Improving air quality in hotels has become a priority for operators since the outbreak of the COVID pandemic – and those venues promoting positive health and wellbeing are securing premium rates as guests value the focus on clean air facilities.
Creating healthier indoor environments became an essential feature of opening up countries after initial lockdowns, encouraging people back into enclosed spaces and re-energising business, particularly the leisure industry.
Air-purification and air-filtration systems have become vital pieces of equipment – but the issue of air quality has been a long-standing one which simply came to prominence due to the focus on airborne viruses and bacteria and their relationship with Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems.
‘We’ve been encouraging people to focus on this for a long time,’ said Mark Chapman, Syntegra’s Director of Environmental Services.
‘Now that people are more aware of indoor air quality and its impact on health, it is important to capitalise on that knowledge and help businesses make their environments as healthy as possible for their workforce and visitors.’
‘This is especially true in hotels where there is a heavy flow of traffic through premises and the associated risk of exposure within an enclosed space.’
A 2021 study, Mitigating COVID-19 In Public Spaces, indicates that the primary concern for guests was not in the rooms. “It was more in all the places where people congregated such as lobbies, breakfast areas, boardrooms, gyms, and pools,” explains Bhavesh Gupta, Director of Engineering, Honeywell Building Technologies, who co-authored the report.
The fundamental answer to improving indoor air quality is a simple one in principle, said Mark. ‘Bad air out – good air in; but there can be many challenging in getting this balance right.’
Existing systems can be retrofitted with improved filtration and disinfectant technologies or new ones installed designed with indoor air quality in mind.
With commercial HVAC systems typically having an efficient operating life of around 15 years, Syntegra encourages hotels and other companies to open initial discussions around improvements and replacements at the earliest opportunity to maximise their benefits.
The pandemic spurred a surge in demand for ‘purifiers’, but Mark explained that while they can improve air quality in small spaces such as guest rooms, they often only target one of many indoor pollutants that need consideration, are not deployed correctly, and are ineffective in larger public spaces in a hotel or office environment.
Some hotel operators, realising the importance now attached to clean indoor air, are promoting their facilities with this as a marketing tool.
Removing carpets, offering guest rooms with ‘purifiers’ or balconies and direct access to fresh clean air, are all features that research suggests guests are willing to pay a premium for.
Some venues are seeking the International WELL Building Institute’s (IWBI’s) certification, considered the gold standard to attract guests concerned about their health.
Mark said: ‘There are a range of indoor air quality services we offer at Syntegra. They do not have to be prohibitive in terms of cost – some benefits can be achieved at relatively low cost.
‘Don’t underestimate the importance of clean air from a health and safety perspective and how addressing this issue can attract more customers. We encourage businesses to get in touch for an initial discussion to see what is appropriate for their specific environment .’