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Striking a balance

Hotel Business 22 July 2015
Striking a balance

How easy is it to strike a balance between customer satisfaction and sustainable practices?

For high end hotels customer satisfaction is guaranteed. It is a non-negotiable factor – those paying top price expect top quality service from the moment they walk through the door to the moment they leave. This isn’t just friendly and helpful staff, high quality food, or the finest fittings and furnishings however. Top quality service incorporates every aspect of a stay including those aspects that guests don’t usually consider when searching for a hotel – or are even listed on hotel websites.

This includes things like room temperature, adequate lighting, water temperature – factors of a hotel stay that guests probably don’t even notice, that is until they go wrong or prevent a guest’s stay from being enjoyable.

For high end hotels, be they individual boutiques or large luxury chains, reducing energy consumption is not just a matter of making sure operational costs don’t spiral. Increasingly, it is also a matter of social responsibility, particularly for those large chains that are under public scrutiny. It is clear that striking a balance between customer satisfaction and reducing energy consumption through the adoption of a more eco-friendly operation is of the utmost importance. What is the best way to go about this?

As with many other industries, new technology systems are providing the answer. Through the implementation of Building Management Systems, Property Management Systems, Guest Room Controls and Energy Monitoring Systems, hotels can monitor and gather data enabling them to make day-to-day operations decisions based on quantitative analysis that reduces their overall energy consumption but doesn’t impact on guest experience.

These systems monitor and control everything – from the fridges and freezers in the kitchen to the boilers in the basement. They work by optimising all energy consuming operations, striking a balance between minimising energy consumption but maintaining levels of lighting, heating, cooling and water temperature to keep guests happy. This of course is a simplified explanation, however these monitoring systems perform a multitude of functions including detecting breakdowns and wear-out, reducing energy leaks, identifying inefficiencies and integrating all information with wider business systems and information such as annual energy cost forecasts, operational deviation reports and reservation information.

What is essential to the success of this is the coupling of monitoring and control with data analytics capabilities. Without this, hotel operators and managers can quickly find themselves in a “data rich but information poor” situation. Having reams of data on aspects such as individual room temperatures, lighting level and the like are of no use unless they are analysed to identify patterns – insights which can then be used to make operational decisions to the benefit of reduced energy consumption and guest satisfaction.

While the adoption of such technology systems can sound complicated and daunting, particularly for individual hotels rather than larger chains, it is reassuring to know that the advent of cloud technology and high speed internet connections means that much of this can be outsourced to a service provider – meaning hotels can concentrate on what they do best – providing outstanding customer service to their guests.


Industry Insight by Ankur Thareja, Senior Consultant for Energy Solutions, Wipro EcoEnergy, and Thanakarthik Kumar Karuppasamy, Consultant for Energy Solutions, Wipro EcoEnergy.