An Intelligent Thermostat Saves Energy for Hotels

Travelers are culprits to leaving the air conditioner on the highest level when leaving the hotel room. They can be gone for hours or once they checked out, hours pass before housekeeping gets to the room. Multiply this energy wastage by the numbers of rooms in the hotel, and you find yourself paying a higher energy bill that could have been prevented. It’s clear an energy management system is needed to cut out the wastage. EcoSmart has aimed to help fulfill this need using a little help from the cloud and smart thermostats.

EcoSmart from Telkonet’s energy management system has been created to extend the costing saving solutions into occupancy sensors, light controls, televisions and even outlets. Out of all their solution, the spotlight goes to EcoSmart’s thermostat that not only controls the temperature but collects minute-by-minute data about a guest’s temperature needs.

“This is truly an intelligent thermostat in that there’s a microprocessor on board,” said Jason Tienor, Telkonet chief executive. “It’s actually recalculating every second of the day” to control the air conditioning or heat once a guest leaves the room, and then to recover to the desired temperature at the time guests typically return.

The technology is part of a increasing focus in the energy-efficiency business to use integrated monitoring systems to help companies save on their energy costs. In the United States, market research firm Lux Research forecast the market for sensors and controls for building energy-management systems is projected to grow at a rate of 17% per year. A similar growth rate is projected in Europe, with the combined market size for both regions reaching $4 billion by 2020.

What to Consider when Switching to Induction

Induction cooktops and ranges are known to be one of the fastest in delivering heat, shaving off the time you need to be in the kitchen. Although they may look similar in appearance, the difference between a regular electric smooth top and induction stove top is the way they deliver heat. Using an electromagnetic field rather than radiant heat, induction cooktop surface will not get as hot but instead transfers the heat around the pot.

In the case of Induction, many at home cooks feel that faster is indeed better. Although many people are warming to the idea to make the switch, it’s important to consider on Induction cooking:

Special Cookware is needed.
Induction capable cookware is a must so that the magnetic field can be properly dispersed. All pots and pans will need to be changed to magnetic which comes in a variety of finishes including stainless steel

Replace Digital Thermometers for analog.
Interference between the magnetic field and the digital thermometer will not allow a proper reading of temperature. The best solution is to go an old fashion analog thermometer.

Additional Benefits of Induction.
Besides heating up faster than any other cooking elements out on the current market, induction cooktops stay cooler than electric allowing for easier clean up. Another advantage is that if the heating element is left on with no pot or pan on it, the element itself will not get hot.

What’s the Difference between Heat Pump and Electric Heat PTACS?

Though all PTACs cool a room the same way, there are two distinct ways a PTAC heats a room: via heat pump or via resistance heat.

Resistance (Electric) Heat – Resistance heat units work by passing an electric current through wires to heat them. Resistance heat units require a smaller initial investment, but can result in higher energy costs when used for prolonged periods of time.

Heat Pump – Heat pumps work in a similar manner to an air conditioner, except by reversing the cooling process to circulate warm air. Heat pumps use less energy than resistance heat models, but require a larger initial investment. All packaged terminal heat pumps also incorporate resistance heat technology that can help maintain room temperature when the outside temperature drops below the minimum operating threshold for a heat pump.

Heat pumps are suggested for cooler climates where the need for heat is greater; you’ll see a return on the initial higher investment in about a year. All climate zones within the U.S. will realize some energy cost savings by choosing a heat pump model, but the payback will vary by location.

Consumer vs. Hospitality TV’s

Why Consumer TVs Don’t Belong in a Commercial Environment

Hotel owners and managers are starting to ask themselves why they should buy the higher priced commercial panel instead of the cheaper model on sale at the local big-box retailer especially when all they need is a basic TV. The disparity in price between consumer and commercial electronics has always been distinct; that difference is even more noticeable in TVs.

Here are 4 points to consider when making that decision.

1) Warranty: Consumer TVs have a 90 day to 1 year warranty. If that consumer TV is placed in a commercial setting, the warranty may become completely void. Hospitality TVs on the other hand have a 2 to 5 year warranty which often comes with on-site support.

2) Duty Cycles: Consumer TVs are typically built to run four to eight hours a day while hospitality sets are designed to be used for 15 or 16 hours a day. There are even some panels that can run 24/7.

