As we look at the future of travel, there are a few trends from the pandemic that we hope will fade-think chatbots checking you in and robots delivering items to the room. However, some things will not go away, like the expectation that staff will still have to wear masks even after guest mask mandates are over, and that hotels will be held to the same or better levels of cleanliness and hygiene as during the pandemic.
Alan Fuerstman, founder and CEO of Montage Hotels told Forbes that consumer confidence was the biggest challenge right now as an industry. “There are so many things that go on inside a hotel that guests never see or thought about before. Now we have to give them the confidence that we can do all of those same things while ensuring their health and safety and not compromising the experience they came to us for in the first place.”
The world has just received a massive homeschool lesson on fabric hygiene, and one way you can instill guest confidence is by keeping soft surfaces free of microbes. In his article Hospitality After COVID-19: An Architect’s Perspective, hospitality architect Bruce Greenfield said, “The recent shift toward hard surface flooring, antimicrobial materials, nonporous surfaces and finishes, as well as touchfree fixtures will become mandatory.”
Lainiere Health & Wellness, the Official Fabric Hygiene Partner of the ILHA, offers a range of antimicrobial solutions for soft surfaces and guest confidence. Lainiere Performance Silver harnesses the natural power of safe and natural silver to fight microbes. Positively charged ions are permanently embedded in the fibers to produce long-lasting protection against microbes on soft surfaces, even through washing. Antimicrobial fabrics are essentially selfcleaning of bacteria, mold, and fungus that can cause odor, stains, and fabric degradation. You can give guests extra confidence in your level of cleanliness with essential accessories that offer a high level of microbial protection, like guest slippers in the room that are stored in antimicrobial shoe covers, which can be taken and used to sequester their own footwear as they travel. Adding antimicrobial and anti-odor gloves to your fitness center protocol provides guests with reusable, washable, and fast drying gloves for their workouts, which they can take home with them. Personal protection kits can be provided during a stay or as a gift at checkout for the next part of a guest’s journey. These are also products that can be sold in the gift shop alongside elevated antimicrobial masks hand-made by Tuscan artisans with fine Italian fabrics and Lainiere Performance Silver, or white fabric children’s masks that come with 90 rub-on decals so they can customize their own face coverings while keeping busy.
The opportunity for antimicrobial soft surfaces in hospitality are everywhere. Food & beverage has been hit hard and as dining comes back, guests will be put at ease knowing that the chefwear, aprons, and server gloves used by staff are antimicrobial. Clear masks allow for guests to see your waitstaff smile, and have an easier time understanding what they are saying.
The natural power of silver has been used as an antimicrobial for millennia, making it a good story for guests and press. Having antimicrobial soft surfaces throughout the property provides you with great talking points to push out, beyond the standard and expected care. In Deliotte’s report the future of hospitality, they predict that, “Companies will need to connect actively with customers new and old to communicate how they’re protecting their customers’ health. From signage to emails, social media posts to YouTube videos, they should take the initiative to explain and show what they’re doing to keep everyone safe as business slowly reopens.”
Laundry and valet service offer another key opportunity for antimicrobial fabrics. From the large laundry bags that housekeeping uses to collect soiled towels and linens to the bags you use to return guest laundry and polished shoes. Imagine a guest’s delight when their clean folded laundry is returned in an antimicrobial fabric bag that is washable and reusable, or dry cleaning returned in a reusable antimicrobial garment bag along wish shoes returned in antimicrobial shoe bags, all branded with your logo. Every time they reach for these reusable antimicrobial travel items – for the remainder of their journey and beyond – they’ll be reminded of what good care you took of them during their stay shows that next-level attention to detail, comfort, and hygiene.
Lainiere Performance Silver from Lainiere Health & Wellness is certified safe, with EPA and BPR registrations and OekoTex® Standard 100 accreditation. All Lainiere Performance Silver products can be customized with your colors and logos. Visit www. lainierehospitality.com for more details or email hospitality@ chargeurs-pcc.com to see samples personalized with your property’s name and logo.
Your staff can also benefit from antimicrobial solutions. For anyone who must wear a mask for eight hours a day or more, being given high-quality antimicrobial masks that offer protection from bacteria and odor shows how much you value them. A beautifully made mask featuring your logo and colors as the first thing a guest encounters when they are greeted at your property consistently promotes your brand and gives customers confidence that you’re going above and beyond with antimicrobial protection.
Antimicrobial fabrics have long been used in healthcare settings, and now hotels must think like healthcare facilities. In fact, when we asked Nick Ellis, editor at The Points Guy his opinion, he responded, “Now, many properties have implemented onsite testing programs — in addition to any testing requirement a given country may have for entry – both for people with longer stays and for those returning to a home country that requires a negative COVID-19 test for re-entry.” Whether we like it or not, hotels are in the healthcare business now, protecting people who are under their care. Leveling up to use antimicrobial soft surfaces.
About the author Christy Raedeke, Chief Marketing Officer, Chargeurs-PCC Fabric Technologies, has more than 30 years of experience in marketing, sales, and business development. Well known for bringing advancements in fabric technology to market, Raedeke leads the marketing efforts in support of Chargeurs-PCC’s global growth, including the growth of the new U.S.-based Lainiere Health & Wellness division. Chargeurs-PCC, a division of 150-year-old French company Chargeurs Group, is the world leader in apparel inner components, with thousands of customers including Chanel, Balenciaga, Gucci, Burberry, Alexander McQueen, and many others.