Knowing Your Hotel Guests Better Will Save You Energy

The world is getting hotter, and this has resulted in an increased demand for energy efficiency. The temperature increase in the past five decades is nearly double the average seen over the previous century. While this is a concern for everyone, energy optimisation in hotels has become a particular issue for the hospitality industry.

Hoteliers in some regions are facing especially difficult circumstances. Hong Kong is experiencing a temperature increase of 0.17°C per decade since 1989. Malaysia has also seen large increases – hitting a record high of 40.1°C in the late ‘90s – and Thailand recently encountered its longest streak of hot temperatures in 65 years.

Unfortunately for hoteliers, higher temperatures may greatly exacerbate energy costs – making energy efficiency a critical issue for most.

Crank Up the A/C – And the Energy Bills

Increasing global temperatures mean increased demand for energy for space cooling. Likewise, hotels can expect to face rising costs in Heat, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) even if occupancy rates stay the same from year to year. The rise in energy costs is compounded by the widespread rollout of carbon taxes across the world, as well as rising tariffs across many countries – Singapore alone will increase its electricity tariff by 6.4% by the end of 2019.

These increases are a particular problem for energy-efficient hotels. Even those that work to decrease their carbon footprint can spend between 8-10% of their revenue on energy costs. This leaves less than a 12% profit margin. The combination of rising temperatures and increasing prices could prove greatly detrimental to any hotel’s profit margin, but fortunately, there are ways to significantly cut energy usage and cost.

Know Your Guests, and Your Hotel Will Spend Less

Research consistently shows that travellers want to spend their money on companies who work on being more resource-efficient and sustainable. Unfortunately, their behaviours don’t always sync up with their beliefs. After installing SensorFlow’s solution across Asia – such as Malaysia, Singapore, and Hong Kong – we’ve managed to uncover key insights on guest behaviour, preferences and energy usage.

The following were some of the most important findings:

Finding 1: 23°C is Comfortable for Most

Across all properties installed with SensorFlow’s solution, most guests find 22-23°C the optimal temperature. This is the most commonly used setpoint.

Finding 2: One-Third Set too Low

Even though the optimal temperature is 22-23°C, about one-third of hotel guests set the thermostat below 19°C. Since some A/Cs aren’t designed to cool a room below19°C or simply can’t achieve this due to normal wear and tear and decreasing efficiency, setting such cold temperatures are no more than a pointless energy drain.

Our data also found that, in rooms where these lower temperatures were reached, guests quickly turned the thermostat back up to a higher setting. Clearly, these temperatures are too uncomfortably low for the typical guest and they are likely setting the minimum temperature due to the common, yet the inaccurate, belief that the room will cool off quicker.

Finding 3: Guests Leave the A/C On in Empty Rooms

The idea of an A/C running all day in an empty room isn’t a fallacy. Our data showed that over 50% of guests leave it running even when they’ve left for most of the day. In our dataset, hotels with wall thermostats seem to face this problem far more often (67-89% of rooms) than those with remote controls (54-64% of rooms).

These findings showcase how important energy optimisation in hotels really is. Failure to take this seriously will result in increased utility costs and unnecessary carbon emissions in the future. Fortunately, there are a few simple ways to combat this, all of which can be provided with SensorFlow’s solution.

Energy Saving Option 1: Pre-Cooling Tactics

Pre-cooling a room to 22-23°C prior to guest arrival will ensure a comfortable temperature the moment they walk through the door. It will also minimise the likelihood of guests turning the thermostat down far too low before setting it back up again to their ideal temperature.

Energy Saving Option 2: Minimum Setpoint Temperatures

Implementing a minimum setpoint of 21°C allows for guest comfort while keeping energy efficiency in mind. Such a protocol will prevent the thermostat from being set lower than a pre-specified setpoint. You can implement this in specific room types or throughout the entire property. You also have the option to change this setpoint if requested by guests.

Energy Saving Option 3: Occupancy-Based Automation

Occupancy-based automation systems are the ideal way to maintain both guest comfort and efficiency. Systems can be set to automatically increase temperatures when guests are away and then immediately revert back to their chosen level upon their return. This keeps the room comfortably cool while significantly decreasing hotel energy costs.

High Energy Savings Potential

It’s a sad fact that most guests leave their A/C on for the entire day – even when they’re out sightseeing. This is a huge drain on hotel energy costs and efficiency, but what if your rooms were smart enough to turn off the A/C on their own? Better yet, what if they knew to raise the temperature just a little higher to save energy when guests were out, and still keep the room comfortably cool?

This is the smart solution that SensorFlow provides at no upfront cost for hotels around the globe. Our clients have seen energy savings of up to 30% after implementing our advanced technology, and it turns out that the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates most buildings have untapped energy savings potential of up to 30%.

Coincidence? We think not. By utilising smart automation systems in your hotel, you can help fight back against global warming while also saving money despite rising trends in energy costs and demand.