If you would like to know more about how the Fresh Air family range of O3 based odour removal systems can help you, go to www.ecegroup.co.uk/services/ozone-division/ call the EceGroup team on 0203 757 7150 or email them info@ecegroup.co.uk and they will be happy to talk through your needs.


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How a small smell causes a big problem – The hidden cost of persistent odours.

If you have an odour issue in a room the guest will usually let you know pretty quickly, but it could cost you a lot more than a complaint.

A member of the ECE Group Services team recently had an experience that really serves to demonstrate how, not only can an odour problem give the guest the wrong impression of a perfectly cleaned room, it can also cost you a considerable sum:

Last year I spent a couple of nights in a hotel with my wife and child while we attended a family gathering. Just to set the scene for you, we had booked into a small suite which had been converted to a family room. It consisted of a large twin-bedded area and a smaller lounge/bedroom which were joined by a short corridor with a bathroom off. Shortly after arriving we noticed that the large bedroom smelled of stale cooking (it was near the kitchen extracts) and the smaller room had a pervasive odour of cigarette smoke, probably from someone smoking in the room in the previous occupancy.

So, was the room dirty? No. Had the room been turned properly? Yes, in fact housekeeping were just leaving as we arrived. The bathroom was spotless, the chrome and mirrors gleamed, the linen had been done, the carpet was well vacuumed, and the suite was dust free. I mention all this because I want to be perfectly fair to the housekeeping team. The odour was not their fault. They had clearly turned the room very well and the chemical smells initially covered the problem. However, by the time we had settled in, we started to notice that the rooms smelled bad.

Let’s just take a moment to consider what I am actually saying here. As a guest who stayed in a hotel owned by a well-known brand, I booked into a room that actually smelled bad. Worse still, it wasn’t caused by an unexpectedly blocked drain or some other unavoidable situation, the smell was clearly a persistent issue that returned once the chemical perfumes settled.

The real cost of a complaint

The situation above would normally generate a complaint to the front desk. That would potentially cost a room move if one was available. If a move was not possible, some other form of compensation would be offered, usually a meal or some sort of gift. The housekeeping team would likely be called out again to pointlessly try and clean a room that had already had a full clean to a very high standard. The guest would certainly avoid the hotel again and potentially put a terrible review on TripAdvisor. Sadly, it would then perhaps get raised at the HoD meeting with some very hard questions being asked by the GM. It really is not fair that the admirable job done by the housekeeping team will all be wasted at the first guest wrinkling up their nose and complaining about a persistent odour.

I did not complain or ask for a move because I knew the reason for the odours, and I felt it was unfair to potentially have that reflect on the staff who were absolutely lovely during our visit. I emailed the head office and mentioned it to a manager, ensuring both times that the hotel staff were not blamed though because, honestly, it needed raising.

Even though I did not ask for a room move, there was still a hidden cost in that visit. The chain in question were our hotel of choice. Sure, they are still considered, but we have now started buying on price again rather than staying loyal to a brand. My wife travels a lot for work and on her bookings alone they probably lost a considerable number of rooms.

Those odours cost money, possible complaints, loss of reputation and worst of all, the hard work done by the housekeeping team was wasted.

Shall we have a little add up now? The room cost us around £100 a day so let’s use that number to work out what the potential cost would be, assuming I had reacted as a regular guest and demanded a room move. To start with the initial room is out of commission as is another room because of the move. So that brings us to zero revenue and most likely below that if it meant an upgrade. A housekeeping team go in and clean the room again, so you have wages and materials taking you into the red. OK, so far, it’s not a huge amount but let’s look further down the line. It only takes a bad review to dissuade 1 guest from booking and you are suddenly adding £ 100- £120 to that red figure. Now add into that the lost repeat business from myself, my family and my wife and you are looking at £ 100s more.

What seems to be a minor complaint about a room odour could well have cost at least £ 400 – £ 500 in lost revenue… and repeat on a regular basis for each complaint. Imagine how much higher that amount rises in a care facility or rented accommodation where an odour issue could see a room idle for weeks.

Using O3 to clear odours

O3 generators work by gathering and destroying the odours which will remove the problem and not just mask it. They use no chemicals, no perfumes and leave only a light, fresh, smelling aroma like the air after a storm. Run that scenario again and this time have the housekeeping team use an O3 (also known as ozone) generator in the room to remove the odour while they work on another bedroom. By the time they move on to do the regular clean on the smelly room the odour has gone and, apart from a slight detour to place the ozone machine and switch it on, there has not even been a change to their usual cleaning pattern. No smell means no complaint. The total costs of rooms with odour issues instantly drops to the investment in an O3 generator which often stay in service for up to 5 years. In room exchange costs alone that could save hundreds of pounds as well as a big hit on your reputation in bad reviews. Nobody ever complained about a room smelling ‘too fresh’ on TripAdvisor.

Our Fresh Air Family range are a simple, quick, reliable and cost-effective solution to a variety of odours and could well pay for themselves within weeks, or even days. We have a range of solutions from our new Ozofresh plugIn, that is a perfect addition to a cleaning cart for spot odours, through to our Eclipse Pro that can handle everything from the worst ‘occupation’ smells such as vomit and urine in bedrooms right through to sweaty conference rooms. Every odour removed is a potential saving.

As a post script to this, I noticed on the way out of the hotel that they were cleaning the carpets in the hallways. What a waste of time and money when the guests were still going to complain about the smell in the bedrooms. I asked at the desk if they used ozone in the rooms and he confided in me they did at the last hotel he ran but here they did not own a machine. That says it all really.

If you would like to know more about how the Fresh Air family range of O3 based odour removal systems can help you, go to www.ecegroup.co.uk/services/ozone-division/ call the EceGroup team on 0203 757 7150 or email them info@ecegroup.co.uk and they will be happy to talk through your needs.