Eco-Friendly Practices
Steve Kiesner
  • Eco-Friendly Practices
  • Hotels Need to Act to Secure Our Energy Future
  • For the lodging industry, energy conservation is a well-recognized element in lowering costs. With energy typically accounting for three to five percent of a hotel's total operating expenses, getting the most value out of every energy dollar can improve profitability. A comprehensive plan can lower energy use by up to 20 percent. America's electric companies encourage you to explore new ways to use energy more wisely. Power companies are promoting the wise use of electricity because it benefits hotels and all their customers. They are also doing so because it helps electric generating plants and transmission wires to operate more effectively. This can improve the reliability of electricity supplies, especially during peak electricity demand periods such as the summertime. Encouraging the efficient use of electricity also helps the power company to conserve natural resources and protect the environment. Many energy-saving measures cost little or nothing. But the returns could surprise you. Here are some easy-to-implement tips that can be put in use today... Read on...

Tyler Tatum
  • Eco-Friendly Practices
  • Cleaning Your HVAC System Can Equate to Big Savings
  • I found a little secret about energy cost in your hotel rooms. Did you know that 30% of the energy cost in your property is used by your HVAC units? Did you know that you could reduce the energy consumption of your HVAC unit just be keeping it clean? Once clean, your guest complaints will go to zero, and you will be shocked at how many guests show up at your property. You may ask why I am so excited about this idea. First, I hate that moldy smell that hits me as I walk into the majority of the hotel rooms I have visited. Second, I am all for any idea that has a 6-month ROI on energy savings alone. Third, this solution cuts down severely on the amount of perfumes and chemicals used in the room. Read on...

Steve Kiesner
  • Eco-Friendly Practices
  • National Energy Bill Vital for America's Future
  • Electricity is there when you need it. And it has been this way for almost one hundred and twenty-five years, since Thomas Alva Edison developed the first practical electric light bulb and set off a revolution that changed virtually everything in our society. But electricity, and indeed all energy, is something we can't take for granted. Although most people think about electricity only when they flip on the light switch, the U.S. electric system consists of a massive, interconnected network of generating plants, transmission lines, and distribution facilities. Energy legislation is needed now to reinforce electric reliability, foster more efficient, competitive electric power markets, promote fuel diversity, and expand our energy supplies and production. At the same time, a national energy bill needs to stress efficiency and the wise use of existing resources. With electricity consumption expected to increase 49 percent between today and 2025, these supply and demand measures are the best long-term solutions for our energy future. Read on...

Jeff Slye
  • Eco-Friendly Practices
  • The Greening of Kimpton Hotels: Five Valuable Lessons
  • We all know that when it comes to setting the style standards for hospitality, boutique hotels are among the industry's most formidable trendsetters. Often, Kimpton Hotels have led the pack with innovative design and unique programs such as in-room yoga, tall rooms, and goldfish to keep the guest company. In 2005, they decided to make one statement that will never go out of style - green is the new black. Read on...

Steve Kiesner
  • Eco-Friendly Practices
  • Ten Quick Ways to Improve Your Hotel's Energy Efficiency
  • In the short term, using natural gas and electricity more efficiently is vital. For the lodging industry, energy conservation is a well-recognized element in lowering costs. On average, America's 47,000 hotels spend $2,196 per available room each year on energy, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). There are also a number of quick and easy steps your company can take right now to step up its control over energy use. These are probably already second nature to you, but here are 10 no- or low-cost ideas to start saving energy today: Read on...

Jim Poad
  • Eco-Friendly Practices
  • Evaluate Energy Expenses to Survive Today's Economy
  • For obvious reasons, cost cutting is at the top of every business owner's to-do list. Surprisingly, energy expenses are often overlooked as operating costs are evaluated for their impact on a company's bottom line. Energy expenses can be a controllable cost when consumption behaviors are evaluated. According to ENERGY STARR, typical energy expenses account for more than 6 percent of a hotel's total operating costs. These costs have increased approximately 25 percent from 2004 to 2008. By investigating procurement options, analyzing a history of utility invoices, exploring what rates you should be paying, and implementing green energy practices, operators can drive down utility costs without negatively impacting the comfort of their hotels or quality of the guest accommodations. Read on...

