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Using UVC technology to help hospitality reopen safely

752 565 Hamish Kilburn
Using UVC technology to help hospitality reopen safely

The Safeology Tower leverages the science of UV light to inactivate a wide array of pathogens, including the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)…

As hotels and other businesses struggle to survive amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Safeology has released a video demonstrating new technology that will allow them to safely reopen, stay open and return to a time of normalcy

The UVC-disinfection product uses smart technology to eliminate up to 99.9 per cent of pathogens, which is the key to helping our economy thrive.

Image credit: Safeology

“We can safely, quickly and efficiently eliminate up to 99.9 per cent of surface and airborne pathogens, including the coronavirus, helping hotel operators create a clean, worry-free environment for guests,” says Safeology CEO Jim Mischel. “In fact, with this technology, hotels can actually be safer than guests’ homes.”

This video shows how the tower works in a hotel environment.

Designed, engineered and manufactured in Everett, Washington, the Safeology Tower uses UVC and loT technology to allow widescale disinfection of hotels, cruise ships, restaurants, commercial spaces, classrooms,  healthcare facilities, and other spaces with ease and unmatched efficiency. Far more than just a UVC lamp, the Safeology Tower was specifically created with smart technology, complete with wireless touch pad, remote-control functions, safety features, and data collection software useful for a wide range of hospitality and commercial industry needs.

Safeology has also brought together a team of national experts to navigate the UVC technology and its use. The team includes George Diaz, M.D., who treated the first U.S. case of COVID-19; chemical engineer Joseph Anderson, Ph.D.; microbiologist David Rockabrand, Ph.D.; and electrical engineer Rolf Bergman, Ph.D.

The Safeology Tower:  smart reduction of pathogens

The Safeology Tower eliminates up to 99.9 per cent of surface pathogens through the effective use of UVC disinfection – a well-studied germicidal technique gaining prominence in the fight against COVID-19 and other coronaviruses. Designed for both function and safety, the sleek Safeology Tower offers a unique and complete total-disinfection solution loaded with literally dozens of features, including:

  • Laser mapping technology to determine required UVC dosage to deactivate the virus.
  • Multiple safety features including PIR (passive infrared) motion sensors and AI (artificial intelligence) movement detection to ensure safe operation in unoccupied spaces.
  • Interactive 6.3-inch tablet with integrated wireless charger; Wi-Fi Cloud-based control and monitoring; multiple languages, and cycle-completion notification.
  • 74-inch height for floor to ceiling, 360o disinfection coverage; 6 high-output shatter resistant amalgam 253.7 nm UVC lamp emitters with 12,000-hour lamp life; handles and easy-roll wheels for fast deployment of unit, with self-locking casters for secure placement.
  • Full range of other supportive resources, including PPE equipment; complete marketing support; customer service for help with provisioning, set up, and questions; and a continuously updated online archive of related UVC information.

Review the complete list of features, and learn more about the advantages of the Safeology solution.

Main image credit: Safeology

In Conversation With: Penta Hotels’ new MD, Rogier Braakman

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Penta Hotels’ new MD, Rogier Braakman

In February 2020, weeks before the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared a pandemic, the new Managing Director of Penta Hotels Worldwide was announced. Following what we can only imagine was a turbulent start to his role, Editor Hamish Kilburn catches up with Rogier Braakman to understand his plans for the lifestyle hotel group…

It’s hard to recall that a few months ago, before the words ‘furlough’ and ‘pandemic’ were being splashed across the daily news channels, the industry as a whole was feeling rather optimistic about 2020. New colour trends were being predicted, hotel groups were expanding, and, in February 2020, the news broke that Rogier Braakman would take over from Eugène Staal to become Managing Director of Penta Hotels Worldwide, marking a new era for the group. 

As regions were seeing record-breaking levels of development, Covid-19 sent its shockwave through all industries – arguably hitting hospitality the hardest – which decimated sales and marketing strategies as businesses went into survival mode. “It is the biggest burden of every business owner being forced to suspend operations for an undefined time,” explained Braakman in a press release that was released at the time. “Since opening, we have operated our hotels 24/7, 365 days a year, and hadn’t had to close for a single day. Yet, instead of carrying out our initial plans, we have been working around the clock to temporarily suspend operations in many hotels, restructure our processes and ask for many intense sacrifices from all team members and stakeholders. Despite all this, we have been putting a lot of effort in bringing in new innovations and improving our product throughout all hotels.”

Following the lockdown, and after what can only be described as one of the most challenging months for all hoteliers, I sat down with Braakman (virtually) to understand more about his role.

Hamish Kilburn: Where were you self-isolating during the Covid-19 pandemic?

