Top Tips for hoteliers to reduce allergens in hotel rooms & attract more guests.

Top Tips for hoteliers to reduce allergens in hotel rooms & attract more guests.

Guests prone to allergies and chemical sensitivities are more prevalent than you might think . It is suggested that there are 300 million people in the world who suffer from allergies and this number is thought to be on the increase. So why then are hotels not catering for the medical needs of millions of people?

Its easy to cater to this group of people with just a little awareness and planning. Awareness is the first step. There are a wide range of allergies and sensitivities that will effect your guest .These allergies tend to be either a food allergy, airborne allergy or chemical sensitivity. Here are some examples of what you may expose your guests to that you easily have control over, and suggestions of ways to avoid the problems.

Chemical sensitivities include reactions to cleaning products, perfumes or room deodorizers, laundry products, paint, new carpets and drapes.

  • Change your cleaning chemicals to natural cleaning products saving your employees and guests from harsh chemicals.
  • Use non scented cleaning products. If you have to deodorize a room to make it smell fresh, first try sprinkling natural products like baking soda in the carpet to absorb odours. Don’t attempt to mask unpleasant odours, deal with the cause of them.
  • Use washing powder designed for sensitive skin and use sparingly so that it all gets removed in the rinse. Laundry products, like cleaning products can have harsh chemicals that impact guests, and staff alike.
  • Replace fabric conditioners with vinegar in the rinse cycle for cleaner, softer laundry. Do not use products such as dryer sheets for the tumble dryer as these contain many chemicals.
  • A newly renovated room is off-gassing which affects some guests more than others. You can use natural wood and blinds that don‘t off-gas, as well as low VOC paints, to keep your rooms healthy and fresh.

Airborne allergies include smoke, dust and pollen, mould and mildew, dust mites, and animal dander.

  • Ensure that all rooms and public areas are smoke free. Hotels offering designated smoking rooms need to remember that smoke travels and guests will be carrying smoke on their clothes. Many guests are unaware that hotels in the UK are still offering designated smoking rooms and this information needs to be clearly displayed so guests with allergies, asthma and MCS are aware.
  • Dust and pollen are environmental pollutants that can't be prevented, but they can be mitigated with the use of good air filters. Remove all traces of mould and mildew. Proper cleaning and maintenance go a long way to managing these allergens. Avoid harsh chemicals and rely on frequent washing and drying.
  • Dust mites are an invisible problem, living in mattresses, carpets and upholstery. Encasing mattresses and pillows with proper covers, as well as frequently laundering mattress pads and pillow case covers helps control that problem. Thorough cleaning using a hoover with a HEPA filter, damp dusting, good ventilation, minimising upholstery and having a wooden floor will all help reduce numbers of dust mites.
  • Pet free - Consider having animal-free rooms. Since service animals are allowed to accompany disabled people in their rooms, all accessible guestrooms are contaminated so make good rooms to rent to people travelling with pets. Be sure to advise all guests that these rooms have housed animals so they can reserve according to their allergies. Remember that pets will still have to walk through public areas such as reception so guests need to know this information.

Food allergies and intolerances

  • Offer special diets. If a guest requests a special diet when booking, ask what you can do to help eg, offer space in a fridge for them to bring their own food or offer to get in special products eg, gluten free bread, dairy free milk etc… Many special dietary products can easily be brought in local supermarkets now. Do your research though as you have to ensure that there is no cross contamination between other foods / utensils.

Making a few of these simple changes could open the doors of your hotel to more guests. A recent study by Cornell University Survey Research Institute confirms that a growing segment of consumers would prefer an allergy friendly room if available.

83% of travellers say they would choose an allergy friendly room if they had the option.*
59% of travellers would choose one hotel over another based on availability of allergy friendly rooms.*

* Based on a study by the Survey Research Institute, Cornell University

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