Industry Update
Opinion Article 5 May 2021

3 Arguments Why Monitoring Your Hotel's Indoor Air Quality Is Crucial

By Larina Maira Laube, Business Development Manager at ARVE.swiss

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A happy guest is an objective for all hoteliers and much hard work is employed towards creating a unique guest experience. As a "home away from home," hotels are expected to guarantee a pleasant and safe environment for guests and staff. That includes good indoor air quality*. Something fundamental for our health and well-being.

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The pandemic has boosted the awareness about the importance of indoor environments. For most people pre-COVID-19, the term air quality applied to the outdoor air quality issues, such as smog or haze5. Due to the pandemic, indoor air quality and its possible adverse health effects have emerged as a key topic for many people. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, only 5% of business travellers ranked health and safety as the most important factor when booking a trip vs. 40% during the pandemic1.

This growing air-awareness and well as the potential risk for airborne transmissions of SARS-CoV-2, due to aerosols and unhealthy CO2 levels has, highlighted the need for monitored indoor environments. This means that improving and especially monitoring indoor air quality is necessary to keep the spread of airborne transmissions under control3.

But what does that mean for hotels? The "home away from home," where hoteliers are expected to make their guests feel safe and cared for. A place that many guests are reluctant to come back to. 73% of business travellers express concerns about traveling again1. Many hotels have already invested large sums into air purifying systems to ensure good air quality. Still, only a small amount of them can use these investments to reassure guests and increase their bookings.

So, what if the hotels could monitor the air quality in their rooms and communicate it to their guests to reassure them that they can feel safe in their "home away from home"?

We compiled three arguments why hotels should start monitoring and communicating their air quality:

1. Improved Guest Experience

Hotel guests spend a large amount of their stay either sleeping or otherwise occupying their rooms. For hotels, air quality is about more than temperature and humidity; it is also about indoor contaminants that could cause discomfort such as drowsiness and induce serious health effects.

As mentioned earlier, that awareness about the adverse effects of bad indoor air quality has increased significantly. While pre-COVID-19 guests who experienced poor indoor air quality during their stay may have chosen not to return or leave a negative online review, post-COVID-19 guests want to be reassured before and during their stay that the air they breathe is safe for them and does not increase the risk of being contaminated2.

The ability to prove to guests that the air they breathe is healthy can instil confidence to return to stay at hotels and increase the hotel's reputation in the industry and among potential guests.

2. Increase operating efficiency

Did you ever stay in a hotel room that smelled stuffy? That room might have experienced mould growth within the enclosed environment because of high humidity and non-sufficient air ventilation. This proves that bad air quality can influence the guest experience and lead to higher renovation and reactive maintenance costs2.

Especially now that many rooms are idle for a long time, hoteliers must monitor the air quality in those rooms to reduce the risk of losing value by being unused and incurring damages due to for example mould. A centralized air quality monitoring system can save hotels costs and resources, as it can increase the quality of the manual checks of rooms done by the maintenance teams in a hotel.

By monitoring and measuring the hotel's air quality, facility managers can take proactive measures before problems with air quality can lead to costly damages to the property and lower building quality.

3. Staff Productivity

Same as for the guests, bad indoor air quality can have adverse effects on the hotel teams. A good example here are cleaning supplies and solvents from freshly painted walls and furniture that increase the levels of volatile organic compounds (VOC), which can have adverse health effects, if staff is exposed to this air for a longer time.

If they are uncomfortable, they will not be able to work efficiently and effectively. It can affect their concentration and productivity, which can hurt the guest experience. Low air quality can cause headaches, dry eyes and throats, dizziness, and tiredness. Furthermore, as we will see in a later article, low air quality can lead to a higher risk of contamination with viruses such as SARS-CoV-24.

Conclusion

As we can see, there are three crucial arguments why monitoring air quality can positively impact the hotel performance and the health and safety of guests and staff. It can improve the hotel teams' working conditions and even bring back guests into the hotels, by acting as a confidence booster. Furthermore, it can support the hotel in saving costs and resources by reducing the time used for manually checking idle rooms, and it can alert about problems that are not visible to the human eye before it is too late.

At ARVE, we do not just want to tell you that some air quality parameters are not right. The ARVE Swiss Air Quality System allows you to not only know the air quality in each room in real-time, but it also gives you actionable insights to make smart management decisions.

Did you know? The average human takes 25,000 breaths each day. Let's make them count for you and your hotel.

* Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is referred to as the quality within and around buildings and closed spaces, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of occupants of such spaces. There are different sources of indoor air pollutants, including smoke, building materials, cleaning and personal care suppliers and more6.

More about ARVE.swiss ARVE is a Swiss Start-up headquartered in Bern and Hong Kong that has been part of the EHL Incubator since 2019. ARVE was founded in 2017 by Claudio Graf (CEO), Kaspar Zimmerli (COO) and Lars Diener-Kimmich (Innovation Advisor). The newest member of the team, Larina Laube, joined in September this year and is a recent graduate from EHL. Since last year, ARVE is in close collaboration with EHL and its faculty to develop new and innovative digital services for the hospitality industry.In addition to its newest service, the data-based cleanliness certification, ARVE offers hotels a new way to solve long-lived operational problems and generate impressive savings: optimize humidity, detect mold, lower energy costs, catch smokers and more. The ARVE Sense Activity Detectors feed the data intelligence engine and can detect various activities discreetly and reliably by measuring air quality.

Sources:

  1. Business Traveler (2020). The Future of Business Travel
  2. Indoor air quality In Hotels: Iota. (2019, June 10). Retrieved from: IOTA Communications
  3. Neill, P. (2020, December 15). Improving indoor air quality is key to stopping the spread of covid-19. Retrieved from Air quality news
  4. Little, C. (n.d.). Let's clear the air: The importance of indoor air quality. Retrieved from https://togo.hotelbusiness.com/article/lets-clear-the-air-the-importance-of-indoor-air-quality/
  5. Link between air pollution and covid-19 (n.d.). Retrieved from Medical news today
  6. Introduction to indoor air quality. (2021, January 11). Retrieved March 01, 2021, from https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/introduction-indoor-air-quality

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Larina Maira Laube

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