Shoring up hotel windows to drown out noise a smart move

Soundproof Windows

Few things ruin a hotel guest's stay like noise. Make no mistake: Constant commotion and racket will see to it that a guest is not a return guest. Worse, disgruntled guests will make sure their hardship is blasted on social media so others don't make the same mistake. All a recipe for disaster for the hotel in question.

Problem is, noise—particularly from exterior elements, such as traffic and rail—is a tough nut to crack. It can also be an expensive one. Turns out, it doesn't have to be.

When a hotel changes hands, triggering a PIP, overcoming the noise challenge can be achieved without having to change out every window—something that is time consuming and costly.

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One trick is to soundproof windows, something the likes of companies like Soundproof Windows can do.

Success Story

At the Residence Inn Sandestin at Grand Boulevard, in Miramar Beach, Fla., guests often complained about road noise emanating from a busy street and highway. The hotel had high marks in other service categories, but, "I couldn’t get a good night’s sleep,” was ubiquitous in customer social-media posts.

According to Tania Koehler, director of hotel operations for Howard Hospitality, which manages the  property., about 74 percent of the negative comments the hotel received through online review sites, like TripAdvisor, also mentioned the noise as “extremely high.”  

Residence Inn Sandestin at Grand Boulevard
Traffic emanating from Grand Boulevard hampered the hotel.

The hotel did some homework and found out that some 90 percent of noise comes through windows, not walls. They mulled the idea of installing dual-pane windows, which deter heat and cold, but don't do as well against blocking noise.

Instead, they came up with adding a second, inner-soundproofing window. The hotel installed 176 special inner windows along the front of the property. “It was pretty amazing. The change was night and day,” Koehler said, adding that the proof was in the pudding. In 2014, Residence Inn Sandestin at Grand Boulevard was ranked 74th among 687 Residence Inn hotels nationwide. In 2015, after the installation, the ranking jumped to 14th.

Sounds Tips

1) Sound Transmission Class (STC.) The higher the number, the more noise is stopped. A typical rating for standard windows is 26 to 28.

2) Buyer beware. Some manufacturers provide an STC rating only for the glass they use, not including the window frames. This can be deceptive because successful noise reduction is based on factors such as the seals, the air gap between the windows, and the acoustic design of the window frames.

3) For historic hotels, exterior design often cannot be tampered with, so swapping out old windows for new is rarely approved, making them ideal for installing inner windows.

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