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Spotlight on: chemical-free hotels

As consumer demand for natural alternatives continues to grow, a new trend within the hospitality industry is emerging - chemical-free accommodation. Click. explores the potential cost savings for properties

Ecotourism is rapidly growing, with research reporting that nearly 90% of global travellers want to travel sustainably. With amenities like natural bathroom products and paper straws becoming the norm, properties are turning to chemical-free rooms to set themselves apart and cater to changing guest expectations.

Hotel Herman K is the first hotel in Denmark where chemicals aren't involved in the cleaning process. Teaming up with ACT.Global, the hotel has coated all rooms with ACT CleanCoat – an invisible coating that makes surfaces self-disinfecting - alleviating the need for harsh chemicals. ACT ECA Water, created by electrolysis of salt and water, is used daily instead to maintain the cleanliness of the rooms. “It’s absolutely as effective as traditional cleaning products,” says Christian Lond, Director of Procurement at Brøchner Hotels. “With ECA water you’re not leaving chemical residue behind every time you clean, and bacteria can’t grow under it. The coating eliminates bacteria 24/7, and the ECA water is used for eco-friendly daily cleaning.” 

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Hotel room
Hotel Herman K, the first chemical-free hotel in Denmark

 

Impact of green initiatives

Along with benefitting the environment, introducing chemical-free products to your property has the potential to reduce operating costs. “I really don’t have any expenses on chemicals anymore,” says Lond. “The ECA water we are using instead is by far more profitable.”

The same is true for Kimpton Hotel Monaco Portland. “While the price of the eco-products is comparable to a traditional cleaning product, we did see cost savings because more eco-friendly products are more universal, so we purchase less variety, and it leads to more team productivity,” says Alicia Smith, Director of Housekeeping at Kimpton Hotel Monaco, Portland.

It should come as no surprise that traditional cleaning chemicals can be harsh on human bodies. Research shows that regular use of chemical cleaning sprays has an impact on lung health comparable with smoking 20 cigarettes a day - a sobering statistic for staff who work with those products daily.

When making the decision to go chemical-free, staff wellbeing was a prime factor for Hotel Herman K. “It’s much better cleaning without chemicals, of course for the whole environment, but also for our staff,” says Lond. “It’s nice for both our staff and guests knowing there’s nothing dangerous in the products used at the hotel. They’re not close to anything that could be harmful to their health."

Toxic chemicals don’t only impact hotel staff. They also linger in rooms for days, and can make contact with hotel guests. By using natural cleaning products, guests are spared from any negative impact and the smell of harsh chemicals.


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Rise of the hypoallergenic room

Hotel brands including Hyatt, Marriott and Hilton are all purifying their guest experience by offering allergy-free rooms. From rigorous deep-cleaning with chemical-free products and disinfecting air handling systems, right down to the hypoallergenic pillows, every aspect of the room is designed to give guests a better night's sleep.

“We essentially kill any remaining living organisms that are in the room,” says Brian Brault, CEO of PURE Solutions, a company that works with hotel brands to purify the air and surfaces in their rooms. “The steps taken allow the sanitary conditions we create to stay in place for an extended period of time, almost regardless of what goes on in the room."

Research has found that properties installing hypoallergenic rooms also have a slight advantage over their chemical-using competitors. “We commissioned Cornell University to conduct a survey that found around 41% of accommodation bookings involve someone who has respiratory allergies, chemical sensitivities or asthma,” says Brault. “In theory, 41% of bookings have a need for an allergy-free environment. Having a selection of rooms that really focus on having higher quality air certainly differentiates one hotel over another."

Hotels are increasing occupancy by differentiating themselves and driving rate, Brian Brault, PURE Solutions

Catering to travellers who have previously found travelling too uncomfortable, due to their chemical sensitivities or allergies, also gives properties the opportunity to increase occupancy rates. “Hotels are increasing occupancy by differentiating themselves and driving rate,” says Brault. “Most hotels charge a premium of US$20 or US$30 per night for a hypoallergenic room. It’s a premium room type hotels are proud to have on offer, and something they are able to generate extra revenue from.”

Guest satisfaction is also likely to improve when chemicals are out of the picture, as Kimpton Hotel Monaco Portland have noticed. “If a guest suffers from allergies, they can enjoy a worry-free stay with us. It absolutely improves the guest experience,” says Smith. “We get a lot of repeat business and daily requests for rooms on the hypoallergenic floors. We’re seeing a definite increase in requests as guests become more aware of the offering.”

 

Check out Booking Cares, Booking.com’s Corporate Social Responsibility programme

Takeaway
  • According to research from Cornell University, 41% of accommodation bookings involve someone who has respiratory allergies, chemical sensitivities or asthma
  • Kimpton, Marriott and Hilton, among others, are now offering allergy-free rooms
  • The recently opened Hotel Herman K is the first chemical-free hotel in Denmark
  • Hoteliers opting to go green are noticing an increase in guest satisfaction and occupancy rates, as well as cost savings 

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