NAVIGATING THE "NEW NORMAL" AMID COVID-19

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Driving Hotel Recovery with Indoor Air Quality

We’re headed into a new era in planning for reopening amid the fight against COVID spread – an era where hotel indoor air quality will impact how hospitality conducts business.

While hotel owners and operators work to navigate a still turbulent market as they plan to reopen, consumers remain hesitant and fearful. How these two dynamics converge will help determine the economic recovery of those hospitality businesses and who will thrive in the long term. 

Top concerns for hotel guests to date have been cleaning, PPE and social distancing protocols — now, with winter and flu season pushing activities indoors as the pandemic continues, indoor air quality (IAQ) is becoming a topic of conversation.

Consumers are already seeking out information on air quality. Californians actively monitored outdoor air quality amidst the wildfires to make personal health and wellness decisions for themselves and their families. Office building owners are getting IAQ questions from their tenants negotiating leases. And employers are connecting the dots between providing healthy work environments (including ones where IAQ is addressed) and increased productivity. It’s experiences like these that will also lead hotel guests to seek out IAQ information when booking.

In fact, according to a recent survey conducted by Carbon Lighthouse:

  1. Proof of a hotel’s IAQ would impact where 77% of consumers decided to stay, and
  2. 52% of consumers would be willing to pay more to stay at a hotel with better IAQ

More importantly, group bookings — the much larger revenue driver for hotels — will be impacted as employers in office spaces increase their attention on IAQ.

As employers begin to plan socially distanced events and meetings, they will actively ask about IAQ to ensure the health and safety of their employees. Those that properly manage and report out on IAQ can enjoy a sizable competitive edge as a result.  

Instilling confidence that a hotel’s air quality is safe will require proof — and data will be the key.

It will no longer be enough to simply implement COVID safety measures — whether about cleaning protocols or IAQ – as hotels will need to effectively communicate their efforts to boost guest confidence, and in turn drive a quicker, safer return to their properties. Providing up-to-date data around a hotel indoor air quality will enable consumers to make informed decisions, quell their fears or misconceptions and be more confident in re-entering public buildings like hotels.

The good news is the science around IAQ is clear and has been for decades.

But hotels aren’t equipped with the right management systems and technologies to provide the data-driven insights guests will soon be hungry for. So, before IAQ can be properly managed, hotel operators will need to determine if their systems are even equipped to handle what’s required to provide safer indoor air.

A hotel’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system must be working properly to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses. For example, it cannot establish proper airflow and ventilation with leaky ducts. Yet, the majority of ductwork throughout HVAC systems leak, according to the Department of Energy.

Having the right data about the inner workings of HVAC systems will equip owners and operators with the insights needed to ensure implemented COVID measures have the desired effect — and this same data will also help communicate more effectively with guests, helping address their immediate hesitations and concerns about returning to public indoor spaces.

Hotel IAQ is the start of a broader modernization.

Beyond the immediate need, addressing IAQ can serve as the tip of the spear for a larger, much-needed modernization — one that enables a far more streamlined, agile, and resilient hospitality industry of the future.

IAQ can serve as an opportunity for hoteliers to update outdated technology and operations processes. Now is the time to make the “back-of-the-house” systems in hotels more adaptable and resilient to uncertainties caused by COVID — and also to better prepare the hotel for future disruptions.

Hoteliers can leverage modern building management systems (BMS) and work with solutions and partners that tap the latest in emerging technologies like AI and data analytics to chart scientific, informed strategies that drive long-term portfolio value.

Modern hotel systems use advanced data collection and analytics to enable new capabilities — like resetting static setpoints, identifying optimal start/stop algorithms, resetting shoulder season scheduling, enhancing zone level controls, temperature and flow point optimization, and making central operational changes.

Modernization will also help hoteliers find operational efficiencies to offset some of the increased operating costs associated with COVID mitigation.

Carbon Lighthouse’s patented AI technology CLUES® — and expertise developed over 10 years — is proven in 100 million square feet of commercial real estate, including hotels.

These are the same tools you need now to align new strategies for reopening and help your team solve the IAQ challenges ahead, all while reducing energy costs and carbon emissions with precisely optimized and controlled HVAC systems.

To learn more about modernizing your portfolio — or to get guidance from Carbon Lighthouse’s building engineering experts around tactics for improving hotel IAQ, data-backing hotel operations or communicating with guests around IAQ — please fill out the form below. 

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