Home Publisher's Point of View Noise Masking & the Wellness, Guest Satisfaction Connection

Noise Masking & the Wellness, Guest Satisfaction Connection

Glenn Hasek

After so many years of building hotels, you would think our industry would have figured out a way to provide the right balance of quiet and noise to allow travelers to sleep soundly. I am sure we all have our bad experiences as travelers—guests partying across the hall, early morning noise from the street below, airplanes flying over, next-door guests dialing up the volume on their TVs to all hours of the night, getting a room next to an elevator, etc. It would be interesting to know how many guests turn the HVAC system on each night to mask noise—certainly a waste of energy and money. Numerous guest surveys have found noise to be one of the top guest complaints—no surprise there.

In this age of wellness, when guest sleep quality is talked about more than ever, hotel companies are doing more to address noise with better insulation, better windows, quieter HVAC systems and even thicker headboards.

To help guests fall asleep faster and have a better quality of sleep, two companies in particular have emerged to provide solutions for hotels. I learned about the first company, Nightingale Smart Solutions Inc. while attending last fall’s HX: The Hotel Experience trade show in New York City. I learned about the second company, K.R. Moeller Associates Ltd. while at HD Expo in Las Vegas earlier this month. Both companies take their own unique approach to sound masking in hotel guestrooms. I will be posting an article about the two companies in the coming week. Be sure to watch for it.

Too ‘Quiet to be Silent’?

What I learned from speaking with representatives of the two companies is that noise masking is truly a science. It is not as simple as placing a machine with nature sounds next to the bed. All types of properties are vulnerable to noise issues. Also, effective construction measures and fixture placements can make guestrooms too quiet. Niklas Moeller, Vice President, K.R. Moeller Associates Ltd., says you can get “pin-drop noise types of conditions.” He adds, “Rooms are too quiet to be silent.”

Nightingale Smart Solutions Inc., in a press release announcing its Smart Sleep System, said that in a clinical sleep study performed by Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Nightingale was shown to significantly reduce sleep onset latency (the time it takes to transition from full wakefulness to sleep). Nightingale helped participants fall asleep 38 percent faster than when they tried to fall asleep without Nightingale. The outcome of sleeping with Nightingale was comparable to taking an above average dose of prescription sleep medication.

What have you done to squash noise in certain parts of your hotel building(s)? I would love to learn about the steps you have taken. I can be reached at editor@greenlodgingnews.com.

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