Steps to Leveraging Utility Bill Data to Better Understand Your Energy Spend
By Jim Poad Director of Client Solutions, Advantage IQ | March 07, 2010
There isn't a single industry that has escaped this economic downturn. In the lodging sector, reduced business travel and cut backs on vacationing have made their mark on occupancy rates across the country. In December of 2009, Ray Cirz, chief executive of appraisal firm Integra Realty Resources, reported that the hotel occupancy rate in Manhattan fell to 75 percent for the first time since 2004. Room rates at the time were down 25 percent from the year before. It's a scenario that's been replicated in every market; with reservations down, slash rates to fill rooms. The danger of that practice? It still costs just as much to have a room occupied, unless you take steps to reduce operating expenses. So that's what many are doing - finding ways to make filling a bed less expensive.
Without a doubt, the most significant line item under a hotel's operating cost umbrella is energy. Lighting, cooling, heating, and supplying water to a hotel and its guests is pricey. Therefore, it's the smartest place to look for savings. But it's impossible to reduce energy spend without first understanding your consumption. That's where the power of the utility bill comes into play.
Utility billing is a goldmine in terms of savings opportunities, especially for multi-site businesses with numerous locations to manage. The number of errors that can be made on the side of the utility provider is shocking. Whether they're charging the wrong rates, misreading the meter, or billing past the shut-off date at vacant units, there are many ways that money can slip through the cracks without anyone ever noticing. The following are best practices for leveraging your utility bill information to better understand your energy spend.
Need a Partner?
Many hotel operators enlist the help of a trained professional to find billing errors and recover lost cash. A utility bill audit, performed by an expert from an expense management firm, is a great way to put an end to needless spending. Expense managers with expertise in utility bill audits are a worthy investment, as they have the knowledge and experience to identify errors, and the resources to process the vast amount of data accrued during the bill payment process.
The Reconnaissance Mission