With the steady rollout of the COVID vaccine and the highly discussed COVID passport, the travel industry is picking back up. However, with that comes changes in how consumers will travel and their expectations of experiences in airports and hotels. In particular, today’s travelers are looking for assurance from hoteliers that their stay will not only be comfortable and convenient, but also safe and healthy.
As we embark on a post-COVID world with travel bans lifting across the globe, guests will be assessing hotels on an entirely new set of standards. No longer will travelers only make their hotel selection decisions based on location, amenities or even price, but rather on whether or not the hotel will be able to provide true peace of mind for their health and safety throughout their stay.
Most hotel operators are ahead of the curve. Some hoteliers have already responded to the pandemic with more extensive hygiene and safety protocols that are essential to ensuring healthy hotels and providing their guests with the peace of mind they seek but, there is more that can be done as hoteliers rethink the guest experience as bookings are picking back up and they prepare for guest returns.
Social distancing protocols, deep-cleaning of high-touch surfaces, hand sanitizing stations, and contactless check-in are all great solutions to improving the guest experience. However, there are additional hotel solutions and technology innovations that can help hotel operators create healthier spaces and offer more guest-centric experiences.
Improved Air Quality and Control
Air quality is an essential health and safety measure. And while the quality of air is something that was once assumed to be safe, it is now front and center for many travelers. Proper monitoring and control with integrated air systems can help to mitigate health risks, and maintain optimal comfort. Hotel operators can turn to more connected HVAC systems to ensure optimal humidity levels, confirm adequate air circulation, monitor CO2 and Volatile Organic Compounds (VoC) levels, and ensure adequate cleaning throughout indirect VoC monitoring.
UV Lighting as a Disinfectant
As hotels prepare for an increased number of bookings, many operators are looking for tricks of the trade from hospitals to give their guests the peace of mind they seek. One health and safety method that is coming to hotels from the medical industry is UV lighting that is hospital grade and commonly used as a disinfectant for removing mold, bacteria, and viruses of all kinds from surfaces and the air.
Hoteliers are also turning to this method to supplement regular cleaning in high traffic areas. Both portable and hardwired UV lighting can be built into integrated solutions within a building’s management system so that an entire space can be sanitized with just a simple push of a button.
Monitoring and Managing Use of Hotel Space
Throughout the pandemic one tried and true method to health and safety was clear: maintaining social distance of at least six feet. This very method will remain a key to sustaining a healthy and safe hotel strategy as travel bans are lifted and consumers look to book hotels for trips in the near future. Luckily, there are a variety of non-intrusive hotel technology solutions to help operators:
- Remotely measure utilization and people count across different areas in real time
- Monitor occupancy levels in real time
- Set capacity thresholds for specific rooms or floors
- Analyze how occupants are using individual and collaborative spaces
There are new and emerging technologies such as people counting sensors that leverage 3D sensing technology to accurately count the people in a given space in near real time so that operators can assess the occupancy levels in any given space or room within the hotel.
Hoteliers are also turning to other technologies such as wearables to help trace the interactions between hotel staff and guests, as well as proximity beacons to track space usage. This technology can be easily integrated into the hotel’s building management system dashboard so operators can easily make adjustments in real time. These types of space management solutions can help hotel operators better optimize the efficiency of essential personnel, such as housekeeping staff, while maintaining social distancing protocols.
As the travel industry prepares for what many are deeming an era of revenge travel, hotel operators will turn to new technology to not only ensure guest satisfaction and improve the overall experience, but also set forth a new standard of health, safety and hygiene that is likely to stick around well past the pandemic.