Many facilities that welcome travelers, such as hotels and airports, see a near constant level of foot traffic. While this is good for business, it can take a toll on the appearance of the facility over time, especially carpet. In addition to abuse from shoes, carpet in these facilities has to withstand the wheels of heavy rolling luggage, luggage carts and motorized carts. With so many travelers in these environments, stains from food, beverages and other sources can take a toll on the appearance of carpet. To help carpet last for years and maintain its like-new appearance, it’s essential to have a well-planned approach to carpet care in high traffic facilities.
The Comfort of Carpet
With so much activity in hotels and airports, it may seem counterintuitive to install carpet. There are several reasons why carpet is an ideal choice for flooring in these facilities. Carpet can encourage relaxation in hotel lobbies and rooms and gate areas in airports, thereby creating a “home-away-from-home” feel. Carpet is also comfortable to walk on and, if properly cared for, won’t have to be replaced for many years. This makes it a good investment, and helps limit extensive disruptions that occur when flooring needs replacing.
Some hospitality brands even work closely with carpet manufacturers to design custom carpet for their hotels. For example, Hyatt worked with Desso to create carpet inspired by local culture for its Andaz Amsterdam property. Meanwhile, some airport carpet has captured the hearts of many leisure and business travelers, such as the carpet at Portland International Airport and Nashville International Airport. One pilot has even gone viral for his Instagram account devoted to sharing the unique patterns and playful colors of carpet he encounters.
Maintenance Made Easy
Cleaning high traffic carpet doesn’t have to be a difficult process. With the right tools and a clear plan, facilities can keep spots and stains from impacting the look of carpet and reduce labor costs associated with maintenance.
Consider the below steps for high-traffic carpet cleaning:
- Vacuum daily –While vacuuming at this level may seem too frequent, consider the fact that Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport averages 275,000 passengers a day! There are many soils that can settle into carpet fibers on a daily basis and regular vacuuming can reduce build up that negatively impacts the appearance of carpet. Invest in commercial vacuums that staff will find easy to maneuver, even during busy times, and maintain to keep it in good working order.
- Limit moisture in your cleaning – Low-moisture encapsulation cleaning is an ideal method for busy facilities that want to minimize disruption or don’t have the flexibility to put up barriers during and after cleaning as the carpet dries. With this technique, employees apply a solution of crystalizing polymers and detergent components that will encapsulate soils trapped within and on top of carpet fibers. It uses a fraction of the water required by other carpet cleaning methods and carpet is dry after about 30 minutes. Conduct this type of interim maintenance regularly with a two- or three-brush machine that effectively lifts carpet pile and agitates Green Seal-certified chemistry to fully remove dirt and lingering spots.
- Clean up spots as soon as possible– Spills are inevitable, especially when hotels and airports encourage guests to purchase and enjoy food and beverages in areas with carpet. Staff should routinely conduct visual inspections for spots and address them quickly. The right spot-treating solution and tools will help keep spots from turning into stains.
- Conduct hot-water extraction – Hot-water extraction provides carpet with the deepest possible clean. However, it’s a longer and more invasive process, so consider scheduling it every year or every other year.
Understanding Traffic Patterns
While every carpeted area requires maintenance, some areas may see more foot traffic than others. For instance, in a hotel, the lobby, casino, areas near elevators and rooms will likely be spaces that need greater attention. Lesser used areas may be conference rooms and business centers as well as larger ballrooms and event spaces. At airports, gate areas need to be meticulously maintained, while less traversed terminals and lounges may be able to go longer between cleanings.
Identifying high-traffic areas is key, as it can help facilities understand which spaces need cleaning more frequently and which can fall lower on the priority list. A detailed carpet care schedule will help workers understand where to clean and when.
Whether you are responsible for facility management at a hotel, an airport or another type of hospitality business, it’s important to understand the impact that carpet has on travelers, and the role of a carpet care program. Following the above best practices for cleaning high-traffic carpet will ensure that flooring always looks its best for facility visitors.