RB: I make a weekly commute between our family home in the Dutch forest and our Frankfurt Penta office, always adhering strictly to all Covid-19 regulations. I feel privileged to be able to enjoy my family life and the positively contagious Penta-spirit!

Image caption: The lounge inside Pentahotel Berlin

Image caption: The lounge inside Pentahotel Berlin | Image credit: Penta Hotels

“But what sets us apart from other lifestyle brands is that our ‘neighbourhood’ promise extends to the wider community and environment, which we have committed to protecting through various initiatives and our goal of being carbon neutral by 2030.” – Rogier Braakman, Managing Director, Penta Hotels.

Hamish Kilburn: What makes Penta Hotels a unique lifestyle hotel brand?

RB: Penta Hotels are characterised by our lively neighbourhood brand that emits a happy camper ambience. The positive attitude of our staff and our unique interior design makes us a model host. We have created a comfortable environment for our guests with a relaxed atmosphere centered around our buzzing Penta Lounges in every hotel, which function on a 24/7 basis where all our guests’ needs are catered for in one space. But what sets us apart from other lifestyle brands is that our ‘neighbourhood’ promise extends to the wider community and environment, which we have committed to protecting through various initiatives and our goal of being carbon neutral by 2030. In keeping with the Penta spirit, we don’t ever do single acts of charity, but instead offer ways that our guests can take part in giving back so that they too can feel a part of our community. However, lately we have had the tendency of exchanging the word ‘lifestyle’ more and more with the word ‘lively’, which we believe nowadays is more spot on.

Hamish Kilburn: Can you explain a little bit about Penta Hotels’ plans for expansion?

RB: Our focus is to grow our brand in prime locations in secondary cities or secondary locations in primary cities across Europe. Expansion should arise as a result of our strategy, rather than the other way around.

Image caption: Suite inside Pentahotel Moscow | Image credit: Penta Hotels

Image caption: Suite inside Pentahotel Moscow | Image credit: Penta Hotels

Hamish Kilburn: You mention that lockdown has allowed you to look at new innovations and improving your product throughout all hotels. Can you elaborate on this?

RB: With the pandemic we’ve had to adapt quickly to the new normal, or as I heard an entrepreneur recently say, a ‘temporary abnormal’. In just over a month, we managed to think up and execute our Between Us campaign, based on the notion that although Covid-19 has forced more physical distance between us, it can be seen as an opportunity for bonding and creating solidarity between people. Through this campaign we are allowing our guests to feel comfortable, safe, but also have fun with social distancing. It includes the VIP Rock Star Service where we’ve mapped out routes guests can take around the hotel and Penta Lounges that limit interaction with others, cashless payments, and introduced excellent hygiene training for our staff members that includes no housekeeping, but also exciting perks like free Take Care package on entry, and free bag of snacks every morning at your door.

The campaign sets us apart from our competitors because it shows we are seizing the pandemic as an opportunity to learn how to better accommodate our guests, by finding new ways to create a safe and comfortable space. So far, guest feedback has been really positive.

Image caption: Meeting room inside Penta Hotel Paris | Image credit: Penta Hotels

Hamish Kilburn: What advice would you give the rest of the hospitality industry at this time?

RB: Unfortunately, COVID-19 is a predator and it will stay around for a while, so we are having to take a real ‘don’t crack under pressure’ attitude as we adapt to new circumstances. In order to do this, we have to stay strong and try our best to turn this crisis into a success by playing to our strengths, as well as recognising which things weren’t working well even before the crisis. Our strengths have always been a positive attitude and creative approach, and we are making sure to always be direct with each other, not beat around the bush, and take immediate actions to make our hotels safe.

Hamish Kilburn: How will lifestyle hotels, which typically focus heavily on utilising public areas, differ post-pandemic?

RB: This predator is going to remain for a long time – so we’re going to need to work with it. We have revisited our business operations and figured out how best to safely and securely reopen, and although we do not want our hotels to serve as extended intensive care units, we need to make sure that all hygienic measures are in place and that people feel safe. Luckily, we don’t have small lobbies and most of our Pentalounges are extensive spaces in which we’ve been able to encourage social distancing with our Between Us campaign, by mapping out distanced routes and introducing cashless payments.

We do not want our brand standards to vaporise due to all these extra precautions, so we had to redefine our new operating standards within the ‘temporary abnormal’. This means taking serious precautions that alter the Penta experience, including no more housekeeping, and training our staff on additional hygiene procedures. For example, when you check in, you’re given a ‘Take Care’ bag from Penta, and we’ve even made our own ‘Penta Pointer’ which is similar to a keyring that can be used to open all access points within the hotel, therefore reducing the risk of being contaminated. We’re also doing trials with heat cams to see how our guests are responding, and introduced the Penta Hotel app, which isn’t fully in place yet, but it means everyone can check in from home using their own device, or even chat to our reception team.

