Are hotels and malls doing their best to help guests breathe easy?
A 2018 study found that in India, 80% of people believe that air quality directly affects their quality of life. Moreover, 78% of those interviewed (across 17 cities), said that they regularly discuss air pollution at home.
In a post-COVID world, people pay even closer attention to air quality, whether they’re indoors or outdoors. In fact, people are now also aware that indoor air quality is often far poorer than outdoor air quality. This means that hospitality businesses that were once perceived as establishments offering respite from dust and pollution are under the scanner, and must go the extra mile to ensure that they provide clean air to their guests.
Why are hotels and malls under scrutiny?
The shift in attitude stems mainly from a more nuanced understanding of the various causes of indoor air pollution. For instance, as per the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the concentration of organic pollutants is 2–5 times higher indoors than outdoors. While this study was conducted within homes, it takes into account indoor air pollution caused by chemicals present in paint, cleaners, and disinfectants. All of these products are also used by hospitality businesses such as malls and hotels, in addition to polishes, waxes, and air fresheners.
What’s more, malls and hotels also face three unique challenges. They:
- Are typically located in commercial districts of cities
- Receive high footfall
- House kitchens, gyms, swimming pools, and/or multi-level parking structures within the premises.
When combined, these factors give rise to a number of threats to indoor air quality. Here are a few critical ones.
- Poorly ventilated kitchens in both malls and hotels directly increase carbon monoxide levels within the facility.
- Most hospitality businesses—including hotels, malls, clubs, and convention centers—are optimally located in the heart of the city. The flip side is that outdoor dust and pollution (car fumes, for example) permeate the indoor environment, indirectly worsening air quality.
- Gyms, spas, and swimming pools have high moisture levels, making them a hotbed for bacteria, mold, and fungal growth.
- Hotels and malls are densely populated but lack adequate ventilation. Hotels especially contain a large number of air-conditioned rooms, without windows for proper ventilation. In addition, they’re carpeted, so pollutants get trapped easily and for longer too.
These two factors result in humidity levels rising, and getting trapped to create damp spots, which further promotes the growth of mold, a silent, yet potent threat. While short-term exposure most commonly triggers an allergic reaction (such as coughing and sneezing), there’s documented evidence of long-term exposure being far more detrimental to health.
How adversely does poor air quality in hotels and malls impact health?
Studies conducted even as early as the late 1990s have found worrisome concentrations of indoor air pollutants like formaldehyde, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and PM10 in malls. Apart from researchers, the reason why more and more citizens are paying attention to indoor air quality is because the impact of these pollutants on one’s health is far-reaching.
Prolonged exposure to chemicals can result in headaches, nausea, throat and nasal irritation, allergic reactions, fatigue, and dizziness. It can also aggravate COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), and cause damage to the lungs, kidney, and nervous system in the long run.
Unregulated humidity and resultant mold also contribute to a host of health problems. Some of them include shortness of breath, development or exacerbation of asthma, red and itchy eyes as well as coughing, stuffy nose, etc. Prolonged exposure can also result in more critical conditions, like pulmonary fibrosis.
Why should hotels and malls prioritize indoor air quality?
There are a number of reasons why hotels and malls must step up and take charge, but here are the two most critical ones.
For the health and comfort of their guests
The success of any hospitality business, be it a hotel or a mall, hinges on how comfortable guests feel. And today, guests demand clean air. A 2012 study brought to light that 4 out of 10 guests term good indoor air quality as a ‘highly important’ criterion when selecting a hotel. The study also showed that hotels that talk about offering clean air received better ratings.
Simultaneously, this study also revealed that despite consumers prioritizing pollution-free air, only 1/3rd of all respondents recalled advertising or promoting the hotel’s indoor air quality. Given the value that guests assign to clean air, talking about indoor air quality is non-negotiable. It goes a long way in making guests feel comfortable, improves ratings, and builds brand loyalty too.
For the well-being of employees
Unfortunately, employees are more exposed to indoor air pollutants, which means they’re at a higher risk of suffering from headaches and feeling tired, dizzy, and nauseous. Over time, this can also result in compromised cognitive function. Therefore, to preserve the health and productivity of a workforce, monitoring indoor air quality is a must.
How can hotels and malls improve indoor air quality?
Today, it’s extremely easy to prioritize this, and it all starts with understanding air quality. By using smart indoor air quality monitoring systems, hospitality businesses can easily assess the presence of PM2.5, PM10, and VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), as well as humidity, temperature, and carbon dioxide levels. Moreover, this investment has a cascading positive effect.
- 24/7 monitoring gives you a holistic picture of indoor air quality and helps you recognize patterns pertaining to spikes in indoor air pollution. It identifies the type of pollutants you’re dealing with so that you can design tailored systems to address them. With mold, especially, early detection of high humidity levels is critical to minimizing impact, and a sound air quality monitoring system facilitates this.
- Alerts based on real-time data allow you to act quickly when it matters most.
- Air quality monitoring devices aid in evaluating the efficacy of your existing purification and ventilation systems. They also contribute to lower operational costs, as you know exactly when to clean or change filters.
- With on-demand fresh air intake, these systems also result in lower air-conditioning expenses (which can amount to 15–20% of the total cost of running a hotel). In the grand scheme of things, you can save energy and reduce your carbon footprint too.
Explore Airveda’s air quality monitoring solutions
Air quality monitors
Airveda offers various indoor air quality monitoring devices for hotels and malls that measure multiple air pollutants like carbon dioxide, PM2.5, PM10, VOCs, formaldehyde, and carbon monoxide.
Airveda also builds duct monitors which allows you to easily compare return versus supply air quality, and determine just how efficient your current HVAC systems are.
Moreover, Airveda’s indoor air quality monitoring solutions seamlessly integrate with existing Building Management Systems (BMS) in both hotels and malls. This functionality helps in optimizing energy consumption significantly. By dynamically adjusting HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) settings based on real-time air quality data, hotels and malls can reduce unnecessary energy usage while still maintaining a comfortable environment for guests.
Apart from tools to monitor air quality, Airveda also offers a range of TV display templates that showcase real-time indoor air quality. When hotels and malls display this, they not only allow guests to easily access current information, but also empower them to make informed decisions about their activities within the premises. In the long run, hospitality businesses can leverage TV displays to show their clients that they are delivering on the promise of clean air.
Feature-rich software suite
All of Airveda’s air quality monitoring devices are accompanied by software that issues alerts, generates reports, and allows you to download data from an easy-to-use dashboard. Best of all, hotels and mall managers can use the intuitive mobile app to monitor air quality on the go, and make timely decisions.
By partnering with Ariveda, a large number of hotels and malls including DLF, Shangri-La Hotel, JW Marriott, Taj Hotels, Westin Hotels, DLF Promenade Mall, DLF Emporio Mall, DLF Cybercity, DLF Mall of India have used these displays to inspire confidence amongst their guests and quantify the stark difference between indoor and outdoor air quality.
Why is it important for hotels and malls to act right now?
Apart from customers demanding more, in the next few years, it’s also likely that governments will put in place regulations to govern indoor air quality. For instance, since 2022, the National Green Tribunal has been advocating for indoor air quality norms and implementation protocol. So, it is only prudent that hospitality businesses adopt these systems now, sooner rather than later.
By employing a proactive approach towards indoor air quality, hospitality businesses can avoid legal implications, boost their revenue, meet guest expectations, and build a great reputation. An investment made today can reap benefits for years to come.
If you’re a hotel, mall, or hospitality business committed to making a meaningful change, write to firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how Airveda’s indoor air quality monitoring devices can help you get started.