Verdict: We Are Germophobes

The many ways planners avoid contagion on the road

Just 5 percent of meeting planners say they "worry excessively" about germs, but other results of an M&C poll on the topic might suggest otherwise. More than half of the 223 respondents travel with a disinfectant such as Lysol, and the list of items they sanitize upon entering hotel rooms is exhaustive. Click here for more results.








Additional Findings From the Survey
To what extent do you worry about germs/contagion in public places?

I worry excessively    5%
Somewhat; I try to be very careful    40%
I'm mindful, but it's not a big concern    50%
Not at all; it's not anywhere on my radar    5%

Which of the following do you avoid touching (or clean first) in a public place?

Toilet flush handle/button    61%
Doorknobs/door handles     51%
Handrails on stairs, escalators, etc.    47%
Subway bars/straps/handrails    37%
Grocery basket/cart handles    35%
Sink faucet/fixtures    30%
Gym equipment    23%
Computer mouse/keyboard in business centers    19%
Pen/stylus provided for payment signature    14%
Magazines in salons, doctors' offices, etc.    14%
Restaurant menus    9%
None of the above    19%
Other    11%

Do you travel with Lysol or other surface disinfectant spray or wipes?

Yes, always    24%
Yes, sometimes    28%
No    48%

How frequently do you use antibacterial hand cleansers?

Almost never    28%
Not very often (e.g., during travel only)    33%
Relatively often in everyday situations    19%
At least once daily    11%
Many times per day    9%

For your meetings, do you provide hand sanitizer for attendees' use?

Yes, we do so for all our meetings    15%
Yes, for some of our meetings    28%
Only if it is already provided by the venue    29%
No, it is not one of our considerations    28%

How have your actions regarding avoiding germs changed over the past two years?

I'm much more cautious    16%
I'm somewhat more cautious    41%
No change    43%

Source: M&C Research survey of 223 meeting professionals

Planners' Pearls of Wisdom on Avoiding Germs

M&C's June 2014 Newsline Research involved asking meeting professionals about the measures they take to avoid germs, particularly on the road. Many of the 223 respondents took the time to add verbatim comments to their answers. Among them:

What do you avoid touching (or clean first) in a public place?
• Hotel remotes, telephones, guest services booklets, bedspreads
• Paper-towel dispenser knobs
• Car door handles, steering wheel, money!
• Elevator buttons
• I use a paper towel to open bathroom door after washing my hands and wipe down grocery carts with disinfectant if it's provided.
• For the most part, I don't avoid touching anything, but I do wash my hands often (to a point where the folks I work with think I am a little germaphobic; I don't think I am...).
• I think about what I have touched and then do not touch my phone or things until I am able to use hand sanitizer or wash my hands. I hate being worried, but hate being sick more!
• I always disinfect whatever I can when businesses supply disinfectant wipes.
• I just try to observe my surroundings and clean something if it is apparent that it needs cleaning.
• The toilet seat I spray down with Lysol. The telephone (handset and keypad) in the hotel room. When I rent a car I try to remember to wipe down the steering wheel, gear shift and console.
• Doors, but only when exiting the restroom. If there's no trash can near the door, I'll confess that I drop my paper towel on the floor behind it! I mean, really people, how difficult is it?! And I may have been known to move a trash can closer to the door for the sake of letting them know! LOL

What precautions do you take when flying?
• I purposely wear a poncho or a hoodie so I can cover the head rest to avoid possibly getting lice, as was suggested by a professional de-licer.
• Avoid touching the seat pocket...where everyone puts their trash, used Kleenex, etc...
• I use Handi Wipes rather than the spray. I find it more refreshing and feels cleaner.
• If the tray looks dirty, I clean it. Otherwise I don't worry about it.
• Avoid using restroom only because it isn't kept very clean and the smell makes me nauseous. On long flights though...
• After deplaning, I head to the restroom to wash my hands. I can't stop thinking about that report of all the germs (feces? really?) on and in the seatback pockets.

What do you do when checking into a hotel room?
• Take off my shoes at the door and put on my own slippers
• Never use a bathtub, wear shower shoes in shower, never drink from a hotel glass in room, request plastic cups at bar, do not lay luggage or purse on floor ever!
• Put TV remote control in ziplock bag
• Use paper cups.
• I have a disinfecting light I travel with to disinfect the room and kill any potential bed bugs.
• Don't usually take a bath in a hotel unless it's a Jacuzzi, and then I wash it. Usually just use shower
• I would wash the glasses if I planned to use them, but 98% of the time I avoid even using them.
• I don't remove the bedspread if it's one that you can tell they wash; this is becoming more common at nicer hotels. But I never let the bedspread touch me -- always have the sheets as a buffer.
• Will not use drinking glasses unless they are the plastic-wrapped plastic cups, and will not use ice bucket unless there is a plastic bag to line it -- do not use the lid and try not to think about what could be in the ice!

What do you avoid in your hotel room?

• Don't drink coffee, bring a top sheet to cover sofa, bring top sheets for bed and cover the hotel pillows with the sheet
• Sitting on the bedspread or any other cloth surface after a shower without putting a towel underneath
• Never sit anywhere in the room naked
• Putting clothes on bed or upholstered furniture
• Upholstered furniture: always place a towel down
• If I sit on the upholstered furniture, I put a towel down first.
• You are giving me more ideas of things to obsess about! I don't need that! I may not obsess about all this, but I have plenty of other obsessions.