How often do your hotel guests complain about noise? If the answer is ‘not a lot,’ you may have a bigger problem than you think. Even though noise is among the most under-reported problems at hotels and other layover establishments, according to the JD Power annual Hotel Guest Satisfaction Survey, noise gets under the skins of visitors more than dirty rooms do and rude staff!
Word of mouth is what built your business, so obviously disgruntled customers spells bad news – especially when they flock to online sites to express their grievances. The truth is that, it shouldn’t even come to that. Nobody likes to deal with noise, not even you and your staff. Who wants to wake someone up because they snored too loudly or left a television on? Worse, what if they are guests in your reception hall, hosting a party?
Being proactive is better than being reactive.
What causes noise in hotels?
There are as many sources of noise in the average hotel as there are suites! Starting with rooms, guests are generally noisy. As mentioned before, snoring and televisions are often culprits. But so are loud conversations, especially from guests keeping odd hours. Hallways are another major source of noise, as well as air conditioners and elevator shafts. Staff contribute as well, especially when they vacuum.
The rest of a hotel does not fare better. Conference rooms can be very acoustically unsound, especially if you split the space up for multiple events. Then there are the restaurants and kitchens, not to mention the lobby itself: a wide open space where people and external noises constantly mix.
Hotels by their very design are noise magnets. There are plenty of hard surfaces, such as tiles and concrete, not to mention ample amounts of glass. All of these can bounce sound around, adding to the humdrum.
How can I fix noise in a hotel?
The first step is to not look at your problem as a singular one. Instead of approaching it as the hotel, break things down to their individual areas and then address those. Let’s start with the most frequent source of noise complaints: the rooms.
Reducing noise in the rooms
What are the common causes of noise in rooms? Very often it’s to do with the shared wall. If you cannot add insulation into the wall itself, consider using noise reduction panels such as those supplied by Aluglass Bautech. These can be styled to double as artwork or aesthetic elements of the room. If rooms share an adjoining door, that can be replaced by a Varikust® acoustic door.
You can also look at adding acoustic padding to bed headboards, helping reduce snore noises. Arranging acoustic panels near televisions can reduce their impact as well. Finally, don’t forget the windows: glass is a very poor way to stop noise, but you can apply acoustic glazing to make a big difference. If that is a bit much, look at heavy curtains (though these will only work when closed.) Don’t let a nice room be spoiled by a noisy neighbour.
What about the hallway?
Some of the above ideas apply to hallways as well. Place acoustic panels along the wall, decorated to suit your décor and be totally unintrusive. Acoustic room doors will also dramatically cut down sounds from hallways. Some hotel chains follow an alternative route: the Holiday Inn chain in the US has begun to install sliding acoustic doors inside the room. If the hallway noise is too much, visitors simply slide the door in place and have a peaceful night! Place rooms away from high-traffic areas, elevators, and noisy facilities.
Can I do anything about elevators and air conditioners?
Elevators are surprisingly noisy and, ideally, you don’t want rooms to be close to them. Sadly it’s not practical to make an elevator quiet. But a few strategic acoustic panels in the affected rooms can dramatically cut down the sound. You can also look at adding panels around the elevator’s engine room.
Air conditioners are a bit trickier, since they lead into a room and are essentially part of it. So you can’t stop air conditioner noise. But you can reduce it: acoustic panels arranged along the system will help cut down on sounds. Also look at adding rubber seals to air conditioner bolts and joints.
Installing noise-reducing fixtures and equipment, such as quiet HVAC systems, silent door closers, and low-noise appliances help reduce noise. Ensuring regular maintenance of these systems can also avoid any noise disruptions.
Can my conference rooms be quieter?
A large space such as conference rooms are huge acoustic challenges. They tend to have a lot of people in them, as well as high ceilings for sound to comfortably bounce around. Add the sound of glasses, cutlery and more – and it’s a true cacophony!
Acoustic solutions for conference rooms are fortunately plentiful. You can look at Aluglass Bautech acoustic panels suitably arranged across the room, to not only reduce noise but create the right sound dynamics. After all, these are areas that will host people giving speeches or performances, so the room should be able to sound good.
Decorative curtains can help hide the hard surfaces of halls, while acoustic panels and insulation will soften the impact of the ceiling.
You can also install Variflex® mobile acoustic partitions. Moved along ceiling rails, these allow you to divide the room into smaller areas, allowing events to happen side-by-side without hearing each other.
Great! Now, what about my lobby?
Lobbies are noise nightmares, especially when your ideal day – a huge influx of guests – happens. All those people waiting to check in will chit-chat away, making it harder for anyone to hear anything. It could quickly shade a fun stay at your establishment.
The same advice applies. Acoustic panels can be strategically placed along walls and ceilings to deflect and reduce sound as it travels across the area. Mobile dividers – on rails or guided manually – can be placed to separate the sounds of different areas, such as the check-in and the waiting lounge. Hard surfaces, like tiles and glass, can be treated with acoustic glazing.
Also invest in plants and soft furnishings such as carpets and couches, all proven to absorb and scatter noise quite effectively.