Arthur Weissman
  • Eco-Friendly Practices
  • How Sustainability Can Contribute to Your Community's Economic Vitality
  • Almost every property is a part of the community around it. As such, it affects the community's economic condition in some way. In this article, we explore the ways in which a sustainable lodging property can positively affect the community's economic vitality. We will discuss this from the following perspectives: the property's environmental footprint; the property's effect on the health of its workers; the property as community leader or model; the property as educator; the property as donor; and the property as a magnet for business. Read on...

Steve Kiesner
  • Eco-Friendly Practices
  • Put the Chill on Energy Bills This Winter
  • You know that getting more value from your energy dollar is always important. This winter it will be imperative. According to the latest Short Term Energy Outlook from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the price of natural gas, heating oil and propane will all be higher this winter. The EIA predicts natural gas prices, for example, to rise by 50 percent, on average, compared with last year. Even if your company has locked in lower prices through long-term fuel contracts, you still should be making sure you are doing everything you can to get the most value from your energy dollar. The lodging industry spends over $5.5 billion per year on energy. That is a lot room for potential savings. And greater profitability. Read on...

Jim Poad
  • Eco-Friendly Practices
  • Energy Management for the Little Guy
  • Small hotel franchisees and independent hotel operators concerns are the same as larger chains, in that they must pay employees, stock inventory, buy furnishings, and deal with heads-to-beds issues. Also like larger hotels, smaller operators have little time to manage the costs of the one thing hotels couldn't be without: utilities. But unlike larger establishments, they often don't have the capital to spend on full-service solutions that manage utility expenditures. That's about to change. Some energy management companies are providing a solution that gets smaller operators in on the ground floor of energy management. In fact it's so easy to use, all they need is a fax machine or a scanner. Read on...

Jim Poad
  • Eco-Friendly Practices
  • Tracking Your Utility Expenditure Back to 'Heads to Beds' for Benchmarking
  • Many hotel operators calculate their energy usage in a vacuum. The singular focus on achieving the highest possible 'heads-to-beds' rate leaves little time for tracking energy usage. Some hotel managers commit to tracking this data but without the thorough understanding of how these usage rates vary across multiple site locations. Others have no idea how their rates compare to those of competitors in the hotel marketplace. This offers little insight into what their organization is doing well, or, more importantly, where they can improve. The result: Exorbitant energy costs negatively offset the profits from strong heads-to-beds rates, leaving operators to wonder where they went wrong. And if they don't figure it out soon, their business-and their bottom line-will pay. Literally. Read on...

Jim Poad
  • Eco-Friendly Practices
  • Compiling Utility Data to Make Capital Spending Decisions
  • The "No Vacancy" sign is the hotel operator's best friend. No matter where it's shining-from the top of Maine to the tip of Florida; from the Hudson River to the Grand Canyon; or from the Seattle Space Needle to the San Diego Zoo - the neon light signals a strong industry. It also indicates a stable economy. The more rooms that are booked means more cars on the road, and more people traveling on planes and trains. And it means restaurants, shops, and amusement centers packed full with visitors. But there's an underlying component that, if not addressed, can limit an operator's end profit. A crucial element here is energy costs. Read on...