Image caption: Fitness area inside Pentahotel Leipzig | Image credit: Penta Hotels

Hamish Kilburn: What does lifestyle in ‘lifestyle hotel’ mean to you?

RB: A lifestyle hotel means ensuring all our guests are happy campers, and however brief or extended their stay, they are made to feel part of our community. Instead of custom reception areas we have created social spaces in every hotel called the Penta Lounge, areas with 24/7 service where guests can check in, but also chill out, do some work or play on our games consoles. At our hotels, there is always an initiative that guests can take part in that benefits the wider community and environment, and our social staff members are always willing to engage with any problem a guest has

Hamish Kilburn: What do you love most about the hospitality industry?

RB: What I love best about hospitality is working with people, and I was drawn to Penta because it is an appealing and distinctive hotel brand centered around people, with a buzzing community spirit. I believe success comes from guest satisfaction and high-quality service, which is only possible when you have a team of brilliant staff members that communicate well with one another and our guests. I share Penta’s vision for a modern approach to hoteliering, where giving back to the community and providing a relaxed, neighbourhood feel is at the centre of its brand. Penta has had a rocky climb in the last year or so but our positive staff with their can-do attitude, have really helped with recent difficulties. Their team spirit and desire to truly make Penta a success has made me feel extremely supported and inspired my confidence that we will continue to succeed in the future.

Image caption: The lounge inside Pentahotel Moscow | Image credit: Penta Hotels

Image caption: The lounge inside Pentahotel Moscow | Image credit: Penta Hotels

Hamish Kilburn: Can you explain Penta Hotels in three words?

RB: Relaxed, positive, friendly

Hamish Kilburn: If money or development were not obstacles, where in the world would you like to open a hotel?

RB: Every self-conscious city with a sustainable, interesting and appealing backcountry deserves a Pentahotel.

Penta Hotels, which has 28 operating properties across Europe and Asia, represents a new generation of neighbourhood lifestyle hotels offering modern-minded individuals and business travellers comfort and style in a relaxed atmosphere. Known for its unique interior design and attitude, the lifestyle brand stands for true innovation in the industry’s upper- midscale segment.

Main image credit: Penta Hotels Worldwide

FEATURE: To mask or not to mask – will you ask your staff to wear one?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
FEATURE: To mask or not to mask – will you ask your staff to wear one?

Following the positive news that hoteliers can now begin to welcome guests back into their establishments, there also comes a heightened responsibility for hotel managers to ensure they are creating Covid-19 policies to protect both their guests and their staff. The Fine Cotton Company’s Jane Robson explains…

Along with social distancing requests, sanitising stations and increased hygiene methods, a popular approach is to ask staff and guests to wear face coverings whilst on site in some areas.

Many hotels are choosing to offer them as welcome gifts for guests to use long after their stay and encouraging them to wear them whilst moving around their hotel such as in communal lobby areas and lifts.

But what makes a good mask and, as we write this, with no formal rules on the wearing of face coverings required should you ask your staff and guests to wear them?

It’s a dilemma for hoteliers who quite understandably want to return to normal as quickly as possible and make their guests and staff feel comfortable.

Professor Sir Venki Ramakrishman, president of the UK’s National Academy of Science recently said that coverings should be worn “whenever you are in crowded places” and that there is evidence that shows they protect the wearer as well as those nearby.

With this in mind hoteliers need to consider their customer experience more than ever as they encourage guests back. If quality face masks can give them confidence in their stay then it seems a logical and simple way to reassure them. And many hoteliers and restauranteurs seem to think so.

Traditionally supplying bed, bath, spa and table linens to clients such as The Newt in Somerset, The Fine Cotton Company have turned their textiles expertise to mask making during the pandemic and have seen a huge demand for their washable, quality three-layer masks. 

Made exclusively in Portugal in line with World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations the reusable masks have been designed with a breathable, cotton lining, a crucial outer layer of polyester which does not absorb droplets and a polyurethane membrane sandwiched between the 2 layers of fabric. And reassuringly, unlike many fabric masks available, they are certified by Citeve in Portugal as a Level 3 Social Mask. They are available in both adults and children’s sizes so hoteliers can accommodate for their VIP younger guests too.

For discerning hoteliers who want to maintain their brand through these unusual times, The Fine Cotton Company are also offering bespoke face coverings, which may be printed with your own brand colours and logo, thus ensuring your staff look smart but your guests can also take home something from their stay.

