Five Important Steps to Hotel Energy Efficiency

By James Gieselman Principal, Servidyne | April 29, 2018

If you've already implemented an energy strategy for your hotel or portfolio, go do something else. Read a book on advanced accounting methods, or go watch replays of Olympic Curling on ESPN Late Nite. But if you haven't really kicked off an energy efficiency program, read on. This is way more fun than Curling.

What do I mean by energy efficiency? Here's my quick definition: bringing a building to its best operating condition without breaking the bank. Implementing an energy efficiency policy is both easy and hard at the same time. Easy because its benefits are so compelling. Savings in energy spend go directly to your bottom line, and you've got a new-found sustainability position that can enhance your marketing effort. But initiating one can be daunting because usually it's unknown territory for most owners and managers.

Let's set this up on more familiar ground so that everyone can relate. You're feeling bad – headache, aches and pains – and it seems to be getting worse. One of those pains is your monthly heat, light and power expense on top of repairs and maintenance costs. Into those two buckets you drop probably 7 to 8 cents for every dollar of revenue you earn. That's second only to G&A as your largest unallocated expense. What to do?

Step 1. Assess your current situation

I want to say "Begin at the beginning." But that sound trite, so let me rephrase: begin at the beginning. Sorry, but there's no getting around this. Too many people and organizations have jumped headlong into an energy efficiency project without a clue as to what their goals were or even what their real problems were. If you think you've got the flu, your first action isn't to rush out and schedule surgery. No, you'd first try to ascertain the severity of the problem, for instance, setting up a physical to gauge your general health.

Your property is no different. Like you, if the hotel has a problem you should consult a doctor – a building doctor - who's studied the anatomy and physiology of building systems for years. His approach is similar to that of your own doctor: determine if the patient (your hotel) is really sick and if so what the possible treatments might be. Your doctor might run an EKG to monitor your heart function and take a blood sample to check for a host of conditions. A building doctor (energy engineer) does something similar looking for telltale signs of inefficiency. After your physical, your doctor would give you a report showing where you stood with regard to cholesterol, blood sugar, and other metrics versus the norm. Your building doctor would also report on where your property stood versus an energy norm.

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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.