In the hotel industry, becoming green has been a top priority for many years. However, hotel owners seem afraid to spend the capital to do so. Energy is the most significant cost a Hotelier can move the needle in behind labour. Hotel owners and operators must start understanding utility usage to make the best decisions for their guests and their bottom line. So, what do you need to do?
Understand: Make sure you start reviewing AND understanding your energy bills every month. What are your electricity, natural gas, water, and waste management trends? Are some of these bills the same every month? Do some of these bills vary with occupancy? Are you seeing spontaneous jumps that do not make sense? The list of questions goes on. Hoteliers need to understand their specific buildings, their operations and how they differ from other properties they may own. Is your heat electric or gas? Are you using real dinnerware or disposable? Is water pressure naturally higher in one city compared to the other? With so much to review, you can start seeing where knowledge can lead to money-saving decisions.
Research: Start looking into your energy bills and see if you have any control over the costs. In specific markets, electricity and gas are unregulated. This means you can lock into electricity costs with different providers to add peace of mind to your energy bills. However, if you are not very familiar with this side of the business, you should not do this on your own. Some companies can provide guidance on these decisions. Feel free to ask us, and we can point you in the right direction. A hotel owner should also start looking into the payback of specific energy initiatives. A few obvious choices will significantly affect your bottom line, including in-room energy management systems (fancy thermostats), LED lighting and low-flow water solutions. These big three are especially obvious, but we would all be surprised how much inaction on these investments increases costs yearly.
Action: After making some changes, determine what products you invest in and keep going. Every year, more of these solutions start making economic sense.
However, don’t stop at the big three; start looking down the line. Perhaps your disposable dishes should turn to real dishes; perhaps your hot water laundry should move to cold/reduced water laundry; maybe the lighting around your hotel should be on motion detectors. Proper maintenance procedures can also cost thousands of dollars, so be sure your team knows what they are doing. As owners, we sometimes find it difficult to make energy investments because of upfront costs. Don't let this stop you, do the math! If it makes sense (2-year payback or less, possibly even 3), pull the trigger! Do not let procrastination get in the way of easy ROI. Saving tens of thousands on your utility costs yearly is good business in every way, from the bottom line to guest and employee perception.
Analyze: After you start understanding how your utilities work and you’ve made your changes, look for red flags. Is your waste disposal the same every month even though your occupancy isn’t? If so, you’re doing something wrong. Is your water usage going higher even though your occupancy isn’t? If so, something IS wrong. Like most things, utility usage is not a set-it-and-forget SEGEMENT of the hotel. Continual review is necessary.
You can save an absolute ton in your operations from smart utility decisions. Feel free to contact us directly so we can share more in-depth changes you can make to your hotel operations.