Tundra Lodge Tackles Declining Guest Occupancy
In September 2003, the legendary Lambeau Field – home of the famed NFL Green Bay Packers completed a $297 million renovation. Originally built in 1957, the completely updated sports venue has had a very positive effect on all businesses in the immediate surrounding area. One such beneficiary was the brand new Tundra Lodge Resort. Recently completed and only four blocks down Lombardi Avenue, the two grand openings mutually welcomed visitors to the revitalized stadium district.
The 161 unit, all suite, rustic themed Tundra Lodge is a unique and spectacular property in its own right. The lodge features a 45-foot stone fireplace to warm the chilly football season nights, a conference center for tech-savvy business travelers and corporate meetings, a family-friendly arcade, gift shops, candy store, restaurants and a year-round indoor water park filled with slides, rides and pools-of-fun for all.
Perfectly situated to welcome the loyal Green and Gold fans – many who repeatedly travel long distances to attend games – the Tundra Lodge was ready for a big kick-off in every respect. All went extremely well at first – with only partial occupancy – but as the Lodge began to fill, noise problems began to surface.
The Unseen Penalty: Sound and Noise
At first, it was only an occasional complaint about ambient noise coming from adjacent rooms. Then, what began as a trickle of complaints suddenly swelled into an avalanche of unhappy guests that complained, threatened checking out and often demanded refunds.
“It cost our property a lot of discounted rooms and certificates for people to give us another try,” said Tundra’s Managing Director of Engineering, Melanie Novinska. “The sound transfer from one guest room to another was not acceptable. Of course, when you first open any hotel property, business is slow. You don’t find the problems until you’re selling lots of rooms and guests are right next to each other.”
Back Into a Huddle
The original architect and builder specified resilient channel, claiming the decoupled assemblies would deliver an estimated STC (Sound Transmission Class) rating of about 50. However, the assemblies were subject to compound issues that caused the resilient channel to “short-circuit” – resulting in a severe decline of STC performance. In reality, the best performing walls came in at only 37 and the worst were an STC rating of 34 – only a point or two above standard assemblies using common 5/8-inch type X drywall.
Guest reviews, both online and word-of-mouth, can influence stay rates on a grand scale. Novinska estimated the sound isolation issues of the original construction were causing 40% to 50% percent of normal, repeat business to simply disappear.
Without a knowledgeable architect or builder who was well versed in architectural acoustics, Novinska felt she had no choice but to educate herself. “I found QuietRock online and requested information and a sample. Then, we put together a solution to fix the problem using QuietRock,” she notes.
After receiving third-party validation about the QuietRock solution from Patrick McCormick of Brandner Engineering, contractor H.J. Martin began removing the original drywall and completely emptying and tearing down each of the 161 rooms, one suite at a time.
An electrician moved back-to-back outlets to offset positions and insulation was installed where needed. Then came drywall screw mounting of QuietRock followed with tape, cosmetic texture and new paint. “We were able to complete about six to eight rooms every five days,” Novinska recalls.
“Before QuietRock, sound transmission was really bad,” notes H.J. Martin drywall installer Jay Hussong. “You could hear conversations right through the walls. After QuietRock was installed, we measured the rooms at STC 50 or better. You could really hear (or not hear) the difference.”
“All noise complaints ended,” states Novinska. “The difference was amazing and occupancy rates went up. QuietRock was the perfect solution.”
“Start with QuietRock instead of resilient channel and properly position your outlets and any other openings on back-to-back guestrooms, and you’ll get quiet rooms,” she adds.
Novinska’s final advice: “Also hire a builder who knows about isolating sound.”
*All certifications and testing mentioned in this case study are based on standards, test reports and certification criteria at the time the project was constructed.