How Sustainability Enhances the Guest's Aesthetic Experience; Implications for the Spa Industry
By Arthur Weissman President and CEO, Green Seal, Inc. | October 28, 2008
A Really Brief Primer on Aesthetics
First, let's talk a bit about what aesthetics is and how it relates to staying in a lodging property or going to a spa. At its most basic, aesthetics deals with the processing of sensory information in terms of beauty, enjoyment, or artistic sensibility. Aesthetics thus concerns how we perceive our environment in more than simply utilitarian terms. When we enjoy food because it does more than sate our appetite, or feel pleasure at being in a built space because of its appearance or ambience and not just because it puts a roof over our head, we are experiencing our environment aesthetically and could analyze the aesthetic response accordingly.
For a lodging or spa guest, there are clear and important parallels to the above examples in how they experience your property. The exterior of the property, the lobby, the restaurant, and - most important - the guest room should be pleasing in appearance, clean, pleasant to the touch, and odor-free. Unsightly objects, harsh noises, unpleasant sensations, and strong odors or unsavory tastes can severely compromise guest satisfaction from the start and earn your property or chain an irrevocably bad reputation. Put in these terms, the value of aesthetics for guest satisfaction is obvious and of paramount importance, probably even more than the service you provide.
Cleaners and Furnishings
Odor is a powerful sense, and what one smells upon entering a lobby or guest room can shape a guest's entire experience. The products used in cleaning the property, particularly the guest room, may linger long after the room attendant leaves. Many institutional cleaners have strong fragrances, and some of these fragrances may actually be harmful chemicals.
Ideally, cleaning products should not need any fragrances, which are traditionally used to convey a "fresh" odor to a space. Sometimes the active ingredients have unpleasant odors that must be masked, but usually it is customer demand that requires pine odor or some other fragrance as evidence of cleanliness. While Green Seal does not prohibit fragrances in the products it certifies, it does require that fragrances meet all health and environmental criteria of its standards. By using products that meet these standards, you can be sure that the cleaning products will at least be as healthful as they smell.