COVID-19 has certainly increased interest in hotel indoor air quality (IAQ). How could it not when you have a potentially deadly virus that spreads primarily through the air?
While scientifically a challenge to detect COVID-19 in the air, it is possible to create and monitor conditions that make transmission of viruses like COVID-19 less likely. I have written about various technologies in Green Lodging News that help improve IAQ by killing airborne viruses.
It is not just COVID-19 that has increased interest in air quality lately. It is also the growing number of forest fires in the western United States as well as the proliferation of sensors that give consumers the ability to know the volume of airborne particulate matter in their homes or neighborhoods.
IAQ caught my attention again this past week because of the release of some survey results by Carbon Lighthouse. They announced the results of an insights survey of 1,000+ U.S. consumers to better understand their sentiment around IAQ, and the impact of these perceptions on the commercial real estate industry.
In the survey, 77 percent of consumers said proof about a hotel’s IAQ would impact their decision on where to stay. And, 52 percent said they would pay more to stay at a hotel with better IAQ.
An IAQ Rating System?
“Consumers are taking this into account when considering re-entering public buildings with 76 percent saying that a ‘rating system’ on the IAQ of a building—similar to restaurant ratings—would help them feel better about entering that building,” Carbon Lighthouse said in its press release about the survey.
What IF a guest interested in your hotel were able to check your property’s IAQ rating on your website, in your lobby, or even on a guestroom TV? It may not be so farfetched. In fact, Matt Ganser, EVP of Engineering and Product at Carbon Lighthouse, told me his company is exploring the building of an app that would take into consideration the many factors that influence a building’s IAQ.
“Building owners must not only ensure their buildings can adequately deliver safe IAQ but they must also effectively communicate their efforts and the impact of those efforts to their occupants to drive occupancy and economic recovery,” the press release said.
Matt says that in the commercial building space renters are now asking if ASHRAE guidelines are being followed.
“IAQ has always been a niche topic,” Matt says. “Suddenly it has become part of the national conversation.”
Lack of ‘Data Capability’
Matt told me that building stock in general—including hotels—is not ready for sophisticated IAQ monitoring. “Many buildings lack the necessary data capability,” he said.
How would you react if a meeting planner asked you to provide proof of your building’s IAQ? It could happen in this crazy world in which we currently live.
Additional key insights from the Carbon Lighthouse survey include:
- 74 percent said that having information on IAQ would make them feel more comfortable with returning to the office, at least part-time.
- 89 percent of consumers are aware that viruses are transmitted through the air. 64 percent of those that were not aware were 21 to 34 years old, indicating a lack of awareness about IAQ and airborne transmission among Millennials and Gen Z.
- 72 percent said they are at least somewhat likely to use an app or website that provides information on a building’s IAQ.
As COVID-19 persists, it will be interesting to see whether IAQ measurement becomes part of a hotel’s marketing story. Your thoughts? I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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