3) Guest Proof: In order to make it easy for users to change settings, many consumer sets have accessible external controls. Those controls are physically hidden, and are able to be locked through settings on the TV, in a commercial set giving the property the comfort of knowing that guests are not changing any pre-set limiters.

4) Guest Centered: There are extra features that a come standard on a hospitality TV that you are not likely to get with a consumer model. For example, some TVs have a special start-up channel with relevant information about the hotel and the surrounding area. Pro:idiom, which is an internal chip that allows hotels to run video signal, is also another very popular feature available in hotel TVs.

Made in The USA

GE brings production of the Zoneline PTAC back to the US

General Electric’s Zoneline Packaged Terminal air conditioners are currently being produced in Louisville, Kentucky. The new and improved PTAC’s full production started last year at their Appliance Park location. About $250 million dollars has been invested in this location with $40 million dedicated alone to GE Zoneline. About 100 operators will support the line, with 75 new jobs added to their production department. One of GE’s cultural values is providing opportunities to exercise their responsibility, integrity and creativity. Bringing production back to the US and releasing an even better PTAC for the hospitality Industry just goes to show how strongly they feel about their values.

About the new GE Zoneline:

  • The number one priority for hotel owners when it comes to PTACs is having a reliable, dependable unit. If the unit isn’t working or too loud for the customer to return this presents a loss of revenue for hotel owners. GE has millions of installed Zoneline units with an excellent service record. The new design will build and improve on that legacy.
  • GE Zoneline is the quietest PTAC compared to leading competitors, has the best noise insulation and lowest dBA, as verified by an independent, nationally accredited certified acoustics lab.*
  • GE’s Zoneline units are on average eight percent more energy efficient than leading competitor units. For a 100-room property, this can save a hotel owner thousands of dollars annually on their utility bill.

GE appliances has been making big strides building energy efficient appliances ranging from refrigerators to washers and dryers. The company takes pride in its products and people which reflects in the quality and reliability of their business.

*Independent Third Party Testing at nationally accredited certified acoustical lab, conducted March 2015 in accordance with ASTM and AHRI standards.

The Growing Need of Digital Communication

The preference to communicate online is growing strong. Whether it’s due to a language barrier, shyness or just too busy- avoiding human contact is easier now more than ever. In a recent poll by Ikea, about 68% of people prefer communicating online.  Businesses have to have to be aware of this trend to adapt properly and not miss out on potential revenue.

Implementing technology is now a necessity for digital communication. The Adobe Travel Report showed that 52% of people go mobile to find information while traveling. Despite holding great potential for increasing guest satisfaction and revenue, online communication tends to overlooked at times by hoteliers.

There are 2 main methods to help you reach your guests in a digital world, email and chat.

First impression is probably an email

Many guests book through online travel agencies and the chances of them seeing a hotel’s website over the confirmation email is slim. Emails must be aesthetically up to date, branded and tested. Make sure to keep it short and informative. About 60% of people read email from their phone and if it’s too long interest will be lost. Lastly use it for upselling, a room is already booked by your guest so why not see if they would like any additional services or upgrades.

Meet the 24 hour receptionist

Imagine an automated messenger where your guests can ask questions and order services that provides programmed answers to those repetitive questions guests will tend to ask. That’s a chatbot and they are popping up and being testing in big hotel chains such as Starwood. Using a familiar interface such as facebook messenger couple with 2 way communication, the chatbot can ask for feedback or remind them the start of an event or promotion- who wouldn’t want to know when happy hour starts?

Start engaging with your guests before they even arrive to the hotel. Digital communication is what will reach them first.

Choosing the Right Wall Mount

Four types of wall mounts

Wall mounts come in four basic functionality categories: fixed, flat, tilting and full motion mounts.

Fixed:
With this mount, the TV hangs parallel to the wall in a fixed position. It is the most economical way to hang your TV.

Flat:
The ultra flat mounts place the TV/Monitor very close to the wall (approximately 1/3″). This type of installation enhances the flat “hanging picture” dynamic of a wall hung TV/Monitor which is built specifically with the ultra-thin TV’s in mind.

Tilting:
The Tilt mounts are ideal in situations where the TV is mounted higher than eye level position. You can tilt up or down to adjust vertical viewing angle.

Full Motion:
Your TV can be pulled out, rotated side to side and tilted up or down to achieve an unlimited combination of viewing angles. Multi-Angle mounts are ideal for large rooms where the desired horizontal viewing angle needs to be adjusted periodically.

