Hoteliers prepare for the post-pandemic rebound

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As guests begin to return, reducing intrusive noise can be essential to positive online reviews and increased bookings.

by RANDALL R. BROWN

For hoteliers recovering from an industry low last year, the rebound has begun. According to AHLA’s State of the Hotel Industry 2021 Report, hotel occupancy in the U.S. will increase from 44% to 52% in 2021, and further to 61% in 2022. Room revenue will reach $110 billion in 2021 and $144 billion in 2022. And travelers are returning, many with ample vacation days accumulated during the pandemic.

However, the rapid rise in guest traffic also presents a challenge by way of excessive noise intrusion, particularly in high-traffic areas.

Fortunately, some hoteliers have discovered a cost-effective solution in add-on soundproof windows, which can be implemented without removing existing windows in a matter of hours, as needed.

THE CHALLENGE
With the coming surge of hotel guests, noise levels will rise due to increased car, train, jet, and shipping traffic This means more loud honking, tire squealing, train crossings, foghorns, etc., as well as night-owl pool parties as guests pay a premium for the experience.

The problem is that no matter how beautiful the hotel surroundings or convenient the location, the constant noise will grate on guests’ nerves, leaving them angry and sleepless. If management is lucky, guests may only demand to change to a quieter room. If not, they may check out early, demand a refund, or post bitter online reviews about excessive noise and unresponsive management.

THE SOLUTION
To proactively handle the noise problem and ensure quiet, restful rooms that will attract referrals, repeat business, and favorable reviews, hoteliers need to solve the main reason for indoor noise intrusion today: windows and sliding patio doors. Studies indicate that these structures let in most of the noise into rooms, since their design and construction are more susceptible to sound penetration than walls.

Soundproofing windows and patio doors can cut external noise by up to 95% quickly and cost-effectively. Because no window replacement is required, the installation process (which installs a functional, matching window in front of an existing one) can take as little as one hour per window, which minimizes hotel disruption. A similar technique provides comparable benefits for patio doors.

When external noise is a problem, some hoteliers try to reduce it by replacing double-pane windows or inserting sheets of Plexiglas. However, these products, available from various window suppliers, have a limited ability to reduce the noise.

Double- or triple-pane windows, for example, filter out only slightly more noise than single pane, if any. Although effective at insulating from external heat or cold, these products aren’t truly engineered for soundproofing.

With double-pane windows, the two pieces of glass within the frame vibrate like the two tines of a tuning fork, which actually creates more noise. Also, the air space for both double and triple pane windows does very little to dampen the sound vibrations.

Much of the noise that enters through windows comes through leaking window seals. With age, conventional window seals fail, so any partial relief experienced by replacing windows may be short-lived.

THE SOUNDS OF SILENCE
Post pandemic, to promote a tranquil setting for guests even in high-traffic urban centers, some hotels are turning to true soundproofing solutions utilized in sound sensitive environments such as recording studios. For example, a “second window” can be installed easily in front of the existing windows, and it’s intended to match and function like the original window, no matter its design or whether it opens or closes.

When choosing such soundproofed windows to ready a hotel for a post pandemic influx of guests seeking solace, the most objective measure of sound reduction is the window’s Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating. In this rating system, the higher the number the more noise is stopped.

For example, a typical rating for standard windows is 26 to 28, for example, but newer windows designed to greatly reduce noise can earn drastically higher numbers, thus greatly decreasing in-room noise and similarly elevating guest satisfaction.

Since external noise can also enter sliding glass doors, which are common on ground-floor hotel rooms or upper-level rooms with patios, similar soundproofing strategies can also be effectively applied in these applications.

Like the soundproof windows, a second sliding glass door can be added, but mounted either inside or outside an existing sliding glass door. This can eliminate up to 95% of external noise entering through the patio door.

As the hotel industry recovers from the pandemic, making the effort to welcome guests again not only with improved cleaning practices but also with a quiet, restful environment free of aggravating outside noise will set the stage for a full recovery, repeat business, and word-of-mouth referrals.

Randall R. Brown is the Owner of Soundproof Windows, Inc., a market-leading solutions provider in the industry. He can be reached at (877) 438-7843 or randy@soundproofwindows.com.

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