In the hospitality sector, perception is reality—especially when it comes to cleanliness. Fortunately, many major hotel brands are well-versed in next-generation cleaning practices that are highly effective and ensure guests are in a healthy indoor environment.
However, despite intensive cleaning efforts, foul odor challenges happen everyday. From the errant cigarette smoker to the family that brings in meals that contain odors, there are always residual smells that remain for long periods of time. And according to the Hotel Census Database, there are more than 156,000 hotels globally. That’s about 14.5 million guestrooms. With such a vast number of hotel rooms, there is a high chance that a guestroom has a smelly past.
The Impact of Social Media
In the age of social media, foul odors can also have a lasting impact on a hotel’s bottom line. Today a hotel’s online reputation can drive more bookings than even location or price. According to a recent study from Cornell University’s Center for Hospitality Research (CHR), a hotel’s online reputation directly affects its occupancy levels and RevPAR (revenue per available room).
TripAdvisor, a leading customer review website, is full of complaints from guests saying that foul odors negatively impacted their stay to the point where they would not return. Reviews left on these sites can cause damage far into the future as they can persist on websites for years at a time. No hotel can afford that.
In addition to indoor odors, outdoor odors can be just as smelly. For example, the noxious smell of trash in the dumpster areas out back, especially in the summer. Many high-profile celebrities and world leaders enter and exit a hotel from the back where the dumpsters reside. The last thing a hotelier would want is for the VIP to be confronted with foul odors, or the smell of toxic cleaning chemicals.
Many hotels use deodorizing sprays to mask all the smells emanating from their buildings, but this simply does not clear the air and can be unsafe.
Safe, Eco-Friendly Odor Management
Fortunately, today there are eco-friendly cleaning and odor management solutions that help to completely eliminate any foul odors. These types of green odor management solutions are proven to be more effective than the chemical-based solutions so many hotels were once so reliant on, for lack of a safer option.
Cleaning teams must also tackle the herculean challenge of deodorizing and turning over rooms in time for the next wave of guests to arrive. With the latest solutions, hotels can save a tremendous amount of money by more quickly turning over rooms, then by using traditional toxic sprays or ozone machines, which mean staff have to evacuate a room.
In fact, when it comes to ozone machines, the EPA has found them to be highly harmful because ozone can cause chest pains, coughing, shortness of breath, and throat irritation.
Case Study: The Hermitage Hotel
Built in 1910, The Hermitage Hotel is located in downtown Nashville, where it continues to serve as a timeless and elegant property frequented by tourists, celebrities, business travelers, and politicians alike.
With such a storied and award-winning reputation, The Hermitage consistently takes steps to keep guests happy to ensure long-term brand loyalty. And since The Hermitage is a world-renowned “pet friendly” hotel, the cleaning staff is very proactive in its cleaning approaches. This involves implementing a natural 360-degree odor mitigation strategy for addressing a wide range of needs.
The hotel recently started using a vapor phase unit to keep the pet-friendly guestrooms clean and fresh. This unit works as a “dry” dispersion system for the efficient and safe application of liquid odor eliminator, which is comprised of natural ingredients including water, lime, pine needles, aniseed, clove, and cedar wood.
The Hermitage is also a non-smoking hotel, although staff are always prepared should a guest smoke in their room. Cleaning staff can then use the equipment in the hallways near these guestrooms to completely eliminate the odor.
The hospitality sector is a tough industry. The competition is fierce and one bad online review, or a well-placed Tweet by an unhappy guest, could negatively impact the bottom line. By taking a progressive approach to odor management, it is possible to mitigate guest complaints and provide a healthy indoor environment for everyone.
About the Author
Bob Dunklau is the Vice President/Chief Operating Officer for OMI Industries, Inc., Fresh Wave IAQ, and Fresh Wave Natural Odor Eliminating Products. Feel free to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Fresh Wave IAQ offers a comprehensive line of odor eliminating products in multiple formats to meet the most challenging hotel odor abatement situations. For more information: http://www.freshwaveiaq.com/