Jim Poad
  • Eco-Friendly Practices
  • Pool Your Resources: Save Electricity
  • When you consider the number of washers, dryers, vacuums, lighting fixtures, elevators, and other electronic devices needed to run a hotel, it's no wonder electric bills have become a towering expense for operators. Indeed, the hotel industry uses 69 billion kilowatts of electricity a year, at a cost of $5.3 billion annually, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, making it one of the highest expenditures for hotel franchisees. It's also one of the most overlooked expenses of running a hotel. Hotel operators are most concerned with buying amenities that ensure a pleasant stay for their customers, and increase return business. They excel at purchasing appliances, wall decor, furniture, carpeting, even restaurant equipment. But when tasked with finding the best rate for their electric needs, since it doesn't directly affect the customer experience, the job tends to fall to the wayside. Read on...

JANUARY: Mobile Technology: A Permanent Sense of Immediacy

Alastair Cush

A growing number of properties are implementing mobile access guest room locking systems and the apps that support them. Many chain standards mandate mobile access and independents are joining the trend. What few operators understand is that mobile access implementation has changed not only every aspect of hotel door locks but also many other areas of hospitality operations. More people are actively involved in the decision making process for hotel locks than before. Mobile access has integrated the lock process with numerous property and chain departments from sales to guest loyalty and brand marketing. The original purpose of improving guest door locks was exclusively loss prevention and security. Read on...

Jim Vandevender

Meeting data and technology have evolved considerably since the days of the bulky ,expensive mail ordered meeting planner guides and hotel catalogues. The ways in which hotels find and book groups is far different than the antiquated methods of not so long ago. As better technology surrounding meetings and events becomes available , hotels appetites for group business seems to also increase at a parallel pace making the need to keep the related technology evolving even more paramount. The companies that provide hotels with this meeting intelligence are continually developing new and more advanced methods of gathering this sought after data to keep up pace with the demand. Read on...

Dave Weinstein

As with so many industries, the smartphone has transformed how organizations interact with their customers. Look at the automotive industry, the airline industry, and of course, the hospitality industry. You start your car’s engine and set the climate control to the desired temperature, buy airline tickets and check-in on your flight and do the same with your hotel room, all from your phone. There is a slew of services that traditionally are offered by hotels via the “book” on the desk. The book is still there, but some hotels allow you to order via the television while others offer integrated tablets. Read on...

Kacey Butcher

Can you imagine your bank choosing not to provide a way to check account status and transactions outside of your monthly paper statement? Can you further imagine a popular franchise restaurant only having paper take-out menus? You would be forced to contemplate what other aspects internally within the organization would make doing business with them complicated and archaic. There you find your own personal underlying immediate expectation of baseline service and operational procedures, where a decision is often made instantly to move onto the next provider. A decision to choose another provider that seemingly knows how to service customers with the utmost up-to-date standards. Read on...

Coming Up In The February Online Hotel Business Review




Feature Focus
Social Media: Interacting with the Hotel Customer
Consider these astonishing numbers: 1.49 billion active monthly Facebook users. 1.1 billion active monthly YouTube users. 320 million active monthly Twitter users and nearly 400 million registered users on LinkedIn. 400 million active monthly Instagram users and 200 million active Google+ users. The power and reach of social media is an awesome force and it has transformed how hotels interact with their customers. In the past year, social media advertising spending increased 33.5% to nearly $24 billion dollars. Social networks are being utilized by hotels to reach more visitors, expand brand awareness, enhance brand reputation and to establish more direct and personal communication with their customers. Savvy hotel operators are adopting a comprehensive social media strategy, and there are several emerging trends to note. Video continues to be a powerful and influential element in social media marketing, with 70% of companies saying that it is their most effective marketing tool. Video generates a 62% higher engagement rate than photographs alone, and with new social sites like Meerkat and Periscope which offer live video streaming, those numbers will only increase. Sponsored content is another growing trend. Though advertorials have been around for decades, hotels are finding new ways to maximize the visibility of their content. Some are placing sponsored content on Facebook, or on influencer blogs. Another trend is the integration of a “Buy Now” button into social media websites. Customers will be able to make purchases without ever having to leave their favorite social sites. This development is a major convenience for customers and should also be an additional revenue source for hotels. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.