Hospitality revolution: the first-ever self-cleaning hotel rooms
One on of Hotel Ottilia’s stylish rooms overlooking Carlsberg City
In Copenhagen’s Hotel Ottilia, a self-disinfecting technology removes germs, creates a safer stay makes life easier for housekeepers.
This marks a further acceleration for an increasingly tech savvy hospitality industry, one in which it is not uncommon to find things like full-length mirrors with televisions in them or a personal trainer available on-demand through the TV.
Hotel Ottilia has partnered with Danish Company ACT.Global to use its proprietary ACT CleanCoat technology, which is odourless, transparent and activated by sunlight. Titanium dioxide, the main ingredient, is often found in sunscreen.
Tests from national research organizations such as Denmark’s National Research Centre for the Working Environment have found that this antibacterial spray breaks down everything from influenza and salmonella to mould spores and allergens.
Covering a room like invisible insulation, ACT CleanCoat purifies the air for up to a year and removes contaminants such as cigarette smoke and other odours, essentially cleaning the room more thoroughly than most regular housekeeping.
The magic behind ACT CleanCoat
Researchers have been testing the system for two years, said Karim Nielsen, CEO of Brøchner Hotels, Ottilia’s parent company.
Nielsen went on to compare the invisible coating tech to Teflon, saying it was first tested at nearby Hotel Herman K. Now, both hotels are the first in the world to use this system to self-clean.
“What really sold us on it was that it would make life so much easier for our staff,” Nielsen says. Housekeepers don’t have to apply chemical detergents and cleaners or breathe their fumes. They can vacuum, dry-clean linens, and wipe down surfaces, and CleanCoat does the rest. Guests also benefit: Their rooms are cleaned faster without using chemicals that can cause allergic reactions.
Nielsen estimates that each room costs $2,500 to cover with CleanCoat. “The technology is expensive,” he says, “but we’ve reduced the labour load by 50%. It’s giving our staff a much easier day and reducing our water consumption.”
Another benefit, he added, is saving on maintenance costs. “Since we no longer use chemicals to clean, we’re never spilling [bleach] on carpets.”
Staying one step ahead
The 155-room hotel, which is in the original Carlsberg brewery’s two former stock buildings, is a good example of the newly fierce competition among the city’s hoteliers.
Ottilia’s striking, round windows—with built-in reading nooks—evoke the original brickwork and the shape of beer bottles while the location in up-and-coming Carlsberg City puts travellers in one of Copenhagen’s most dynamic new neighbourhoods.
“Copenhagen’s hotel scene was very boring until about five years ago,” Nielsen says. “Big chains like Scandic and Hilton have always taken the big properties when they come for sale, so the market has become driven by hidden gems. It leaves innovation to the smaller properties,” he explains.
Guy Langford, vice chairman and U.S. leader of the transportation and hospitality team at Deloitte, is not yet sure this innovation will go mainstream.
“Sustainability is something large brands are really prioritizing right now, but it’s important to focus on the measures that can be easily scaled,” he explains, referring to common but impactful initiatives such as swapping plastic straws for paper ones.
Scalability could become an issue with CleanCoat.
Nielsen must fully empty a hotel room of furniture to spray it with CleanCoat—something which tends to happen only during renovations—and the formula has to be reapplied each year. That’s not an easy thing to undertake, and certainly not one that can be accomplished daily.
Steps towards a cleaner future
When it comes to healthy lifestyle trends, Langford says, innovations are most readily embraced when they help travellers maintain existing habits on the road.
“That’s what’s driving popular new amenities like customized lighting settings, healthier menus, air purifiers, and the like.”
But if the CleanseBot is any indication, consumers are ready to embrace anything that ensures a clean and healthy stay. They put a priority on health and will sacrifice accordingly.
The new device, roughly the size of a hockey puck, is a packable cleaning robot which kills E. coli on your hotel room’s most germ-ridden surfaces. It launched on IndieGogo last month and has raised more than $1 million since.
And Langford concedes that technology doesn’t always have to reinvent the guest experience to prove useful; it can be validated through operational efficiency.
“We have a happier staff now,” says Nielsen, regarding that point. “It’s something we’ll roll out to all of our hotels as soon as we can—and we won’t be surprised to see it in some of the bigger brands in Copenhagen, too.”
Let’s take a look at a few other projects currently underway in Denmark:
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