As we find ourselves halfway through the year 2020, you must admit the days are often filled with a multitude of emotions that range from frustration and apprehension, to optimism with moments of joy, and then right back to frustration in the form of panic and concern. Beginning full force in March we experienced the rapid onset of the COVID-19 novel corona-virus, putting a major dent in the world-wide economy and mostly stopping the hospitality industry. Our leaders and medical professionals have been learning more and more every week and have tried to steer us through these difficult times. It is clear that we are not back to normal, nor have we reached a 'new normal' yet, and most agree the virus is here to stay for some time.
As tension continues to build between a desire for normality and a concern for safety for ourselves, our employees and our guests, the demand for quality healthy hotels will steadily increase. People, and businesses are moving toward a new normal that includes leisure and limited business travel. We are a social people, and we crave interaction and collaboration with other like-minded people. The limited reopening we experienced in the past 4 to 8 weeks has given us a taste of what we've been missing, and it is fueling a re-surging market from a traveling public that seeks quality accommodations, where we can have new and safe experiences. This re-surging market will boost the economy and help us realize the "New Normal."
How can the hospitality industry support the emerging demand for both leisure and business travel, while increasing safety for the guests and minimize or eliminate pathogen transmission? The answer is by providing healthy hotels that are well buildings. Well buildings are not a new concept—hospitals have been designed as well buildings for decades. Can a hotel be a healthy/well building while providing a superior experience in an aesthetically pleasing environment? Absolutely; hotels have been a component of the
Wellness Economy since wellness was considered a trend and industry many years ago. So what is the Wellness Economy? The Global Wellness Institute defines:
"The Wellness Economy is a colossal global industry, estimated by the Global Wellness Institute (GWI) as $4.5 trillion and representing roughly 5.3 percent of global economic output in 2017. Defined as industries that enable consumers to incorporate wellness activities and lifestyles into their daily lives, the wellness economy encompasses 10 varied and diverse sectors."
So what is a well building? Considered by the Well Building Institute, a well building is one that provides a built environment that supports human health and wellbeing, through air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind.
"There are four primary areas of consideration for the design and renovation of hotels to support the fundamentals of healthy hotels."
How can we design new hotels and enhance existing hotels that are defensive against COVID-19 and future epidemics and pandemics? There are four primary areas of consideration for the design and renovation of hotels to support the fundamentals of healthy hotels. These are referred to the four pillars of healthy hotels.
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