Times are more challenging for the hospitality industry than ever before. It’s a tough time for selling flooring to this sector. New construction is slowing down, and many pipeline projects are being postponed as hoteliers furlough employees including specifiers and designers. Many manufacturers’ existing orders have been put on hold as uncertainty grows about how long the COVID-19 crisis will last and what its ultimate effect will be upon the economy in general and hospitality in particular. 

The value proposition of flooring can grow with the times. The primary appeal for hospitality is to help create spaces that differentiate from our competitors by giving that at-home feeling for a better guest experience. The appeal has not changed due to the circumstances of today. There’s already been a trend towards more specification of hard surfaces and especially LVT in hospitality, where it’s moving from public areas into guest rooms and bathrooms. Given that movement, we expect usage to accelerate when travel and mobility are restored. It’s an opportunity for flooring manufacturers to spotlight the relevant benefits of their products, setting the stage for architects and designers to specify accordingly when the market rebounds. 

Now that we have time to reflect on the future, we need to consider how COVID-19 will change the way that hoteliers will need to operate their facilities. Collectively as a society, we’ve become much more aware of how germs and illness spread – and that includes hotel guests. LVT and other hard surface flooring’s big strengths in a post-COVID world are easy maintenance/cleanability and hygiene. Hospitality A & D specifiers need to look at LVT with new eyes for these reasons.

Short-term, we may discover that now is an excellent time for hotels to renovate to meet demand when the economy rebounds. With very low occupancy and most restaurants/bars closed, it’s much easier to make upgrades without disruption and be poised for welcoming guests back in the future. So now is a good time to target those projects with the maintenance/hygiene message.

The need for product sustainability and transparency will increase given the current focus on the role of the built environment’s effect on the physical and mental health of inhabitants/ workers and become more important than ever. Aspecta is one of the best-certified products in the flooring marketplace with our Environmental Product Declarations, Health Product Declarations and Declare labels. Given that downtime is a good time to expand our horizons, we find that more architects and designers are taking Aspecta’s CEU “Biophilic Design & Resilient flooring” (available at AEC Daily). This course provides an overview of the basic principles of Biophilic design and how resilient flooring specifications can support its expression in commercial design projects. Given that Biophilia defines aspects of nature that most impact and advance occupants’ health, fitness, and wellbeing, biophilic design is more relevant than ever before – and an important selling point.

Let’s be ready for when hotels, restaurants and shops reopen their doors by more broadly defining the role and contribution of flooring in a post-COVID world.