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Coronavirus

Editor Checks In: The hospitality industry fights back

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Editor Checks In: The hospitality industry fights back

In his monthly column, editor Hamish Kilburn, like others, is self-isolating. He is reflecting on where it all went wrong – and, crucially, how we can make it right again for the hospitality industry. In the eye of the COVID–19 storm, which will pass, he finds himself praising the hospitality industry for showing compassion and versatility in uncertain times…

It’s amazing – and equally devastating – to witness just how quickly things can change on the international hospitality scene. Just a few weeks ago, I was on stage at HRC in London presenting to a crowded audience how, because of new technology and the evolutions of social media, competition is no longer just on a hotel’s doorstep. And here I am, writing my monthly Editor’s Letter, as the United Kingdom, like other countries around the world, is in lockdown following the Pandemic outbreak of COVID-19. The doors into nations are firmly closed, social distancing guidelines have been set and new measures are being put into action in order to slow down the spread of the virus.

“Mother nature has simply had enough – she has sent us all to our rooms to think about what we have done.”

Meanwhile, face-to-face interactions, which have been a key element for our socially driven industry since the dawn of time, are restricted, and we are all well and truly on our knees. Major events such as Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam, Clerkenwell Design Week, Salone del Mobile in Milan and Hotel Summit were all compelled to postpone when the outbreak became a pandemic. Even the Olympics, the largest sporting event on the planet, is stuck in the traffic jam of uncertainty and will not make it time for 2020.

Mother nature has simply had enough – she has sent us all to our rooms to think about what we have done ­– and it’s time to reflect on how we can respond to the global catastrophe.

Lessons for the wellbeing of earth can surely be learned from this. In just days of the countries closing their borders and going into lockdown, both China and Italy recorded major declines in nitrogen dioxide – a serious air pollutant and powerful warming chemical – as a direct result of reducing industrial activity and car journeys.

Elsewhere, locals in Venice noticed a significant improvement in the water quality of the iconic canals that flow through through the city as the area was cleared of tourists.

With millions of people now in isolation around the world, social media and technology is playing a leading role in order to help people interact, entertain and be kept informed of news as well as vital government instructions.

“In times of crisis, we become stronger than we thought we were.”

Neighbours have united once more, with residents seen singing and applauding health workers from balconies. As I type, my best friend, who owns her own tattoo studio, is currently delivering vital medicine to the sick and elderly in and around her community in the wake of having to temporarily close down her local business. In times of crisis, we become stronger than we thought we were.

The selfless acts of kindness don’t end there. The hospitality industry, despite being one of the most affected in this crisis, is fighting hard to prevent the spread of COVID–19, and I am totally overwhelmed with pride to see how adaptable our market is. One by one, hotel chains, brands and boutique independents are unveiling how they innovatively plan to help fight the invisible enemy of COVID-19.

The last few weeks have raised a lot of questions about the future design of hotels: should we encourage guests to gather in public spaces, should we introduce working-from-home measures and is touchless technology the way forward? As things are changing day-by-day as we are all told to #stayhome, this will no-doubt make us think deeper about how we can meaningfully design and open better social spaces for all.

To be honest, I am at a loss for words, which, for anyone who knows me, is really saying something. I cannot predict what happens next, but from all of us at Hotel Designs HQ, we wish for you all to remain safe during this unpredictable period. And remember, storms don’t last forever. If it’s any consolation, the whole world is going to need a holiday when all this is over.

Feel free to keep in touch with our team on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, and let us all distribute the weight of this disruption evenly, because we are all in this fight together.

Editor, Hotel Designs

Petition for Government to support UK hospitality industry

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Petition for Government to support UK hospitality industry

A petition has appeared online to call the government to support the UK’s hospitality industry through the Coronavirus crisis…

The hospitality industry, the third largest industry in the UK, is calling the Government for support as the Coronavirus crisis continues to affect individuals and businesses.

The petition, which can be signed here, states that the petition has been set up in the wake of the Government’s “total lack of responsibility” for the hospitality industry regarding the knock-on effects from the COVID-19 outbreak on individuals and businesses operating in the sector.

You can support the campaign and sign the petition here. 