The Fine Cotton Company’s personalised masks are available from just 50 units. For preferential trade pricing for face masks please call the helpful team on 0345602 9050. 

The Fine Cotton Company is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here

Main image credit: Pixabay

Modern lobby area with clean air

How hotels can shelter wellbeing with cleaner air

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How hotels can shelter wellbeing with cleaner air

With hospitality re-emerging in England, hotels would’ve spent the last few weeks closely reviewing and creating Covid-19 policies so that hygiene and wellbeing are a top priority. Victor Kristoffersson, Business Development Manager EMEA at Swedish air purifier brand Blueair, explains the wellbeing benefits of clean air…

Modern lobby area with clean air

Due to restrictions on travel we will see a rise in “staycations” as more people opt to holiday in the UK rather than travel abroad. Clean air will become more important than ever before when it comes to choosing where to stay. By investing in air purifiers, hotels will stay ahead of the competition and show guests they are going above and beyond to ensure their safety and wellbeing. While an air purifier is great for your health, it can also benefit your skin, productivity and sleep quality.

What you can’t see in the air can affect your health

Indoor air is made up of a concoction of particles including dust, pollen, allergens, bacteria and viruses. Breathing in this fine dust or PM2.5 (also known as fine particulate matter) can penetrate deep into the lungs and cause respiratory difficulties, heart and lung problems and a host of other diseases, studies show. Even if you have no other underlying health issues, studies show that improved air quality is conducive to better productivity, sleep quality and a general sense of wellbeing.

Air purifier by the bed

Image credit: Blueair Classic 200

Clean air improves quality of sleep

Clean air helps to promote deep sleep, and people who live in areas with higher levels of air pollution are 60 per cent more likely to sleep poorly than those living in areas with cleaner air, according to a YouGov survey looking into global perceptions of air quality, commissioned by Blueair. A 2017 study by The American Thoracic Society also found that people who live in areas with high air pollution are up to 60 per cent more likely to suffer a bad night’s sleep.

Since we spend the majority of our hotel stays asleep, hotels should consider the role air pollution plays in this – especially those located in cities where air pollution will be higher. Blueair’s air purifiers are Quiet Mark approved so will not distract from a good night’s sleep while they silently remove airborne particles in the bedroom.

Protect your skin from air pollution

Atmospheric factors such as air pollution have been implicated in premature skin aging – this includes air pollutants such as smog, ozone and particulate matter. Studies also show a correlation between higher levels of PM2.5 with an increased number of people suffering from skin problems such as pigment spots and wrinkles, hives and eczema.

As air pollution can be up to five times higher indoors than outside, the negative effects of air pollution are intensified inside. Blueair’s air purifiers are designed to remove harmful particles and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air. VOCs can be anything from aerosol sprays to fumes from paint. Invest in an air purifier to remove the particulate matter and VOCs that are harmful to your skin.

Blueair’s recommendation is to place an air purifier in every guest room no matter what they pay, as well as throughout the hotel in areas such as in the lobby where people tend to gather. By doing this, you are providing the cleanest air possible for your guests – you may not be able to travel but you can bring air as clean as the Swedish archipelago to your hotel.

Blueair is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here

Main image credit: Page8 Hotel

PRODUCT WATCH: USM’s take on ‘screen time’

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: USM’s take on ‘screen time’

USM introduces protective attachment screens that are suitable for USM Modular Furniture

The hotel landscape has changed, and the design of the reception area needs to evolve to support this. Organisations are already investigating how they can make hotel spaces safer, effective, and efficient whist still adhering to government guidelines of social distancing.

One of the challenges that many hotels will have is how to ensure that their guests and employees feel protected at the reception area. Protective measures are essential so that employees feel safe and valued in these challenging times, whilst also reassuring guests.

Due to the spread of Covid-19, hygiene and protective measures must be treated with the highest priority. To protect employees and guests from mutual contact, devices are required that form a physical protective barrier against the transmission of bacteria and viruses through coughing, sneezing and human contact.

In keeping with the elegant clean design of USM Haller modular furniture there are different solution orientated variants with which you can quickly upgrade existing reception desks.

USM Modular Furniture is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: USM Modular Furniture

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Air quality and your guests

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Air quality and your guests

Over the past few months, the majority of us have been forced into our homes with the door locked. And while the planet is enjoying a quality break from pollution, is the inside air we are breathing safe? Hotel Designs asks air purifier manufacturer Blueair to explain…

Did you know indoor air can be up to five times more polluted than outdoors?

Improved air quality is also conducive to a great night’s sleep which for most, if not all hoteliers, is the number one priority for their guests and patrons.

