Plan Your Way to Long-Term Energy Cost Savings

By Steve Kiesner Director of National Accounts, Edison Electric Institute | May 04, 2010

Last winter's high natural gas prices may make seem like a distant memory now, but you should think about your hotel's energy use as a regular and year-round cost to control, just like all your other variable costs. Every dollar you save on energy will go straight to the bottom line, giving you more resources for use elsewhere.

The U.S. lodging industry today spends close to $4 billion on energy every year. If hotels could improve their energy performance by an average of 30 percent, the hotel industry's annual electricity bill savings alone would be nearly $1.5 billion, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This would represent a savings of approximately $365 per available room night per year for every hotel room in the country.

But where do you start? An excellent local resource to guide you is your electric utility company. They can help, often for little or no cost. Your utility representative will likely have historical data about energy use in your business. The local electric can be also help you with answers about electric utility incentive programs, discount electricity rates, energy-efficient equipment, or any other energy-related question. Call them or visit their Website. For a list of energy assistance programs around the country, use this link:

http://www.eei.org/industry_issues/retail_services_and_delivery/wise_energy_use/programs_and_incentives/progs.pdf

To begin taking charge of your energy use, start by making a plan. Edison Electric Institute, on behalf of the nation's electric utility companies, offers you the following steps to help you plan how to get the most use from every energy dollar.

You must first build a team. Generally, you will need representatives from management or administration. Top-level commitment is paramount. Pull the team together for a planning session and start laying the groundwork. The team will need to define success with goals that are realistic. Is saying you want to save 10 percent over two years possible? What is the base you will measure against? How and when will the measurement be made?

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.