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Innovation: a room to cocoon

While the innovations market continues to bring new functions into hotel rooms, including gadgetry, the essentials of the trade are nonetheless not being ignored. Techniques and materials have been perfected to improve sleep and customer comfort, facilitate maintenance and reduce energy consumption.

While hotels today make it possible to relax, work, receive, taste new food and have fun, hotels are first and foremost places to sleep and professionals have not forgotten this, far from it. Some hotel groups place the latest innovations at the service of their guests' nocturnal comfort. Four Seasons recently launched its Four Seasons Bed, a new sleep experience with a bed that may be personalized. It allows travelers to choose the conditions they wish to sleep in thanks to an innovative mattress system developed in a partnership with Simmons. Three levels of firmness are offered in addition to different types of pillows available to guests, while both sides of the bed are outfitted to guarantee tailored comfort. In addition to three different levels of comfort (Signature, Signature Firm and Signature Plush), Gel Touch Foam Center technology absorbs excess heat to maximize wellness during sleep.

For Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts nighttime comfort comes first and foremost from the sound environment, and thus the calm of the space. The new rooms recently made available by InterContinental have beds with particular contours that attenuate ambient sound and contribute to good sleep quality. This is made possible by the incurved and quilted headboard, its shape and the installation of sound insulation panels in all the walls. Crowne Plaza mentions 30% less noise compared to standard hotel rooms. With silence being a must for nighttime comfort, connected pillows may soon make their appearance in hotel rooms, making it possible to reduce their users' snoring.

The sound atmosphere of the room also comes from music. In this area, several innovations have recently made their appearance. Lumisky recently developed a Bluetooth connected LED speaker-lightbulb that makes it possible to bring music into a room without cables, by using simple Bluetooth connection to a Smartphone. Guests may thus listen to their music using their mobile device. Yamaha, meanwhile, chose to associate sound and light with its product Relit LSX170. Designed to be placed on a desk or night table, it contains two speakers that point upward and diffuse sound and light horizontally over a 360° range. Yamaha designed this product to express the propagation of sound and light waves through the appearance of two rings of light. The product has a Smart Timer function to set it for wake up and turn the light on and off at different times of day or days of the week. Moreover, with Music Player, customers may also listen to music from their Smartphone or tablet. A remote control makes it possible to adjust light intensity and volume. For a gentle and natural wakeup, several hotels have also decided to installe light therapy lamps in their rooms.

Textile innovations

Textiles used in rooms are another area for innovation making it possible to reinforce the fundamentals of the hotel industry. The latest findings of engineers and manufacturers endowed them with several virtues affecting decoration, cleanliness, safety and management of consumption. The designer Olivier Lapidus, for example, developed a range of illuminated textiles woven out of optic fibers that he presented at Room Studio for the 2014 edition of Equip'Hotel. In another style, the European Confederation of Linen and Hemp (CELC) offers furniture fabric made of fireproofed, stain resistant linen. This innovation particularly targets the hotel industry, meeting applicable fireproofing criteria and facilitating maintenance. Composed of 79% linen and 21% Alpaga, the fabric received a fireproofing treatment that respects the environment and its flame resistance is semi-permanent and able to resist dry cleaning and soaking. Finally, in response to sustainable development goals, the supplier Delius created the fabric Delitherm. Decorative, it helps save energy thanks to its aluminium fibers that protect from excessive sun in the summer and loss of warmth through windows in the winter. It is also resistant to soiling by water stains, cleaning products and insects and washable at 30°C.

When sustainable growth rhymes with comfort

In line with insulating curtains that also help save energy, RIOU Glass has launched a new solution of heated glass. CalorGlass offers insulated glazing that acts as an electric heating system through radiation that is totally integrated and invisible. The principle is simple: a layer made up of metal micro particles is laid over the entire internal surface of the internal glazing; connected to an electrical outlet, this layer acts as a low temperature (20 to 45°C) heating resistance, that radiates heat towards the interior of the room. The window or glazed bay thus becomes a source of heating and insulation that respects the environment by allowing energy savings. In addition to using insulating materials for windows, other, more technological solutions exist for limiting energy consumption. In this area, Vingcard Assa Abloy offers its ZEN thermostat to replace the old mechanical thermostats with an easy to use system. With an integrated presence detector, it saves on air conditioning and heating when the room is unoccupied. The ZEN Thermostat makes it possible to optimize energy consumption when the room is not occupied or rented and to generate a hotel occupancy report that can be connected to room locks. Its utility is all the more evident when one realizes that after salaries, energy is the second highest spending area for the room department of hotels.

Moreover, rooms have more captors to adapt energy consumption to how they are used... Several solutions have been developed on the market that use presence detectors, card readers, temperature probes and even window contacts.

So, how are all these new technologies applied to the hotel industry? The term "connected room" is often used in today's hotel industry to designate all the solutions that make it possible to stay in touch with the external world and the rest of a property (conected TVs, Wifi, e-concierge,...), e-superintendent service...). Rooms tend to use the latest high tech unit to be "more intelligent," managing the customers' stay, increasing their comfort, and making it easier for housekeeping personnel to clean. And all that while meeting the sustainable development constraints, a key factor in the hotel sector today

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  • Hotel room : a trend towards personalization
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