Polluted indoor air can trigger allergies and asthma, affect child development, disrupt sleep and more. Clean air improves our health and wellbeing, and it helps us to lead happier and healthy lives by improving sleep, concentration and physical performance. A Blueair air purifier, as used by top hotels in London such as the Page8 hotel, improves air quality for a better night’s sleep.

Image credit: Blueair

In a post Covid-19 world both business and leisure customers will be scrutinising hygiene and air quality much more closely as a deciding factor in where to stay. An air purifier in a hotel room not only massively improves the quality of air, but also gives peace of mind that guests are breathing the best possible air they can. For hoteliers, air purifiers should – and will be – a serious consideration for guest rooms going forward.

“Blueair’s air purifiers are designed to clean the air in a room up to five times an hour.”

Inspired by the fresh air of the Stockholm archipelago, Blueair’s purpose is to help protect us from the invisible threats of poor indoor air quality. More than two decades ago, Blueair’s Swedish founder built his first air purifier to protect the health of his new-born daughter, and consequently set out to make the world’s best air purifier.

By bringing together a team of talented designers and filtration experts who shared his passion for sustainability, quality, and design, the Blueair air purifiers were born. Since then, Blueair has expanded into one of the world’s leading producers of air purification solutions for home and professional use. Blueair delivers innovative, best-in-class, energy efficient products and services to consumers and commercial buildings such as hospitals, embassies and schools in over 60 countries around the world.

Blueair’s air purifiers are designed to clean the air in a room up to five times an hour. Thanks to proprietary HepaSilent™ technology, Blueair’s air purifiers remove at least 99.97 per cent of all airborne particles as small as 0.1 microns in size. This includes pollen, smoke, dust, mould spores, germs, pet allergens and microplastics.

Blueair was founded on the firm belief that freedom to breathe is a basic right and this should not be compromised when on holiday or staying away on business. Air pollution is the single biggest environmental threat to human health, and to the health of our planet. This is especially the case in busier cities where air pollution is much higher and smog and fumes from cars can enter buildings through ventilation. Hotels that invest in air purifiers are ensuring guests can breathe as nature intended. Blueair’s air purifiers are also whisper silent and so will not distract from a good night’s sleep.

Blueair’s air purifiers are among the most awarded in the UK. They have highly respected third party endorsements from Which?, Good Housekeeping Institute, Asthma Allergy Nordic and Quiet Mark, as well as awards from Ideal Home, IndyBest and MadeForMums.

Blueair is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Blueair

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Using glass meaningfully in hotel public spaces

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Using glass meaningfully in hotel public spaces

While Europe is gradually reopening after lockdown measures have started to be relaxed, hotels are entering an adapted era of hospitality. Portobello Art explains how the story could be narrated behind glass walls (in public areas at least)…

With a glimmer of hope on the horizon from the latest government announcement that hotels might be able to reopen in July, all hoteliers, big and small, will now be planning their reopening scenarios and adapting their offerings based on current advice and guidelines in order to keep their staff and guests safe.

The requirements will be very strict and one of the main priorities of course will be to implement social distancing policies.  This means the design and layout of public spaces, including reception desks, lobbies and restaurants, is going to have to change to allow for this.

One of the obvious solutions would be to introduce Acrylic/Perspex or Glass screens in these areas which would provide effective separation without affecting the brightness of the overall venue.

But rather than introducing plain see through screens which might make your venues look too institutional, why not give free rein to your imagination and consider adding bespoke images to create a bit of fun and make your spaces more interesting.

Portobello Art can source images and/or create bespoke artwork to suit any theme or style and print vinyl manifestations at any size to fit any screen.

The artwork can be informative.

Image credit: Portobello Art

Or decorative.

Image credit: Portobello Art

Or promotional… using branding or inspiration.

Image credit: Portobello Art

Any size – small or large.

Image credit: Portobello Art

The most difficult areas are probably going to be the restaurants and here are a couple of ideas for going forward.

Image credit: Portobello Art

If you have enough space in your restaurants you could create a Glass/Perspex box per table with dividing screens or if you have outside dining areas, a bit extreme, but why not have small greenhouses (as seen here in the Netherlands!).  You’re only limited by your own imagination!

In all seriousness, exterior areas could be the way to go with outside dining over the summer months, enabling social distancing to be created more easily.  There are numerous varieties of partitioning available but rest assured that all our vinyl manifestations can be used safely and securely on any outdoor screening solutions.

Whatever your requirements, our designers are here to help you create innovative artwork to brighten up your venues.

