Technology and Sustainability in Hotels

8 min read
Technology and Sustainability in Hotels — Photo by Shiji

Hotels are increasingly turning to technology as a powerful ally in the quest for sustainability. Today’s technology enables hotels to implement eco-friendly practices that reduce their environmental footprint and are cost-effective. By leveraging smart systems for energy management, water conservation, and waste reduction, hotels can meet the growing expectations of today’s environmentally conscious travellers while enhancing their bottom line. Integrating technology and sustainability is no longer a mere option but a necessity for hotels aiming to thrive in a competitive and responsible tourism industry.

Demand for Sustainable Tourism

The profile of global travellers has changed significantly. They seek authentic experiences and are more environmentally conscious, expecting personalised services and sustainable practices at every stage of their journey.

Consumers are making more mindful decisions when travelling, opting for eco-conscious and sustainable offerings. Many travellers are aware of the need to become more sustainable and seek information from their preferred travel resources and providers.

As travellers want to see more awareness of environmental issues from their travel and lodging providers, hotels have introduced “greener” practices over the years to meet guest expectations and show commitment to the environment.

It would not be entirely inaccurate to say that hotels were apprehensive about implementing sustainable practices and supporting technologies in the early days. Why? It required a capital investment level that had not been considered before. However, there was and is a silver lining for the operator.

The shift benefits the environment when hotels implement technology that supports their energy consumption on a use-as-needed basis. It also improves the hotel’s bottom line by reducing soaring energy costs.

Today, the need for sustainability has shifted from a “nice-to-have” to a “must-have” to manage energy costs in a rapidly changing political and environmental landscape.

Technology Enhances Sustainability

Real-Time Monitoring and Data Collection

Technology enables hotels to monitor water and energy consumption in real-time, providing valuable data to help reduce usage and costs. Sensors installed in hotel rooms provide detailed data on guests’ usage patterns. This data helps hotels identify areas where they can reduce consumption, leading to significant cost savings and environmental benefits.

Marriott International introduced an AI-driven energy management system in its hotels. The system optimises energy use by monitoring and controlling HVAC systems in real-time, thus reducing energy waste.

Hilton implemented a water management system with sensors to monitor usage and detect leaks, thereby reducing water waste and supporting sustainability efforts.

Data-Driven Decision Making

By analysing consumption data, hotels can make informed decisions about resource management. Understanding guests’ behaviour enables hotels to implement targeted strategies to reduce waste. For example, hotels can adjust heating and cooling systems based on occupancy levels, minimising energy use without compromising guest comfort.

Engaging Guests in Sustainability Efforts

Technology can engage guests in sustainability initiatives by providing real-time feedback on their consumption, making them more aware of their environmental impact. Hotels can incentivise sustainable behaviour through reward programs, encouraging guests to reduce water and energy use during their stay.

Implementing Technology in Hotels

Smart Thermostats

Implementation: Install smart thermostats in guest rooms that automatically adjust temperatures based on occupancy.

Considerations: Ensure compatibility with existing HVAC systems. Train staff on new technology and provide guests with clear instructions for use. Consider user-friendly interfaces and integration with existing hotel management systems.

Intelligent Lighting Systems

Implementation: Integrate motion sensors and smart lighting systems to control room lights based on occupancy.

Considerations: Assess the current lighting infrastructure. Plan for initial setup costs and potential disruptions during installation. Communicate benefits to guests to ensure acceptance. Ensure interoperability with the hotel’s existing electrical systems.

Water Usage Monitoring

Implementation: Deploy IoT-enabled water meters to track and monitor guests’ water usage in real time.

Considerations: Identify key areas where water usage is highest. Plan for ongoing maintenance and calibration of sensors. Use collected data to educate guests on water conservation. Ensure the system is scalable to cover all areas of the hotel, including kitchens, laundries, and guest rooms.

Energy Management Systems

Implementation: Adopt comprehensive energy management systems integrating data from various IoT devices to optimise overall energy usage.

Considerations: Choose a scalable system that can grow with the hotel’s needs. Ensure seamless integration with existing property management systems. Review data regularly to make continuous improvements. Train staff on interpreting and using data to make energy-saving decisions.

Important Considerations for Hotel IT Directors

Procurement

  1. Vendor Selection: When selecting vendors, opt for those with proven success in hospitality IoT solutions. Check references and case studies to ensure they meet your needs.
  2. Scalability: Ensure the technology can scale with your hotel’s growth and evolving needs.
  3. Compatibility: Verify that incoming IoT devices are compatible with existing systems and infrastructure.
  4. Security: Ensure IoT solutions have robust security measures to protect guest data and hotel operations.

Installation

  1. Integration: Plan for seamless integration with existing hotel management systems, such as PMS (Property Management System) and BMS (Building Management System).
  2. Minimal Disruption: Schedule installation during low occupancy periods to minimise disruption to guests.
  3. Testing: Conduct thorough testing of all systems before full deployment to ensure they work as intended.

Training

  1. Staff Training: Provide comprehensive training for staff on managing IoT systems. This should include hands-on workshops, detailed manuals, and ongoing support to ensure staff are confident and competent in using the new technology.
  2. Guest Instructions: Create clear, easy-to-understand instructions for guests interacting with IoT-enabled features.
  3. Ongoing Support: Establish a support system for ongoing maintenance and troubleshooting.

Maximising ROI

  1. Monitor Usage: Continuously monitor system performance and usage to identify areas for further savings.
  2. Guest Feedback: Use surveys and direct feedback mechanisms to gather guest opinions. Analysing this feedback helps refine and enhance usability, ensuring issues are identified early and improving guest satisfaction.
  3. Energy Audits: Conduct regular energy audits to measure IoT systems’ impact and identify additional efficiency opportunities.
  4. Incentives: Use guest incentives, such as loyalty points or discounts, to encourage sustainable behaviour and maximise the benefits of IoT investments.

Takeaways

Conclusion

Adopting technology that supports sustainability is a powerful strategy for hotels. By monitoring consumption, analysing data, and engaging guests, hotels can significantly reduce their environmental impact and operational costs. Embracing these technologies meets the demands of eco-conscious travellers and builds their trust. Sustainable practices are essential for efficiency, resource conservation, and guest loyalty. By prioritising sustainability and adopting innovative technologies, hotels can meet modern travellers’ expectations, manage energy costs effectively, and contribute to a healthier planet.

About Shiji Group

Shiji is a multi-national technology company that provides software solutions and services for enterprise companies in the hospitality, food service, retail and entertainment industries, ranging from hospitality technology platform, hotel property management solutions, food and beverage and retail systems, payment gateways, data management, online distribution and more. Founded in 1998 as a network solutions provider for hotels, Shiji Group today comprises over 5,000 employees in 80+ subsidiaries and brands in over 31 countries, serving more than 91,000 hotels, 200,000 restaurants and 600,000 retail outlets. For more information, visit www.shijigroup.com.

Environment & Sustainability Information Technology

Shiji

Berlin10405
Germany

www.shijigroup.com

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