed to take care of our guests and associates throughout their stay. You will continue to see us sending updated information on these new brand standards and protocols as they are developed and implemented globally.


4. How will Marriott differentiate the sanitizing the various brands?

Our cleanliness initiatives will be applied across all luxury, premium, select service and extended stay brands.


5. What are the guidelines to reopen a hotel based on?

New standards will apply to all 7300+ hotels globally and all brands. There will be some variations by region based on local government requirements, and we are still reviewing if anything should be done differently with our luxury brands. At the end of the day, we want our customers to have confidence that no matter what brand or hotel they choose, they can trust Marriott has the highest standards of cleanliness and hygiene.

Regarding guidelines for re-opening hotels, we are currently in the process of finalizing all these processes.  We are obviously taking the best practices of our hotels in Greater China who are already in the recovery phase.


Additional Comments Based on Audience Feedback: 

  1. It has to be more than a marketing campaign for corps to recommend Marriott’s commitment to cleanliness, which is led by our Global Cleanliness Council, means we are raising our demanding standards to an even higher level with new protocols for the current circumstances. This is a multi-pronged platform to elevate our cleanliness standards and hospitality norms and behaviors to meet the new health and safety challenges presented by the current pandemic environment.
  2. Marriott should provide a process flow of risk areas in hotel We are currently working on some great customer-facing communication so stay tuned!
  3. Hotels-hotel amenities (bars, restaurants, pools, gyms, etc) could be less important in travelers selecting hotels moving forward because they want to socially distance themselves.  The in-room comfort and experience will be more important.    I’m thinking this could cause some customers to downgrade from luxury/full service hotels to more moderate properties if they can have the same in-room experience and cleanliness. It will be interesting to see how travel changes in both the short and long term. The good news is Marriott’s portfolio of 7,300 hotels across 30 brands offers our customers choices depending upon their trip purpose and preference.

Up Next:

TCG Global Insights Week 5: Restarting Your T&E Program in a Post COVID-19 Era


Week 3

The Impact of COVID-19 on the Supplier Landscape

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

For our TCG Global Insights Week 3 our panelists included the senior VPs of global sales for Marriott and United Airlines, as well as the Chief Procurement Officer for White & Case.Questions included:

1. What is the real impact of COVID-19 on your company, beyond what we’re reading in the headlines?

2. Will the value proposition change as a result of this crisis?

3. What will each party (suppliers and customers) need from the other in the future?