It asking for a review of the following:

  • A clear support – financial and practical – laid out by the government for both staff and business owners alike
  • A decision from the government – because if we take the decision to close any form of insurance is no longer an option
  • Clarity for guests to ensure their safety
  • Transparency on timeline so businesses can prepare logistically and rationally for times ahead

Main image credit: Pixabay

Company debuts first hypoallergenic hotel rooms

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Company debuts first hypoallergenic hotel rooms

Months ahead of Hotel Designs putting accessibility under the spotlight in a panel discussion at Hotel Summit, Room To Breathe has given the industry a sigh of relief by unveiling a six-step hypoallergenic process of cleansing air in hotel rooms… 

Regardless of size and status, all hotels with any sense will be putting in place harder measures around cleaning protocols in both the guestrooms and public areas.

The coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak is putting a burden on hotel owners and exposing those who are falling below the increased standards that consumers expect. As the pressure grows, the industry is in demand for a reliable solutions to cleanse the air in hotel rooms.

Cue the arrival of Glasgow business Room To Breathe, which Hotel Designs welcomed a Recommended Supplier last week as the company is transforming the hotel industry by launching the first hypoallergenic room.

With more  than two in five British adults suffering from allergies – and children being at greatest risk  of developing them – Room to Breathe looks to combine new and innovative technologies to offer a cleaner, less toxic, safer alternative to regular hotel rooms.

Man steam cleaning a curtain in a hotel

Image credit: Room To Breathe

“Room To Breathe have worked to create a new specialised six-step process of cleaning hotel rooms, including air purification, antimicrobial protective coatings to all surfaces and hypoallergenic bedding.”

The idea was the brainchild of Gordon Bruce, director of Insite Specialist Services. “So many people think that just a microfiber mattress cover and a good old fashioned hoover make a room hypoallergenic,” he told Hotel Designs. “But that’s just not true. You can’t exactly take your hypoallergenic pillows and air purifiers with you whenever you travel, and it means allergy sufferers end up with a stuffy nose and red eyes on holiday or on a business trip – not ideal.

“Working at construction services company Insite Group, I thought there must be a better way: and that’s how Room To Breathe came to be.”

Room To Breathe have worked to create a new specialised six-step process of cleaning hotel rooms, including air purification, antimicrobial protective coatings to all surfaces and hypoallergenic bedding. Their allergy friendly solution uses only non-biological cleaning products and environmentally friendly processes, removing up to 99.99 per cent of allergens, mould, germs, influenza, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and odours.

Technology originally developed by NASA is used to remove bacteria, mould and compounds from the room, before an innovative UV technology is applied to rid surfaces and textiles of micro-organisms. An environmentally and allergy friendly antimicrobial surface coating is then applied to all hard and soft surfaces in the room, alongside a dust mite and bed bug treatment. A technologically advanced Air Purification system and hypoallergenic bed protectors are the final touches to create a fully hypoallergenic room.

Having perfected its innovative technique, the new company is now beginning the process of finding its first hotel partners, driving the next evolution in travel wellbeing.

Main image credit: Room To Breathe

BREAKING: Salone del Mobile postpones exhibition due to coronavirus outbreak

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
BREAKING: Salone del Mobile postpones exhibition due to coronavirus outbreak

BREAKING NEWS: Salone del Mobile in Milan, which is largely considered as the leading furniture fair globally, has postponed this year’s event until June 16 – 21 in response to Italy’s coronavirus outbreak…

Salone del Mobile, which is the world’s largest and arguably most visible furniture fair in the international design calendar, was due to take place from April 21 – 26, but in response to the coronavirus outbreak, the fair this year has been forced to postpone its plans.

Days after the 2020 global press conference to give the rundown of the up-coming show, the organisers of the show released a statement. “Following an extraordinary meeting today of the Board of Federlegno Arredo Eventi, and in view of the ongoing public health emergency, the decision has been taken to postpone the upcoming edition of the Salone del Mobile,” the statement said. “Confirmation of the change of date for the trade fair – strongly supported by the Mayor of Milan Giuseppe Sala – means that the manufacturers, in a major show of responsibility, will be able to present their finalised work to an international public that sees the annual appointment with the Salone del Mobile as a benchmark for creativity and design.”

“Italy now has the highest number of coronavirus cases in Europe, with more than 280 cases that have been reported.”

The update comes after The Foreign Office in Britain updated its travel advice, warning against all but essential travel to 11 quarantined towns in Italy. The country now has the highest number of coronavirus cases in Europe, with more than 280 cases that have been reported.

A Foreign Office spokesperson told the BBC: “We advise against all but essential travel to the 10 small towns in Lombardy and one in Veneto, which are currently in isolation due to an ongoing outbreak of coronavirus.

“Any British nationals already in these towns should follow the advice of the local authorities.”

Main image credit: Salone del Mobile/Andrea Mariani | Image caption: Salone Del Mobile press conference on February 12, 2020