Water Benchmarking: Is it Important to Your Hotel?
The benefit of developing an indicator for how your hotel compares to global indices
By Russ Horner Co-founder, Water Management, Inc. | January 13, 2013
When organizations want to improve their performance, they benchmark. That is, they compare their performance against those of high-performing organizations worldwide.
In a recent American Water Works Association (AWWA) report, a benchmark is described as a particular (numerical) value that denotes a specific level of performance. A distinction is made between a benchmark (which indicates a current state of achievement) and a target which indicates a level of achievement expected at some time in the future.
Earlier this year the Starwood Hotel and Resort Company, which manages, franchises, or owns over 300,000 hotel rooms, set fairly aggressive targets as it relates to energy and water usage. As part of Starwood's green initiative, a 30-20-20 target goal was established – the target for each Starwood is to save 30 percent in energy and 20 percent in water by 2020. Starwood is to be applauded for this effort but do not confuse targeting with benchmarking.
Benchmarking involves measuring your current practices and comparing them against your competition in order to identify, understand, and adapt the practices that are effectively being used by your competitors. Benchmarking represents a powerful mechanism for encouraging building owners to improve hotel water performance.
Some of the benefits to water benchmarking are:
- Improves awareness of hotel water efficiency
- Identifies hotels that can benefit the most from water upgrades
- Provides a baseline for measuring improved performance
- Creates competition through comparison with like hotels
The knowledge and understanding you gain from benchmarking your water use and costs will help you make the right decisions for your hotel, no matter which type of water efficiency plan you choose to implement. Knowing which strategies will most effectively save water, and therefore deliver the best results, is critical knowledge to help managers make informed decisions. You will need a sound process for sorting out and optimizing your investments in order to achieve the greatest return on investment.