Indoor air quality (IAQ) has evolved into an essential need in today’s building industry, especially in hotels where guests expect comfort and safety during their stay. The importance of IAQ has become even more prevalent in the post-COVID landscape, with heightened awareness of its impact on the well-being of building occupants.
Striving for optimal IAQ in hotels is imperative for several reasons. IAQ significantly impacts the guest experience, with recent data[i] finding that 77% of consumers factor a hotel's air quality into their decision-making process when selecting accommodations and 52% of guests express a willingness to pay a premium for a hotel that prioritizes better air quality. Beyond the enhancement of meeting guest expectations, maintaining high IAQ levels in hotels can directly contribute to operational efficiency.
An efficient IAQ monitoring system goes beyond energy efficiency to help support the well-being, comfort and confidence of not only guests, but also hotel staff. Furthermore, research conducted by the World Green Building Council underscores the impact of IAQ on staff productivity, revealing potential increases in productivity of up to 11%.[ii] As employees operate in a healthier and more comfortable environment, well-being can improve.[iii]
Prioritizing IAQ in hotels emerges not only as a fundamental commitment to guest and employee well-being but also as a strategic investment in operational excellence and workforce productivity. With an influx of visitors looking for lodging options comes the challenge of maintaining optimal IAQ. This may lead many hotel owners to propose strategies to enhance the air quality for guest experience, operating efficiency and staff well-being.
Continuous evaluation and communication of indoor air quality
In the ever-evolving, post-pandemic landscape, the significance of prioritizing IAQ within hotels has gained prominence, accompanied by an increased awareness of its profound impact on the well-being of guests and staff. Implementing IAQ sensors to monitor key indicators – such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are harmful gasses that are emitted into the air, carbon dioxide (CO2) and PM2.5, a fine particulate matter that can travel deeply into the respiratory tract – has become imperative.
These sensors offer invaluable insights to hotel management, providing a comprehensive understanding of the air quality within their establishments. The integration of these sensors with HVAC systems facilitates continuous monitoring, enabling swift identification of contaminants and automated interventions to enhance IAQ. This approach not only meets the growing demand among hotel occupants to stay well-informed about their IAQ levels but can also lead to enhanced well-being through timely, automated interventions where desirable.
Consider a new approach to ventilation
Effective ventilation serves as the foundation for maintaining healthier IAQ within hotel spaces and optimizing thermal comfort for guests. Although the simple act of opening windows might appear as a straightforward solution, it frequently proves impractical and unsafe. Particularly in the hotel industry, the ability to open windows is seen as a safety concern and therefore not available in many settings.
Advanced technologies, such as dynamic ventilation systems, play a pivotal role in this scenario. These systems continuously assess real-time conditions, considering indoor and outdoor climates, air quality and the load patterns of the building's HVAC system. By dynamically adjusting the intake and exhaust based on these parameters, this adaptive approach not only promotes enhanced IAQ but also allows for better energy management. Simultaneously, it upholds comfort levels by responding dynamically to changes in occupancy and variations in both indoor and outdoor air quality.
Enhance filtration and purification capabilities
To cultivate a healthier indoor environment within hotels, consider strategically placing high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) purifiers in high-traffic areas. These purifiers excel at capturing particles of 0.01 microns and larger[iv], utilizing diffusion and interception mechanisms with extraordinary efficiency. Determining the count and capacity of these purifiers should be based on the clean air delivery rate required to effectively minimize airborne contaminants in a given space.
Complementing this approach, pressurization technologies become integral, managing both positive and negative air pressure. For instance, maintaining a slightly positive pressure during the summer minimizes the infiltration of hot outside air, while adopting negative pressure in winter preserves humidity by carefully allowing controlled intake of outside air. The strategic management of pressurization strategies also serves to isolate spaces within hotels, minimizing the transfer of contaminants. In adverse outdoor air conditions, hotels can rely on sophisticated and automated sensing, filtration, air purification and circulation systems to consistently enhance and maintain IAQ.
Recognizing IAQ as a cornerstone in the hospitality industry and understanding the profound impact it has on guest satisfaction, operational cost-effectiveness and occupant well-being is crucial. As hotels move toward meeting tomorrow’s expectations, the recommended strategies – continuous evaluation and communication of IAQ, considering a new approach to ventilation and the strategic use of filtration and purification technologies – offer a tangible pathway for hotels to prioritize IAQ standards. By implementing these measures, hotels can help create environments that prioritize safety, comfort and operational efficiency, meeting the evolving expectations of guests and looking forward to a future where IAQ is a standard feature for exceptional hospitality.
[i] Carbon House, Consumers to Drive U.S. Economic Recovery: 91% Say Indoor Air Quality Critical in Fight Against COVID-19, [Accessed December 13, 2023]
[ii] World Green Buildings Council, Health, Wellbeing and Productivity in Offices: The Next Chapter for Green Building [Accessed December 13, 2023]
[iii] World Green Buildings Council, Health, Wellbeing and Productivity in Offices: The Next Chapter for Green Building [Accessed December 13, 2023]