Emerging Millennials: What Every Hotelier Needs To Know About the Risk of Moisture Problems in the New Hotel Prototypes

Orlando, FL. May 3, 2016. With platforms emerging like Airbnb, the hospitality industry is scrambling to develop products that will be attractive to Millennials, who have now surpassed the Baby Boomers as the largest generation in the US according to Pew Research. From past experience, this means that new prototypes are being developed, and with new prototypes comes greater risk of building failures, especially moisture and mold.

Millennials represent one of the largest growing segments of new hotel guests. To accommodate them, the hospitality industry is re-naming and re-theming in order to provide an attractive “Millennial experience.” Major hospitality groups have produced new hotel prototypes designed to provide this “experience,” and also meet price point demands (cheaper rates).

Cheaper rates means that these prototypes must rely on certain low cost construction assumptions, including wood framing that is difficult to waterproof and PTAC HVAC systems that have limited ventilation/dehumidification; All under the umbrella of prototypes that are designed to roll out standard designs nationwide with little thought of adapting to climatic conditions.

In the 90s, 400+ Extended Stay America hotels had numerous lawsuits alleging waterproofing issues, which resulted in mold, moisture and deteriorated structural problems. General Electric had to scramble to find solutions after Comfort Inn properties reported mold and moisture problems caused by improper ventilation and dehumidification of the guest rooms that used PTACs.

Some of the greatest risks facing these new prototypes are the risks of mold and moisture problems. Unless the actual climatic conditions are considered for these prototypes, then mold and moisture problems are likely. The use of lower cost options driven by demand for lower prices also creates the potential for high-risk decisions including, (1) wood framing, which is difficult to waterproof and (2) less expensive HVAC systems that do not provide sufficient dehumidification.

It is imperative to consider the actual climatic conditions of any proposed hotel site to avoid repeating history; Even a Millennial would agree that mold is not a “green” that they can support.

LBFG has provided problem avoidance and solutions to owners and contractors in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast states, as well as Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and Southeast Asia.


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