Breathing Easier About Energy Efficiency

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

In working with national lodging chains, I know that improving energy efficiency has long been a focus of the industry. Efforts have included simple measures, such as reminding guests to turn off lights, to more complex efforts, such as installing high-tech energy management systems and innovative heating and cooling systems.

These efficiency actions have paid off in greater profitability. Energy typically accounts for three to five percent of a hotel's total operating expenses. The money saved through energy-efficiency has created more money to spend on guest amenities, on staff salary increases, or on other vital areas.

What you may not know is that your energy-efficiency actions, and those by other businesses and consumers across the country, are part of the reason why the nation's air quality has been improving. A new report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency shows that overall air emissions nationwide have dropped by more than 50 percent since the Clean Air Act was adopted in 1970

What is even more remarkable is that as our air has become healthier in the past 35 years, our population has grown by 39 percent, our energy consumption has increased by 45 percent, the Gross Domestic Product has risen by 176 percent, and the number of vehicle miles traveled has jumped by 155 percent.

This environmental progress creates an opportunity for you: Take credit for it. Promote the connection between encouraging your guests to use natural resources more wisely and the nation's improving air quality.

A national survey by EEI shows that Americans overwhelmingly believe pollution is the most important environmental issue facing the country today. And a clear majority (65 percent) of Americans feels that the current air quality in America is worse than it was 30 years ago. Half of all Americans also say they are pessimistic about future air quality. Pointing out the connection between their conservation efforts and the nation's healthier air can encourage more conservation efforts, which will further help the air and your energy bills. This is important because there is always room to do more.

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Coming up in February 2019...

Social Media: Getting Personal

There Social media platforms have revolutionized the hotel industry. Popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Tumblr now account for 2.3 billion active users, and this phenomenon has forever transformed how businesses interact with consumers. Given that social media allows for two-way communication between businesses and consumers, the emphasis of any marketing strategy must be to positively and personally engage the customer, and there are innumerable ways to accomplish that goal. One popular strategy is to encourage hotel guests to create their own personal content - typically videos and photos -which can be shared via their personal social media networks, reaching a sizeable audience. In addition, geo-locational tags and brand hashtags can be embedded in such posts which allow them to be found via metadata searches, substantially enlarging their scope. Influencer marketing is another prevalent social media strategy. Some hotels are paying popular social media stars and bloggers to endorse their brand on social media platforms. These kinds of endorsements generally elicit a strong response because the influencers are perceived as being trustworthy by their followers, and because an influencer's followers are likely to share similar psychographic and demographic traits. Travel review sites have also become vitally important in reputation management. Travelers consistently use social media to express pleasure or frustration about their guest experiences, so it is essential that every review be attended to personally. Assuming the responsibility to address and correct customer service concerns quickly is a way to mitigate complaints and to build brand loyalty. Plus, whether reviews are favorable or unfavorable, they are a vital source of information to managers about a hotel's operational performance.  The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to effectively incorporate social media strategies into their businesses.