Portobello Art is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Portobello Art

Virtual roundtable’s response: “Personal and social hygiene awareness has increased exponentially”

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Virtual roundtable’s response: “Personal and social hygiene awareness has increased exponentially”

Following the expert opinions being amplified in Hotel Designs’ first ever virtual roundtable, exploring the long-term impact of COVID–19 to the hospitality and design industry, Room To Breathe shares its response from a hygiene perspective…

The virtual roundtable discussion on the future of the hospitality industry after the COVID–19 pandemic raised several serious questions and issues and made us think about what is on the horizon.

Few markets have felt the full force of this global pandemic more than the hospitality sector; it has decimated trade, scattered the labour force and threatened the very existence of the supply chain. It has also had a huge effect on working practices and will have for many years to come.

“Personal and social hygiene awareness has increased exponentially, with a growing scepticism of what and what is not clean.”

Michael Bonsor, the Managing Director of Rosewood London, explained it perfectly: “This pandemic will reset how we think about travel and will require us to confront problems such as mass tourism and over tourism in many destinations around the world.” Never before have travellers, holiday makers and businesspeople been faced with such unpredictable circumstances making it difficult for them to seek satisfaction and reassurance that their wellbeing is being addressed. Personal and social hygiene awareness has increased exponentially, with a growing scepticism of what and what is not clean.

Whether we are at our workplace, attending leisure facilities or travelling for business or pleasure, we all now have a heightened awareness of how we interact and will now expect and demand a higher level of service from Providers that takes cognisance of the perceived risks as a result of this. Capturing this feeling of assured safety every time must be the focal point for customer satisfaction.

standard hotel room

Image credit: Pixabay

When it comes to the future of public spaces and their design, we must understand the effects of Social Distancing and how much it has affected the perceptions of consumers. Fiona Thomson said: “Sustainability is such an important topic and it should be engrained into mindsets enough now that there is no reason for it to be shelved, especially when it comes to designing projects.”

The hospitality sector must do something to insulate itself from the aftershock of COVID–19 and prepare for the inevitable increase in customer fears and ultimately demands for their wellbeing. Is carrying out the same cleaning protocols more frequently by an already stretched Housekeeping department going to provide the reassurance required? In a word, no. By taking steps to show commitment to your customers health is now, for hoteliers, more than ever, of paramount importance.

Imagine the cost of a deep clean between every guest. This is neither practical nor affordable. A new approach to a new problem must be the way forward. It needs to address the worries and concerns of your customers but must, just as importantly, be cost effective.

Discussing sustainably and it’s future, Bonsor highlighted: “Respecting the world around us has never been so important.” An important element is the very need of removing harsh chemicals and disinfectants from the housekeeping protocol and procure alternative solutions that are safer, more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

“Future-proofing your customers environment is more that just fogging.”

After all the dust settles from COVID19, will there be any winners in the hospitality sector? Not sure that the word ‘winners’ is appropriate, but those that look into the future wishes of their customers, their health and their wellness will be the ones who will see the benefits. Bonsor went on to mention that they were engaging with a company that fogs large areas of public spaces. He suggested that: “The fogging treatment protects the area for up to 30 days. This product lands on surfaces and protects them.” This is very true, to be honest, and is the only the first stage. There are other key factors that need to be considered, especially the training aspect for Housekeeping staff. Future-proofing your customers environment is more that just fogging.

At Room to Breathe UK our system provides ongoing, continual, long term management of viruses, bacteria, moulds, fungi, VOC’s and allergens. Systems that offer the ’28 day’ efficacy tend to be electrostatic spaying of a chemical solution. This will be wiped away when the surface is cleaned! Whereas our antimicrobial coating is permanently bonded and produces a mechanical kill which again avoids the use of toxins, poisons or leaching effect chemicals.

man steaming curtains

Image credit: Room To Breathe

Our comprehensive four-step process covers every aspect of deep cleaning but most importantly it looks at prevention which is key in future-proofing all environments for your customers.

The first step involves an initial industrial air purge followed by a combination of steam cleaning above 40℃, ultra-low-penetration air (UPLA) vacuuming and the application of our unique decontamination fluid which is deadly to pathogens (but is safe to all higher living organisms) is fogged into the area ensuring every surface coated. Additionally, by using innovative UV technology we can rid mattresses, pillows and soft furnishings of undesirable micro-organisms within seconds.

Step Two is where our antimicrobial coating “BioTouch”, will be is applied. The BioTouch formula bonds to a clean surface and when viruses and bacteria land on the protected surface, the cellular structure is ruptured (not poisoned) and becomes defunct. The only way BioTouch can be removed is by it being chipped off. Where there is a risk of this, on door handles, light switches for example, we can easily reapply to maintain the coatings efficiency.

