As the global travel and hospitality industries are still fighting for survival, having an exit strategy out of the pandemic is crucial. We are moving into a new phase that is looking ever more hopeful as a return to normality feels closer than ever. However, we’re not out of the woods just yet, and it’s important that respective industries take steps to make travelers and guests feel as safe as possible, reassuring consumers that the travel industry can be safe even at this stage of the pandemic.
Those who succeed in enticing customers to a much-needed stay away from home, will be the ones that can assure guests their hotels are virus-free and safe. “Everyone focuses on the surfaces in a hotel room, but COVID-19 is an airborne virus,” says Dr. Rajiv Sahay, director of the Environmental Diagnostics Laboratory at Pure Air Control Services in Florida. “Hotel industry leaders who understand the importance of sanitizing the HVAC system as well as how to communicate it, are going to be the winners as consumers start traveling again in greater numbers.”
Dr. Sahay has identified five crucial steps that are essential elements of a true hypoallergenic room certification that hotel management can use to reassure customers.
Evaluate Indoor Air Quality
Throughout the pandemic we have seen just how important air quality is in preventing the spread of Covid-19. We know that the virus dissipates more quickly in outdoor and well ventilated spaces, and that droplets can survive in aerosol form in the air. This is why it’s crucial to conduct a baseline environmental test as well as HVAC testing (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) to ensure the systems are operating properly and managing the right air quantities indoors to verify the building’s safety.
A pathogen is any organism that causes disease. They can spread through skin contact, airborne particles, surfaces, bodily fluids and can cause illness once it finds a host body. Cleaning and air filtration in hotel rooms should include building disinfection using Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered disinfectants to neutralize all bacteria, mold and viruses, including coronavirus, prior to the facilities being certified as hypoallergenic (meaning unlikely to cause an allergic reaction).
Clean and Restore HVAC Units
Neglecting air conditioner unit maintenance will result in dirty air filters and reduced efficiency. It can cause allergen or mold buildups in the duct system that will be released into the air. It’s important that all HVAC units are hygienically cleaned with 350° F steam, and then restored with anti-microbial paint. To further reduce in-room particles, hygienically clean all supply and return ductwork with negative air machines with HEPA filtration. Also make sure that the fiberglass duct board is encapsulated to prevent degradation, which increases the longevity and is an alternative to replacement.
Use Air Purification Technology
Indoor air can have some pollutants up to five times higher than outdoors, and the most effective way to reduce this is an air purifier that uses detection technology and multi-stage HEPA filtration. HEPA stands for high efficiency particulate air, which works by forcing air through a fine mesh and traps particles that may be harmful. Also ensure that PURE-Plasma bi-polar ionization technology is installed for the continuous cleaning of the air to remove allergens, microbes, odors and particles.
While taking all of these steps will hugely reduce the risk of viruses living in hotel rooms, it’s important that conditions are consistently monitored for changes. Conduct real time indoor air quality (IAQ) monitoring of the building 24/7 for particles, temperature, rH, CO2 and VOC in order to maintain a certified hypoallergenic status. It will not only bring you peace of mind, but your customers.
Find out more about Pure Air Control Services here.
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