NATIONAL REPORT—In recent months and over the holiday season, tourists and travelers have been crowding airports, hotels, and restaurants as the hospitality industry is regaining public trust once again. Yet, amid the COVID-variants that have risen, as well as lingering doubts about the safety of air in enclosed spaces such as hotels, motels, and other forms of lodging, the need for proper, fully tested and validated indoor air quality (IAQ) technology is now crucial for the hospitality industry to maintain value now and continue to thrive in the future. Hospitality and lodging owners and operators are at a pivotal moment and need to strategize and prepare, as well as identify companies that will be able to service their needs and the expectations of their customers and guests in terms of creating IAQ standards.
One that offers third-party validation through studies, certifications and standardized laboratory testing is AtmosAir Solutions, which has the means to produce thorough IAQ data as well as the installation of its dynamic air purification technology which now, more than ever, serves as a vital health and wellness solution for many.
In 2020, the overall outlook for tourism was dire, where tourism was expected to remain in decline by a whopping 80 percent. (Rebuilding tourism for the future: COVID-19 policy responses and recovery.) Today, the hotel and lodging industry may stand to suffer with residual declines unless precautions that ensure customer safety are taken. Other international incidents and reports of CO poisoning in hotels also indicate that IAQ must be taken seriously now. What will be key moving forward is how companies, owners and operators are able to entice travelers back to hotels, while also ensuring that their safety and health are protected and maximized throughout their stays. Today, many still cite Covid-related concerns when organizing travel plans. It’s also true that immunity is not uniform, and varying vulnerabilities exist among travelers. The elderly for example, who may be apt to travel in their golden years are likely included in the ranks of the most susceptible of travelers while being among those who have traditionally enjoyed it the most.
Travelers’ Preferences are Changing
Consider that earlier last year, 52 percent of Americans named crowds as the main reason they would not be traveling, and 50 percent are prepared to change their plans if a Covid-variant or spike occurs. However, this percentage represents a decrease from the 67 percent who said the same in spring 2021, emphasizing how travelers’ preferences are changing. Today, we are reaching the three-year mark since the onset of the global pandemic. Americans and others are looking to travel, but have prioritized health and wellness, specifically air quality, and operators of a slew of business-types will have to adjust accordingly.
Hotels are an obvious example of this coming adaptation to the new normal, especially as occupancy levels continue to creep back towards pre-pandemic numbers. The end of February 2022 saw the occupancy rate reach 62 percent and saw increases in average daily rate and revenue per available room. For many hotels, an ideal occupancy rate is between 70 percent and 95 percent—depending on the number of rooms, location, type of hotel, target guests, and more. (What is an Occupancy Rate? Real Estate’s Core KPI Explained.) In days past, hotels used the occupancy rate to determine pricing strategy, and for knowing when to promote special packages to help manage new revenues. Today, hotels must take a deeper look at IAQ to maintain value and generate desirable occupancy rates for better business models. IAQ has become non-negotiable as numerous buildings hosting the public are taking heed and installing systems designed to protect air quality.
As the occupancy rate continues to climb and hold steady as travelers regain confidence in public health standards and mask and vaccine regulations are loosened, technology that ensures customers of their safety will be crucial for operators and owners. AtmosAir’s bi-polar ionization technology represents a prime example of how these issues can be addressed. The tech is installed in the HVAC systems of a building and emits ions into occupied spaces to combat and proactively reduce viruses, bacteria, mold, and contaminants in the air.
A Technology with Many Benefits
Moreover, while this technology can greatly support customer and guest experiences, it can also support owners in reducing costs and adding efficiency and value into their operational processes. This can be seen in installations in hotels in recent years by leading companies. For example, AtmosAir installed their system and integrated it into the fan coil units in 35 guestrooms at Hilton’s Homewood Suites Manhattan Times Square, which has aided in cleaner air and less allergens. AtmosAir technology is also standard in Hilton’s Five Feet to Fitness rooms where each room has workout stations and enhanced wellness features. These kinds of systems are also able to offer a host of possibilities for owners, especially when it comes to innovative solutions for profit margins, energy savings and efficiency, more optimized use of hotel space and reduction of mold and odor.
Finally, it will be important for owners and operators to understand what kind of technology they’ll need for their buildings or portfolio, and by enlisting expertise they can address unique issues and obstacles throughout the installation and maintenance process. Commercial buildings will necessitate varied approaches between asset types, as properties such as healthcare centers will need much different and more extensive systems than a smaller space such as a hotel room. Yet hotel rooms, gyms, and other properties will need to provide the same kind of assurances to their customers and companies like AtmosAir are filling this need. By understanding the size of number of ionization and IAQ systems that need to be installed, dependent on airflow, the size of the space, and severity of pollution and odors, among a host of factors, owners and operators can feel confident that they are supplying a safe and healthy space for Americans and tourists as travel continues to see an uptick in activity.