When it comes to bedding and soft furnishings the third step of our process involves using our own unique formula, Protext solution provides a layer of invisible protection which permanently interrupts the life cycle of dust mites and bed bugs. Our method avoids the use of toxins so whilst lethal to bugs and mites does not pose a risk to the client. This is also applied to all fabrics and soft furnishings.

For full prevention and reassurance, we install filterless air signifiers providing the final level of protection, this final stage secures continuous air sanification. Using technology originally developed by NASA, our sanifiers seek out contaminants and pathogens within the air and on surfaces and neutralise them.

By applying this four-step process, we not only eradicate 99.99 per cent of viruses and bacteria, we also provide a continuous level of protection in between our deep clean processes.

On completion certification is provided and displayed either outside or within the room to provide that peace of mind to Customers and employees alike. A Room Information Pack is provided for guests to simply explain the RTB system, providing that peace of mind.

In order to maintain the certification, Steps One and Two are carried out every four months in accordance with our terms & conditions. On-site training is also provided to Housekeeping staff in order to ensure the efficacy of the RTB system is maintained. This is no more onerous to staff and in fact will simplify their cleaning protocols.

Room To Breathe is one of Hotel Designs’ recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Room To Breathe

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: The meaning of hospitality in a hostile world?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: The meaning of hospitality in a hostile world?

Designer Peter Mance, who the director of MAAPS Design and Architecture, takes a thorough look at why design in hospitality will change post-pandemic… 

Me: “Alexa, define ‘hospitality’.”
Alexa:The definition of hospitality is the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.”

A new viral guest is in our midst, and I’m wondering how we address this invisible and disruptive reality. COVID–19, and the attendant fear it has spawned, will not disappear easily. A whole new level of trust and confidence will be necessary for hotel owners, operators, developers and their guests. What will we need to do to remove hostility from hospitality?

For the design community, some of these issues raised will be the very antithesis of the methods we have used to design in the past. Those carefully nurtured public spaces of “blurred permeability”, the vibrant blending of social and co-working use will need to be “de-tuned” for a while.

In the absence of government directives and guidance, what should we be considering as our new rules? Below, I’m going to venture some thoughts and questions of my own in order to understand how we may behave when we are sanctioned to open our doors and welcome guests again.

The arrival experience

  • Will our default still be a warm greeting and our guests simply assume “business as usual” or will new modes of caution and protocol be required?
  • Will travel and booking documents be sent ahead to demonstrate “cleared to travel” status?
  • Will some type of Orwellian biological implant, electronic tag or a Smartphone App be adopted as the standard to signal a guest’s viral status on arrival?
  • Does the near-future hotel have to provide an air-locked refuge with Hazmat suits discarded at the door; or perhaps a quick sanitising spritz at the entrance and handwashing while masked attendants carrying out temperature scans while verifying travel papers?
  • What happens and what protocols are required if the arriving guest presents with a temperature?
  • Do we need to establish a quarantine zone within the hotel or have an agreement in place with Hotel “Nightingale” for any self-isolating travellers?
  • Should we provide our guests with new gloves, new masks, wipes and protective clothing each time they enter the hotel?
  • How does any “health-check” equipment integrate with an elegant lobby, and do we invest this with the hospitality message we wish to convey?
  • How do we reassure our guests, and will the previous tropes/conventions of a welcome cocktail, chocolates in the room, or warm cookies be deemed enough?
  • And perhaps finally, we will have the opportunity to design sexy and attractive hand sanitiser dispenser we’ve wanted to see.
Image caption: CQ Gracechurch St - Club Living Room 2

Image caption: Living Room inside Club Quarters Hotel, San Francisco

In the same way that past acts of terrorism brought hastily improvised metal detectors and bag checks to the front door, the reality of the post-pandemic world will necessitate some type of intervention to ensure that staff, guests and reputations can be protected.

Hopefully, these will not be the ugly, ad-hoc installations, which were imposed for sound security reasons, that outwardly signal exclusion and fear.

Hotels have prided themselves on being sanctuaries for travellers. With great and inspired design they, have carefully curated the ambience, experience and style of hospitality they offer. The industry has made huge strides to dissolve boundaries and transform hotels into locally connected, bustling hubs of social engagement.

Image caption: The lobby, inside Club Quarters Hotel, San Francisco

Image caption: The lobby, inside Club Quarters Hotel, San Francisco

Guest check-in and the lobby

For the road-weary business traveller, the previous advances of self-check-in and the keyless mobile app independence will be shunned. The traveller will not be allowed to pass unobtrusively to their guestrooms. My suspicion is that not only the hotel operator, but also our various government agencies, will wish to know all guest movements and interactions. It will be in the interest of everyone to be much more inquisitive and intrusive.  So, what will be necessary for the new digital/human interface during check-in?

