Sustainable tourism is more than just a trend. It’s a top priority for today’s traveler. With environmental awareness growing and more consumers making travel decisions informed by climate concerns, the pressure is on for hoteliers to embrace sustainable practices.
They’re already making commendable strides. InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), for example, devised the Green Engage system, and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts released their second annual Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) report.
Yet, hotels are among the most energy-intensive buildings; heating, HVAC and lighting typically account for more than 60% of a hotel’s energy consumption. . Much more can be done to optimize their energy use to support their sustainability goals and enrich the guest experience.
Get ‘Smart’ About Energy Savings
Key card systems are a popular approach amongst hotels for boosting energy savings. The principle is simple: a guest or staff member enters the key card to activate the power in a room and removes the key card to shut it off. But it’s not entirely reliable: key cards get lost by guests or left in by staff as they prepare for future arrivals.
Hoteliers can increase power savings by swapping out this manual interaction for automated energy savings. Connected lighting systems can be integrated with your existing Property Management System (PMS) to share data commands on a common network. It can, for example, use reservation data to understand the context of a room and toggle between deep-energy savings and guest-ready states, resetting a room’s lighting and HVAC to defaults before the next stay.
As guests arrives, hoteliers can program rooms to automatically increase light levels, pre-cool or heat up, open window curtains and turn on a welcome television screen to greet the visitors. During their stay, guests can also have full control of their room settings to accommodate their unique preferences, but once they check out, the system switches back into energy conservation mode. It adjusts the temperature down, switches off lights and closes curtains, so you only use energy when and where it is needed —maximizing savings.
Data-based Insights to Help Move the Needle
Are you aware of how much energy your hotel consumes in an hour, a day or even a year? Connected lighting systems can help you visualize and track energy consumption to identify reduction opportunities. For example, historical data can be used to further streamline heating and cooling functions. Instead of setting a universal room temperature, facility managers can apply insights on how guests use and personalize room settings to make better informed decisions on their defaults.
Coupled with environmental and occupancy sensing capabilities, the system can also detect natural daylight or movement through doorways, respectively, and adjust your heating/cooling or smart window shades accordingly. In the future, sensors may be configured to feed the large amounts of information that they collect into cloud-based, artificial intelligence applications to find patterns and connections that further optimize energy usage.
Delivering a Superior Guest Experience
A connected lighting system can also go a long way towards enhancing the guest experience. Traditionally, 45% of guests keep the bathroom light turned on overnight to help them navigate in case they wake up later. Not only does this contributes to energy use but also can disrupt the sleep environment. With smart controls, guests can darken their room via a master switch on their bedside and activate nightlight sensors. If a guest wakes up overnight to visit the bathroom or get a drink, the occupancy sensing technology turns on low-level lighting to help them navigate, and fades lights into black as soon as they return to bed. In fact, at Swissôtel the Stamford, Singapore’s leading business hotel, this capability helps them deliver a superior guest experience, supporting the hotel’s commitment to energy-efficiency and sustainability, along with their reputation for comfort, elegance and style.
Light levels and color temperatures can even be synced with the time of day to support guests’ natural day-night, or circadian, rhythm and enhance their wellbeing. Set just like a normal alarm clock, smart lighting and controls can offer a simulated sunrise to wake guests up. This capability can be especially important for guests who have traveled across time zones, helping them minimize jet lag by adjusting their body clock to the local time.
Lead the Shift to a Brighter Future
More and more guests are seeking accommodations that operate sustainably. Connected lighting technology provides a platform for hoteliers to deliver on this. These systems make it easy to save energy and support your sustainability targets without sacrificing what matters most – guests’ comfort.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Addy Oluyemi is a Retail & Hospitality End-User Marketeer for Signify’s North America Systems & Services group. She is responsible for educating customers on how they can light up hotels and resorts, improve energy management and enhance guest experiences with the company’s Interact IoT connected lighting system.