Brand Standards: The Hotel’s Bible

Reviews can make or break a hotel’s reputation, not only directly affecting the property but also the brand itself. Bad reviews should always be taken into consideration and rectified to alleviate guests about a negative experience associated with that property. Just as important is remaining true to the flag, ensuring that standards and expectations are met.

Properties that feel they are not up to par or have turn the cheek on required updates should consider the following to get going in the right direction:

Operators are fundamental

It’s important that the operators really understand the standards so that reserve allocations for future maintenance can be factored into operating costs. Once those minimum requirements are met, it’s time to come up with a plan to set your property apart from others to truly boost guest satisfaction and experience.

Follow the Standards

This is an obvious one, but the importance should not be overlooked. The brand standard manual should be followed from cover to cover on all that is required not only on amenities, case goods but also on the maintenance schedules. Cutting corners on requirements will stand out to your guests. To carry a brand’s name means that you must meet the customer’s expectation associated with it.

Compliance Management is Key

Every member of the brand must be on the same page and work towards the common goal of improving the guests experience. To maintain the brand image, visits to the properties regularly should be happening. Not only to inspect the current state but also paying attention areas that might need improvement down the road to have the most proactive approach possible.

Drivers for Hotel Energy Management

It’s no secret how much energy is spent by hotels, more than double of a residential building its same size. With only 65% of an average occupancy rate, many hotels are looking into how they can reduce such high volume of energy consumption. Energy Management Systems (EMS) have been trending for the past couple of years and for good reason – not only can you save money down the road but going green is a movement that will keep guest returning.

Eco-Friendly is a Social Motivator

There is an increasingly number of guests that make green choices at home who will value staying at an eco-friendly hotel. To many this feature will be the deciding factor to where they choose to stay. Properties that invest in EMS will be able to provide better guest satisfaction giving the assurance they supporting environment friendly choices.

Smart Technology

Connected homes are starting to become the norm. Consumers like to have the ability to control house functions at their fingertips and they anticipate doing the same when they travel. The hype of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) gives guest the flexibility to connect and control to their room during the duration of their stay.

What Hotels Should Consider to be More Tech Savvy

To be or not to be? The answer is to be tech savvy in today’s world. It’s difficult to know where to start with all the technology trends out there and some can be quite costly to implement. What can a hotel do right now to get some traction in their technology initiatives?

booking

CEO of Voyat, Benjamin Habbel, points out eight suggestions to try that can help understand what will work for a property.

1. Simplify
Whether it’s in the ads or on the website, organize it to be user friendly and appealing. Adding incentives and urgency messages (such as “one room left”) are effective at increasing conversions. The booking process must be simple so that guests can easily get in and book with as few clicks as possible.

2. Spread out into the Neighborhood
Hotels should be in tune with things to do in the city or town. However, they should consider taking into the next level and partner with the community to really show case any upcoming events, festivals, or concerts. This will provide an edge to your business and give your guests the opportunity what it feels like to be a local.

3. Think like a Travel Agency
Use the same tactics as an online travel agency does- display urgency messages, if there was a booking within the last 24 hours and how many people are viewing that room or service. Showing online activity will help even out the playing field and help to bring more online customers to the hotel site.

4. Always try New Distribution Channels
Look for other networks to promote the hotel. Being flexible as to where rates are displayed and advertised can tap into other audiences that weren’t considered to be targeted. This applies to social channels and sites that are not as mainstream.

5. Tryout Chatbots
Generation Y (also known as millennials) prefer contacting a business on their platform of choice (messaging through Facebook or WhatsApp) rather than calling in. Implementing chatbots not only prepares hotels for this entire generation but also can be used as a customer service tool.

6. Build your Presence on Social Media platforms
Dangle a carrot of deals for rooms rates or a discounted service if a guest shares property details with a friend. Build reoccurring business by offering a discount rate for those that leave a positive comment and rating.

7. Sell into your Website
Advertise car rentals, activities, transportation through ad units on a hotel’s site. Mimic the competition if they are doing affiliate marketing with rival properties. With this approach, a hotel can generate revenue from the ad space.

8. Gather Data
Recognize buying trends of a consumer to take a predictive modeling approach or testing site features by comparing two versions of the same webpage to see which gets a better conversion. These are ways a hotel can improve their online activity and they must consider how they can utilize online services to get a better online presence.