Within hotel lobbies, I can envisage that solo seats will enjoy a welcome return. And with greater social distance perhaps, there is an up-side in that we will have the mental space and aural stillness, to again reconnect with our inner landscapes. It will be a chance to appreciate our surrounding, their design and to reflect more on the purpose for travel – whether for business or pleasure.

Corridor and guestrooms

  • Will the superficial re-selection of fabrics for inherent biological resistance, non-porous surfaces, and disinfectant fogging be all that is required to purge and protect guests?
  • Do we now have to designate a set of rooms converted into daily isolation suites?
  • What are our new questions to the MEP consultants?
  • What level of air filtration and recirculation will be acceptable in our viral future? Particularly pertinent considering the lessons learned from recent Cruise ship experience.
  • What hygiene improvements must we demonstrate in our already high standard of room cleaning?
  • Will we come value and prioritise the efficient and simplicity of layout as a virtue in guest rooms design?
  • Will a curfew be imposed with guests confirmed to rooms to ensure social distancing?
  • How will room service adapt, and will we now demand active in-room monitoring of our guests?
  • Will the nightly turn-down service include taking our guests temperature and fulfil other health-check procedures?
  • Will we designating long-stay quarantine rooms and what provision for beside equipment, room evacuation, or health care staff may be required>
  • How will two-metre distancing be implemented within our typical corridors? Perhaps as simple as adding a passing space, as we seen in narrow country lanes.
  • What will be our new lift/elevator etiquette?
Image caption: Guestroom inside The Jewel Hotel New York

Image caption: Guestroom inside The Jewel Hotel New York

In the short term I suspect we will all be looking to learn a lot from our colleagues in Health Care. Adopting many of their routine approaches to hygiene as our new standard. We will be looking at the selection of fabrics and surfaces, the use of inherent micro-bacterial defences, improved air filtration and a great deal more observation of guest’s welfare.

“I strongly believe that good design can help in re-establishing the inherent trust and meaning expressed by the word “hospitality”.” – Peter Mance, Director, MAAPS Design and Architecture.

My sense is that the returning traveller will be acutely sensitive to their environment and will appreciate the safe refuge and assurance which hotels can provide. We can all readily recognise that our reasons for travel, for whatever purpose, has the potential to be disproportionately risky, both for us as individuals and the hotels. While we can be certain that our inveterate desire to travel will return, our guests will be highly concerned for their own wellbeing, as well as conscientious on behalf of their colleagues, family, friends and wider communities.

Guests will want to be assured that the behaviours and operations of hotels are confident, safe, detailed and robust. Trust will be paramount for all brands. I strongly believe that good design can help in re-establishing the inherent trust and meaning expressed by the word “hospitality”. Gently at first, cautiously breaking down barriers and carefully communicating to our guests that we have their welfare at our heart and the right precautions and procedures in place.

We can reasonably anticipate as a business and community that we’ll successfully adapt. The ingenuity of humankind a huge advantage, and it responds so well to adversity. We’ll discover the blessings and opportunities that this global reset will offer – perhaps an even more resonate connection with our local communities.

We will continue to appreciate the attentive care and hospitality offered by hotels, and we will continue to travel to experience the wonders of our planet. Business will be done, and the value of face-to-face encounters will remain important. We instinctively thrive on curiosity and trust and will acutely appreciate the value of such interactions.

Design will continue to act as an intrinsic intermediary link between the traveller and host, helping set the scene to convey the values and brand essence of our hotels.

Our work as designers remains primarily concerned with guest interaction and experience. Underscored, as always, with a thorough understanding of the hotels operational, functional and experiential ethos. Added to this will be the new concerns of hygiene, security and protection.

For newly commissioned and refurbished hotels, we can expect that thoughtful and embedded demonstrations of sustainability along with a deep, genuine connection to the local community will be implicit.

For all the gloom and fear this pandemic has instilled, our present physical reality remains remarkably familiar. Ironically, our natural environment appears to be thriving and enjoying this imposed worldwide pause. Once again skies are clear, stars sparkle, and nature gently and effortlessly reasserts itself.

Within this present hostile environment, our hospitality instincts remain generous and hospitable. We are an ingenious and resourceful community. We will adapt and we will prevail.

MAAPS Design and Archtiecture is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image caption: Sketch by Peter Mance derived from the courtyard entrance canopy of Trump’s Washington DC hotel, which remains open as it is “designated as an essential business” |
Main image credit: MAAPS Design and
Architecture