Implementing a Water Conservation Program at Your Hotel

By Russ Horner Co-founder, Water Management, Inc. | March 10, 2013

In the last 30 years, water and sewer rates have increased faster than even the cost of oil. The typical busy hotel manager and engineer has an overflowing plate and now they must add the management and reduction of water and waste water costs. In this article, we will look at:

  • The rising cost of water bills
  • Water use benchmarks for hotels
  • Getting started, and
  • An introduction to new national codes, standards and rating systems that will impact hotel operations.

Future articles will drill down into actual ways to reduce water use, techniques to calculate payback, and ways to make water efficiency work for them.

Rising Costs

Silently, almost out of notice, water and wastewater costs have been skyrocketing. As the following graph shows, water and wastewater rates nationally have risen even faster than oil over the last thirty years, and based on recent trends, this increase is not slowing down. Many hotel managers are finding that becoming more water efficient is a very effective way to improve their bottom line.

According to the Earth Policy Institute, between 2002 and 2007, municipal water rates increased an average of 27 percent in the United States, 32 percent in the United Kingdom, 45 percent in Australia, 50 percent in South Africa, and 58 percent in Canada. This is a worldwide trend.

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Coming up in January 2019...

Mobile Technology: The Future is Now

Mobile Technology continues to advance at a relentless pace and the hotel industry continues to adapt. Hotel guests have shown a strong preference for mobile self-service - from checking-in/out at a hotel kiosk, to ordering room service, making dinner reservations, booking spa treatments, and managing laundry/dry cleaning services. And they also enjoy the convenience of paying for these services with smart phone mobile payments. In addition, some hotels have adopted a “concierge in your pocket” concept. Through a proprietary hotel app, guests can access useful information such as local entertainment venues, tourist attractions, event calendars, and medical facilities and services. In-room entertainment continues to be a key factor, as guests insist on the capacity to plug in their own mobile devices to customize their entertainment choices. Mobile technology also allows for greater marketing opportunities. For example, many hotels have adopted the use of “push notifications” - sending promotions, discounts and special event messages to guests based on their property location, purchase history, profiles, etc. Near field communication (NFC) technology is also being utilized to support applications such as opening room doors, earning loyalty points, renting a bike, accessing a rental car, and more. Finally, some hotels have adopted more futuristic technology. Robots are in use that have the ability to move between floors to deliver room service requests for all kinds of items - food, beverages, towels, toothbrushes, chargers and snacks. And infrared scanners are being used by housekeeping staff that can detect body heat within a room, alerting staff that the room is occupied and they should come back at a later time. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in this exciting mobile technology space.