Staying in a Bureau Veritas certified hotel? What it means when a property receives the Safeguard label

Earlier this year, Jumeirah Al Naseem in Dubai became first hotel in the world to receive the label

Strict hygiene standards are in place at Jumeirah Al Naseem, the first hotel in the world to be certified with Bureau Veritas Safeguard label. Courtesy Jumeirah
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There are some terms that we have all become familiar with over the past few months, from "flattening the curve" to "social distancing". And those in the hospitality industry, or anyone browsing the internet in search of a staycation, may have come across new terms used to denote safety and hygiene, namely the Bureau Veritas Safeguard label.

Earlier this year, news broke that Jumeirah Al Naseem in Dubai became first hotel in the world to receive the label, and a number of other properties in the UAE have followed suit, including Kempinski Mall of the Emirates and Rove Hotels.

What is it?

Bureau Veritas is an international company that specialises in testing, inspection and certification. And, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, it has launched the Safeguard label “to provide reassurance to partners, customers and employees that the entities carrying the label have undergone checks and audits of the preventive measures in place”.

Marcel Hochar, senior vice president Middle East and central Asia at Bureau Veritas, says: "We recognised that companies and administrations around the world were looking to restart their activities and operate safely.

“To restart, these organisations must demonstrate that they have implemented a series of safety and sanitary measures, covering hygiene, cleaning, maintenance and regulatory inspections, to protect and reassure their clients, employees, suppliers, students or users. Bureau Veritas launched the Safeguard label to be able to support in adapting to the new normal.”

While commonly held in the hospitality industry, the label can also be issued to banks, shops, restaurants, corporate buildings, industrial sites, construction sites, public buildings, schools, airports and malls.

How does a property get it?

In order to receive it, the preventive measures a property has put in place have to undergo checks and audits. Hochar says the checklists have been developed in collaboration with health and safety specialists.

The audit covers four main categories: facilities, hygiene and cleaning, people, and process.

Under these categories, there are nine subcategories, which are cleaning, employee protection, equipment, knowledge, training, management, personal hygiene, PPE and social distancing.

Remote and/or field audits are done to check that the protective measures are implemented efficiently. If there are “non-conformities” identified, the client is expected to implement corrective actions in seven days, or it does not get the label.

Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates in Dubai also received the Bureau Veritas Safeguard label. Courtesy Kempinski

The company has not disclosed the fee required for the label. Once received, the tag is valid for six months, “taking into consideration the evolution of the sanitary situation, regulations and requirements”. After six months, the property has to be reassessed.

The UAE has been a leading hub for the Bureau Veritas Safeguard label. In fact, at the time of publishing, 48 properties in the country had received it, while 53 more were undergoing the audit process.

Hotels in the UAE, such as JA Resorts and Hotels, have also sought safety verification from the World Travel and Tourism Council.

In June, Ras Al Khaimah became the first city in the world to be certified as safe by Bureau Veritas and the first emirate to receive the WTTC Safe Travels stamp.

Meanwhile, many individual hotel chains have launched new health and safety precautions and programmes to address Covid-19, such as Hilton's CleanStay, Accor's All Safe label and Marriott's Commitment to Clean initiative.